Watford are closing in on the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as the club’s new manager, according to reports. The Hornets are said to have identified the former Leicester City boss as their preferred candidate for the role after Xisco Munoz was relieved of his duties on Sunday morning.
Watford’s board decided to axe the Spaniard after a poor run of results which culminated in Saturday’s lacklustre defeat at Leeds United.
Munoz leaves Vicarage Road after just ten months in charge, with the 41-year-old only appointed to replace Vladimir Ivic back in December.
It seems as though Watford have moved quickly to identify Munoz’s successor, with Ranieri emerging as the early frontrunner, according to Gianluca di Marzio.
The Italian boss, who left his post at Sampdoria earlier this year, is said to be high on Watford’s list of potential candidates for the role.
Contact has already been established between the two parties, with Ranieri set to assume the vacancy in Hertfordshire unless negotiations fail to provide a positive outcome.
The move would see him return to the Premier League for the first time since his dire period in charge of Fulham between 2018 and 2019.
Ranieri only managed to win three games with the west London outfit before he was given the boot and replaced by Scott Parker.
However, he enjoyed a much better spell at Leicester, famously leading the Foxes to the Premier League title against all odds in 2016.
Meanwhile, Watford’s decision to sack Munoz represents their sixth managerial change in just three years.
They explained the move in a statement posted to their official website, which read: “Watford FC confirms Xisco Munoz has left his post as the club’s head coach.
“The board feels recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving.
“The Hornets will always be grateful to Xisco for the part he played in securing last season’s promotion and wish him well for his future career in football.
“No further club comment will be available until the imminent announcement of a new head coach.”
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Munoz slammed his side’s performance in his final post-match interview as Watford manager on Saturday, with Leeds strolling to an ultimately comfortable win at Elland Road.
“We know exactly what is the intensity of them, they had more intensity than us,” he told reporters after the full-time whistle.
“They won more duels, shot more than us, were more aggressive than us and wanted to win more than us.
“It’s important to continue to work very hard because all points are important in the Premier League. But we need to improve set pieces because we concede a lot of goals from these situations.”