A host of Premier League clubs could be on red alert after Slaven Bilic announced that he will quit his position as Croatia boss after Euro 2012.
The 43-year-old has long been linked with jobs at several top English clubs during his successful six-year stint in charge of his national team.
And those rumours are now sure to surface again after Bilic revealed his intention to move into club management after this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
“This is my last tournament,” he said.
“After this, I shall certainly no longer be the national coach. But before that, we must focus on the big job that’s coming up.”
Bilic could well be eying a big job in the Premier League next term as he still talks fondly about his stints with West Ham and Everton as a player.
And although there is no obvious destination for him at present, the man who masterminded England’s demise in Euro 2008 qualifying will surely be in demand.
From a Croatian perspective, the timing looks more than a little strange, with Bilic naming his preliminary squad and his departure almost in the same breath.
Perhaps he wants to galvanise the players who have served him so well, to cajole them into giving one last push to send him out on a high – and for what’s it worth, Croatia are 40/1 to win Euro 2012.
But in truth, there are plenty of examples in recent history of players losing focus and under-achieving after seeing their managers go public with such career plans.
Sir Alex Ferguson announcing his retirement in 2001-02 – and then watching his Man Utd side being blown away by eventual double winners Arsenal – is perhaps the most obvious one.
So with the risk of Croatia’s star-studded team going through the motions slightly, it could be worth opposing them at Euro 2012, especially with Spain, Italy and Ireland in their group.
Bilic’s men are odds-on at 53/100 to be eliminated at the first hurdle, while they are at 11/4 to be sent packing in the quarter-finals.
And when they do eventually depart the tournament, expect their charismatic manager to have plenty of admirers as he ponders his next move.
Provisional Croatia squad for Euro 2012:
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (FC Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Hajduk Split), Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb); Goran Blazevic (Hajduk Split)
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Tottenham), Sime Vrsaljko (Dinamo Zagreb), Dejan Lovren (Olympique Lyon), Josip Simunic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro), Gordon Schildenfeld (Eintracht Frankfurt), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb), Jurica Buljat (Maccabi), Daniel Pranjic (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Tomislav Dujmovic (Dynamo Moscow), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb), Niko Kranjcar (Tottenham), Ivan Perisic (Borussia Dortmund), Ivo Ilicevic (Hamburg).
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo Da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Everton), Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro), Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich).
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