Darko Milanic was all the rage in the next permanent Leeds manager betting yesterday, touching as short as 3/10 before settling down at a more modest favourite’s price of 6/4.
But who on earth is he?
Born in Slovenia, the 46-year-old was once a centre-half of international repute, good enough to represent the Yugoslavian football superpower before it’s dissolution, when he went on to accumulate 42 caps for the country of his birth.
Currently in charge at Austrian Bundesliga outfit Sturm Graz, Milanic is in the fifth position of an upwardly mobile managerial career that has yet to see him sacked.
The Sturm boss first came to wider attention during his time at Slovenian titans NK Maribor, for both their domestic and groundbreaking European exploits.
Landing the Prva Liga title in his debut season at the club, he became the first manager to have landed all three of the country’s trophies.
Over the ensuing seasons he wrestled control of Slovenian football from rivals Olimpja, winning four of the five championships in which he managed, including a domestic treble in 2012/13.
Maribor’s exploits on the European scene shone a further light on Milanic’s abilities as he built on the domestic hegemony he’d established by making them competitive on a continental level, garnering interest from Serie A side Palermo, amongst others, in the process.
Employing a formation that was a 4-4-2 when the opposition were in possession before morphing into a 4-2-3-1 they made a name for themselves by poleaxing Rangers from the 2011/12 Europa League.
The following campaign saw Milanic lead his charges to the consolation cup’s group stage again and this term the side he built have just held Sporting Lisbon to a draw in the Champions League.
He has yet to eke similar improvement from his current employers, who finished one place worse off in the Bundesliga than they had under previous boss Markus Schopp in his first season in charge.
Nonetheless his Maribor tenure paints the picture of a man capable of bringing a club to the next level with the tools to establish themselves once they’re there.