Hot on the heels of the news that Republic of Ireland assistant coach Roy Keane has left the role of Paul Lambert’s number two at Aston Villa, bwin.com have priced up the former Manchester United skipper at 9/2 to manage a Premier League club before the end of the current campaign.
Keane’s career so far as head honcho has been a mixed bag, having impressed and frustrated in equal measure with Sunderland before doing nothing of note at Ipswich.
However, Cork’s favourite son was perceived to have got a decent tune out of Lambert’s men earlier this season, before five of last term’s top six let the air out of Villa’s 2014/15 tires during a miserable late-autumn run.
We think Keano could still do a job as a top-flight gaffer. Here are three teams who may have to consider hiring the 43-year-old sooner or later.
The R’s are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League after winning just two of their 12 fixtures this term, and owner Tony Fernandes doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’ll put up with much more failure from Harry Redknapp.
Keane’s greatest achievement so far in management was leading Sunderland from the bottom to the top of the Championship during the 2006/07 campaign.
Nobody would credibly suggest he’ll pull off the same trick in the Premier League, but the former Red Devil’s famously-fiery temper could put enough fear into QPR’s highly-paid underperformers to spur them onwards and upwards to top-flight safety.
It became abundantly clear during the last transfer window that Foxes boss Nigel Pearson’s big problem was attracting big names to the King Power Stadium, despite the late-summer acquisition of veteran Argentine midfielder Esteban Cambiasso.
Leicester aren’t short of a few quid, with £8m handed to Brighton for striker Leonardo Ulloa, but the kind of marquee signings that could have given the club a morale boost going into their first top-flight campaign for over a decade were distinctly lacking.
Their chances of attracting such signings would improve with a higher profile manager like Keane on board, and with the Foxes going into their weekend clash with QPR just two points above Redknapp’s basement boys, Pearson is already on borrowed time.
It wouldn’t be much of a shock if Keane rocked up back at Villa Park between now and the campaign’s close, as the club have shown little signs of progress since Lambert took charge more than two years ago.
Villa finished two points above the drop-zone at the end of Alex McLeish’s sole season as boss in 2011/12, and have ended both of the last two terms, under Lambert, five points ahead of 18th.
They’re currently on 12 points, having gone eight games without victory, while third-from-bottom Leicester have ten. Keano should definitely keep his phone charged.