Talks between Leicester City and ex-Leeds manager Jesse Marsch have collapsed, leaving the club’s hierarchy desperate to find an alternative.
Indeed, they will now have to find a new coach as soon as possible, with the Foxes currently second-bottom of the Premier League table – two points adrift from safety.
If they do end up dropping down into the Championship, they may live to regret sacking Brendan Rodgers so close to the end of the campaign, who guided them to FA Cup victory just two years ago.
Leicester have picked up just 25 points from a possible 90 so far – by far their worst tally since their ‘great escape’ from relegation back in the 2014/15 season.
On Saturday, they were delivered a heavy blow by fellow bottom three candidates Bournemouth, losing 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.
As a result, they will no doubt be looking to replace stand-in manager Adam Sadler before their game against Manchester City this weekend.
Marsch snubs Championship-bound Leicester
As previously reported by TEAMtalk, Marsch was thought to be the big favourite to replace Rodgers as Leicester boss, but he has now turned down the chance to take up the role.
According to the Telegraph, the American coach was expected to finalise terms with the Foxes but decided against taking the job after watching them lose to Bournemouth.
Marsch allegedly made the decision “after a conversation with his coaching staff that night” before informing the Foxes on Sunday morning.
The report claims that “Marsch is understood to feel that the club would need a different kind of manager in the Championship next season if they were to be relegated” from the top flight.
He also apparently added that the club needs “a different profile of player to the one that he is accustomed to recruiting” previously.
Rafa Benitez ‘discussed’ as Marsch alternative
Leicester will now have to look elsewhere for a new head coach, and ex-Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton manager Rafael Benitez is now believed to be one of the favourites to replace Rodgers.
The Spaniard is keen to return to the Premier League after being heavily linked with replacing David Moyes at West Ham in January, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Foxes hierarchy take a punt on him.
The Daily Mail claim that Benitez, along with ex-Aston Villa boss Dean Smith and Martin O’Neil, who remains a fan favourite at the King Power, have all been discussed as alternatives to Marsch.
Benitez has experience in relegation battles after he almost guided Newcastle to a great escape in the 2015/16 season, but then got them immediately promoted back into the Premier League by winning the Championship in the following campaign.
His most recent managerial stint at Everton wasn’t a success, though – getting sacked with the Toffees six points above the relegation zone.
However, with ample experience in the Premier League and Championship, Benitez is arguably the most qualified candidate to take the Leicester job.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming days.