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Celtic manager hunt: Enzo Maresca, Jesse Marsch, Brendan Rodgers in frame to replace Ange Postecoglou

Manchester City coach Enzo Maresca, former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and ex-Leeds manager Jesse Marsch are in the frame to replace Ange Postecoglou at Parkhead; the Australian left for Spurs after two years at Celtic in which he won back-to-back Scottish Premiership titles

Jesse Marsch, Enzo Maresca, Brendan Rodgers - credit PA/Getty
Image: Jesse Marsch, Enzo Maresca and Brendan Rodgers are among the names linked to replace Ange Postecoglou at Celtic

Celtic's hunt for a new manager is under way but who is in the frame to take over from Ange Postecoglou?

The Australian was appointed Tottenham head coach on Tuesday after two years at Celtic in which he won back-to-back Scottish Premiership titles and a domestic treble this season.

It is understood Celtic will not rush any decision on who replaces Postecolou, with chairperson Peter Lawwell adding, "our focus is very much on ensuring we move forward positively and do all we can to ensure that we maintain our dominant position in Scottish football and also prepare for the exciting European challenges which lie ahead".

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The story of Ange Postecoglou's journey at Celtic which led the Australian joining Tottenham on a four-year deal

Celtic are guaranteed Champions League group stage football after winning the Scottish Premiership, with their title defence not starting until August.

Manchester City coach Enzo Maresca, former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and ex-Leeds manager Jesse Marsch are in the frame, with others being linked to the job - but who will take charge of the Scottish champions?

Enzo Maresca

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A look at who Manchester City assistant Enzo Maresca is, as Celtic search for Ange Postecoglou's replacement

The Italian is part of Pep Guardiola's coaching set-up at Manchester City and Celtic's strong connections with the City Group have seen him heavily linked with a move to Parkhead.

It is understood the 43-year-old - who was linked to Celtic before Postecoglou took over in 2021 - is of interest to the board.

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Maresca's playing career started at West Brom before spells in Italy, Spain and Greece where he worked under the likes of Juande Ramos, Marcello Lippi, Zico and Carlo Ancelotti.

Enzo Maresca is in the frame for the Celtic post

After hanging up his boots in the summer of 2017, Maresca was unveiled as part of the non-playing staff of Italian second division club Ascoli before a spell as part of Unai Emery's backroom team at Sevilla and he was the No 2 to Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham.

In August 2020 he was hired by Manchester City as manager of their Elite Development Squad team. After winning the Premier League 2 title with City in 2021 he was appointed as the new head coach of Parma, lasting 14 games.

He returned to Manchester City last summer as a coach under Guardiola and could be the subject of an official approach after Saturday's Champions League final.

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers won back-to-back domestic trebles at Celtic
Image: Rodgers won back-to-back domestic trebles at Celtic

Another option available to the Celtic board is a man who needs no introduction to the Hoops faithful after he led them to back-to-back trebles before his acrimonious departure for Leicester City in February 2019.

Although his mid-season exit from Glasgow did not go down well with the supporters, it appears time is indeed a healer with many open to the idea of the Northern Irishman returning.

The 50-year-old has previously said he would not hesitate to re-join Celtic one day. However, it is thought he may want to take a break following his Leicester sacking, as he did when he left Liverpool in 2015.

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Celtic fans react to the news that Rodgers is in the frame to replace Postecoglou

Rodgers said after leaving Parkhead: "That challenge may come in the future and I would have absolutely no hesitation in going back. An incredible club. Like everything else in life it's just about timing. Whether I will be received back or not is a different story but would I go back to Celtic? Absolutely."

Celtic were a well-coached side under Rodgers and he fared slightly better than Postecoglou in Europe, finishing third in their Champions League group in 2016/17 before exiting the Europa League at the next stage, and coming bottom of the group the following season.

At Leicester, Rodgers led the Foxes to consecutive fifth-placed finishes in his first two full seasons and they beat Chelsea to lift the FA Cup in 2021, but he was sacked in April after the now-relegated side dropped into the Premier League's bottom three.

Jesse Marsch

Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch and Pep Guardiola
Image: Marsch was in charge at Leeds United this season before being sacked

The former Leeds boss is also in the frame and on paper fits the bill - cultivating a playing philosophy closely aligned with Postecoglou.

He took charge at RB Leipzig, prior to a move to Elland Road, and oversaw the Bundesliga club's renowned pressing and intense running - working under former Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Prior to that, Marsch was indoctrinated in that style at New York Red Bulls between 2015 and 2018, and then at Red Bull Salzburg between 2019 and 2021.

Even this season, when he was sacked for sustained dips in form, Marsch's Leeds ranked top of the Premier League for distance covered per game and regaining possession in the middle third.

In terms of playing style, Marsch primarily deployed a 4-2-3-1 system during his time at Leeds, and pushed his side high up the pitch, with their defensive line typically sitting 44m from their own goal-line when starting passing sequences. For context, only Manchester City have surpassed that average.

Leeds United's head coach Jesse Marsch prior to the match at Nottingham Forest
Image: Marsch was linked with the Southampton job

The American elaborated on his managerial approach in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports last August - just days before an emphatic 3-0 win over Chelsea: "We want to be really aggressive, and in pressing moments, which requires sprinting. We also want to be very good in transitions, both ways, which also requires sprinting.

"I believe in young players. We also need young legs to play the way we want. But, believing in young players isn't just about blind belief, it's about them establishing themselves and then us challenging and instructing them on how to grow.

"We've created more variability, in terms of how we move from four at the back to three, to how many players we position higher up the pitch, in the midfield, and how we overload areas to gain advantages.

"A big term we always use is counter-press and how we arrange ourselves and what we do when we move the ball. So, in all moments, we try to have strategies and create clarity as to what individual roles are and how they impact each other, and then how that fits within match plans and what opponents are presenting."

Who else has been linked?

Image: Kieran McKenna led Ipswich Town to automatic promotion from League One in his first full season as manager

As with any vacant managerial role, several other contenders have been linked to the top job at Celtic Park.

While Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna may be relatively inexperienced in terms of age and time in full-time management, his impact to date has been noteworthy.

The 37-year-old guided Ipswich to automatic promotion from League One in his first full season at Portman Road as the club went on a run of 13 wins from their last 15 games.

More than 100 goals and 98 points were amassed in a campaign where they tussled with Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday for a place in the top two.

Kieran McKenna led Ipswich Town to automatic promotion from League One in his first full season as manager
Image: McKenna's philosophy of high-tempo, high-pressing, passing football is similar to Postecoglou's

Northern Irishman McKenna arrived 18 months earlier as a relative unknown from Manchester United, where he worked under Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Rangnick. Among his coaching colleagues at Old Trafford was now Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick and his coaching CV stretches back more than 15 years, having been forced to retire from playing at 22 through injury while at Tottenham.

Like Postecoglou, McKenna quickly instilled a philosophy of high-tempo, high-pressing, passing football as well as moulding a side capable of scoring eye-catching goals on the counter-attack.

While notably backed by one of the biggest playing budgets in the division, he also won over the fanbase with his meticulous attention to detail and open and honest approach to explaining the tactical decisions that helped get the club out of the third tier after three under-par mid-table finishes in previous seasons.

West Ham boss David Moyes, who played for Celtic in the 1980s, has also been linked with the role.

David Moyes
Image: David Moyes led West Ham to victory in the Europa Conference League final

After winning the Europa Conference League, the London club's first trophy in over 50 years, he will hold talks over how to build on that success with the Premier League side - but could a return to Glasgow tempt him away?

A name Celtic fans will remember following their Europa Conference League exit to Bodo Glimt is Kjetil Knutsen.

Kjetil Knutsen faced Postecolou's Celtic in the Europa Conference League
Image: Kjetil Knutsen faced Postecoglou's Celtic in the Europa Conference League

The 54-year-old won back-to-back titles in Norway's top flight in 2020 and 2021, plus was named coach of the year for consecutive seasons between 2019 and 2021.

Celtic could, however, face competition for Knutsen, should they go down that path, with Ajax also linked with him.

Following his successful spell at Brighton, Graham Potter was regarded as one of the best young coaches in the Premier League.

That success at the Amex Stadium paved the way for the former Swansea boss to land the Chelsea job but he was sacked just seven months into that role following a poor run of form.

However, Potter is still highly regarded and if given the job would likely arrive with long-term assistant Billy Reid who has a great knowledge of the Scottish game and won the PFA Scotland manager of the year award when he was in charge of Hamilton in 2007/08.

Chelsea's head coach Graham Potter celebrates on the pitch after the end of the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Chelsea FC and Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge, London, Tuesday March 7, 2023. Chelsea won the tie 2-1 over the two legs .(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Image: Graham Potter joined Chelsea after a successful spell at Brighton

Former Rangers defender Kevin Muscat succeeded Postecoglou at Yokohama F. Marinos and reports are linking him to do the same in Glasgow.

It remains to be seen if the Celtic fans would take to a former Ibrox player taking charge, but after two league title wins in Australia, he won the J-League title last year with a similar brand of football to Postecoglou and knowledge of the Asian markets that has seen Celtic land Kyogo, Reo Hatate, Hyeon-Gyu Oh and more - could he be a good fit?

What awaits the next manager?

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 27: Celtic Captain Callum McGregor lifts the Cinch Premiership Trophy  during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park, on May 27, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Image: Celtic's title win means they go straight into the Champions League group stage

The last time Celtic were searching for a new manager the club was in turmoil after losing the league to Rangers by 25 points and several players out on contract.

Whoever comes in to replace Ange Postecoglou will inherit a side in strong health with an opportunity to take them to the next level.

The Australian made shrewd signings who have impressed as Celtic dominated winning five trophies in two seasons.

Fans will certainly be worried about the Australian returning to try and take some of those players to Tottenham but, if he does, Celtic will be able to command a high fee which could then be reinvested into the squad as they prepare for another crack at the Champions League.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring his second goal of the game
Image: Kyogo Furuhashi scored 34 goals in all competitions last season

Kyogo Furuhashi was one of Postecoglou's first signings after he looked to the Japanese market and the striker looks destined for a top club.

The 28-year-old ended last season as the Premiership's top scorer and with just two years left on his current deal it would not be surprising if his former boss tried to tempt him to North London.

Players like Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Cameron Carter-Vickers are under contract until 2026 and Jota's deal runs until 2027 so they could be harder to prise away from the club.

Celtic are straight into the group stages of the Champions League meaning whoever does come in will have some time to prepare his squad, with their first competitive game not until the Premiership season kicks off on the weekend of August 5/6.

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