Will Still remains Sunderland next manager favourite as contenders assessed

Will Still
-Credit: (Image: Hugo Pfeiffer)

Will Still remains the favourite for the Sunderland manager’s job according to bookies and is reckoned to be owner Kyril Louis-Drefus’s “preferred candidate.” Gambling.com football expert Greg Lea has assessed the leading contenders and compiled odds on Sunderland’s next permanent manager.

According to Lea, Still remains top of the tree. He was reportedly on Sunderland’s radar since December and he is now the overwhelming 4/9 favourite to take the reins at the Stadium of Light, after his spell in charge of Reims came to an end. Born in Belgium to English parents, Still became the youngest manager in the top five European leagues when at the age of 30 he replaced Oscar Garcia at the Ligue 1 club.

A 19-game unbeaten run helped Reims finish 11th last season and they were as high as fifth in January this year, but results have tailed off and they finished in ninth position.

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It is also reported that Ligue 1 club Lens have made Still one of their priority targets to replace departing boss Franck Haise. Former Hull City manager Liam Rosenior is now the 6/1 second favourite to take over at the Stadium of Light. The Tigers finished one place outside the play-offs in the Championship and was subsequently dismissed over “a difference of opinion on the team’s style of football” with owner Acun Ilicali.

Although Still seems to be the number one choice, Sunderland are also considering the merits of Bayern Munich’s Rene Maric (8/1). A former assistant coach under Jesse Marsch at Leeds, Maric last year took on a newly-created role at the Bundesliga giants which centres on coaching development and playing style.

A whole host of names have been linked with the vacant job at the Stadium of Light – including a new one. According to The Sun, that man is Raphael Wicky, who recently managed Swiss giants BSC Young Boys for almost two seasons. The Sunderland board are said to have identified him, although The Sun have stated that Burnley are also interested in the 47-year-old following the departure of Vincent Kompany to Bayern Munich.

In his debut campaign in Bern, Wicky guided the club to the league and cup double but was terminated from his position back in March after a string of poor results. Throughout his time at the helm of Young Boys, Wicky boasted a 58 per cent win ratio. His only other managerial jobs in men’s football came at Chicago Fire in the MLS and at Basel in his native Switzerland.

It was at the latter where Wicky proved himself against both Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League campaign. Despite bowing out in the first knockout round, the astute tactician picked up two victories against two of the greatest managers in football history, including an away win at the Etihad Stadium.