Following his resignation from Championship club Watford, Gianfranco Zola has been installed as the new favourite to take the reins at West Brom.
Zola’s odds to be the next Baggies boss have shortened rapidly into 11/4, with one time club and international teammate Di Matteo available to back as 7/1 fourth-favourite.
The former Hornets manager, regarded in some circles as one of the brightest young managerial talents in English football, guided the Hertfordshire side to last season’s play-off final, where they narrowly missed out on a place in the Premier League, losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace.
However, the ex-Chelsea star hasn’t had such an easy ride at Vicarage Road this term, where he tended his resignation following rumours of off-field discord to accompany the club’s five successive home defeats.
With no win since early October, he departed leaving Watford in 13th place, eight points adrift of the play-off spots.
Zola’s inability to replicate the potential overachievement of the previous campaign this time around is what has contrived to remove him from his job, which bears several similarities to the demise of former Baggies supremo Steve Clarke.
Why then, would those heading the West Brom recruitment drive look to appoint a manager who has essentially mirrored the standards set by the man the fired, only at a lower level?
This obvious question is what detracts value from a punt on Zola to make a return to the Premier League, with 6/1 shot Malky Mackay a superior alternative.
Much strife has been reported regarding the highly-rated Scot’s unhappiness with behind the scenes goings on at Cardiff and, with the Welsh club’s controversial owner seemingly looking for any excuse to get rid of him, it’s difficult to envisage him putting up much of a fight should the west Midlands club swoop for their manager.
After getting Cardiff promoted in two seasons and setting them well on their way to beating the drop, Mackay has proven he’s capable of meeting expectations and this is deserving of a job with a proven top tier outfit.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date