Martinez a strong long-shot contender for Stoke hot-seat

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Tony Pulis’ axing made Stoke the latest club to join the game of managerial musical chairs that a host of Premier League clubs are taking part in.

Mark Hughes heads the betting to take over at the Potters, but after his unadulterated disaster at QPR, it’s unlikely that a club that narrowly avoided relegation will play with fire and appoint the former Manchester City and Fulham boss. His 3/1 price is best left alone.

If punters are searching further afield in the quest for a great value bet, they need look no further than Roberto Martinez.

The FA Cup-winning coach is highly-thought of in management circles (whether justifiably, or not) and can be backed at 14/1 to move to the Britannia Stadium.

It’s anticipated that he will leave Wigan following their relegation this season and with Pulis’ refusal to evolve his pub football-inspired style of play, installing a manager of Martinez’ mindset would be sure to please the fans.

What’s even more interesting is that Ladbrokes boast the top price on the Spaniard becoming Stoke’s next manager.

It would take some overhauling to transform the Potters from the ugly ducklings of Premier League football into a possession-centric outfit like Wigan. Plus, some serious hours will need to be put in on the training pitch to stop Ryan Shawcross instinctively lacing the ball as far as he can whenever it falls to his feet, but the club do already have a clutch of players who would fit into Martinez’ style.

Midfielders such as Charlie Adam and Stephen Nzonzi would benefit from this more cosmopolitan style of play, though a serious pace injection would be required.

However, one potential stumbling block is that Martinez has now scaled the next Everton manager market to be sitting at the precipice and has long-time harboured designs on managing one of the top-flight’s bigger clubs.

He turned down the chance to manage Liverpool last term, so he’d have to be a little disappointed moving to Stoke 12 months on.

Still, as far as outside punts go, the departing Wigan boss represents decent value in this market.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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