Hiddink favourite for Chelsea job

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Guus Hiddink is the odds-on favourite with Sky Bet to replace the axed Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager.

The firm made the man who led Chelsea to the 2009 FA Cup their 1/5 jolly after Mourinho’s demise was confirmed on Thursday afternoon. He then drifted slightly to 2/7.

Hiddink was interim boss at Stamford Bridge following Luiz Felipe Scolari’s dismissal in February 2009 but always made it clear he would not stay beyond the end of the season, one which ended with victory over Everton at Wembley.

He was most recently involved in management with the Dutch national team but was sacked earlier this year as the Netherlands struggled in Euro 2016 qualifying. They eventually failed to qualify for next year’s tournament.

As the market settled down, Pep Guardiola became the 5/1 second favourite.

Former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos came next in the betting at 7/1. He was linked with the post on Wednesday, prior to Mourinho’s departure.

“It appears to be a case of when Guus Hiddink takes the Stamford Bridge hot seat, not if,” said Sky Bet’s Sandro Di Michele.

“Even though Hiddink appears to be the man who will replace Jose, punters see it as a short-term appointment.”

As a result, the firm also priced up a market on who will be in charge of the club for the opening game of the 2016/17 season.

Pep Guardiola was initially made favourite but was quickly usurped at the head of the betting by Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone at 6/4. Guardiola was next at 2/1 with Hiddink a 3/1 chance.

Mourinho, three times a title winner with Chelsea, was axed after a disastrous start to Chelsea’s title defence, one which has seen them lose nine of their first 16 matches. They currently sit just one point above the relegation zone.

However, it can be argued that any new man coming in has little to lose. He will inherit a squad of world-class players, albeit one which has been under-performing,

Chelsea have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League – they play Paris Saint-Germain in February – and are 20/1 to win the competition, something they did in 2011/12 when they sacked Andre Villas-Boas mid-season.

The Blues are currently 66/1 to be relegated to the Sky Bet Championship, 200/1 to retain their title and 11/1 to finish in the top four.

A club statement read: “Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent.

“His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history. But both Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.

“The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential.

“There will be no further comment until a new appointment is made.”

Given his long-term record of success, Mourinho’s services are bound to be in demand with Real Madrid, Manchester United, PSG and Bayern Munich all seen as possible destinations.

Madrid are 2/1, United 3/1, PSG 4/1 and Bayern 5/1.

Guardiola has been linked with a move away from Bayern at the end of the season, while Louis van Gaal is currently finding life tricky in the Old Trafford hot-seat, a position Mourinho was widely linked with following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

Following Mourinho’s departure, Van Gaal is the new Premier league ‘sack race’ favourite with Sky Bet making him a 6/4 shot.

 

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