Claudio Ranieri has left Watford after just 112 days in charge with the club expected to announce his successor as head coach within the next 48 hours.
Watford’s players were given time off after the shambolic 3-0 home defeat at home to Norwich City which sealed Ranieri’s fate but will return to training on Tuesday afternoon. It is unlikely the new head coach will be in place by then but an appointment is understood to be imminent.
The club is working its way through potential candidates and are looking at managers who are out-of-work and therefore readily available. However, the search is complicated by the tightened rules following Brexit, which may explain why a new head coach has not immediately been announced, while it is believed Watford are considering British coaches on their list.
One name on the shortlist is Diego Martinez who enjoyed success in Spain with Granada before allowing his contract to run down. The 41-year-old has been discussed by the Watford board twice in the past and was under consideration before Xisco Munoz was hired.
Ranieri knew he would be leaving after Friday’s dismal 3-0 defeat at home to relegation rivals Norwich City with Watford dropping into the relegation zone for the first time this season.
"Watford Football Club confirms the departure of Head Coach Claudio Ranieri," the club said in a statement on Monday.
"The Hornets' Board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.
"However, the Board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the Head Coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.
"No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course."