Former Montreal Impact boss Jesse Marsch’s name has emerged as a contender for the vacant Celtic manager’s job after some former players brought the American’s name to prominence.
Former goalkeeper Pat Bonner and ex-Scotland international James McFadden each threw Marsch’s hat in the ring in the wake of Neil Lennon’s dismissal.
Bonner said: “He thinks outside the box. Players think differently now and they’re looking for something different. He’s only one of that ilk of modern type of managers.
“That’s where I think the club needs to go to.”
McFadden added: “He is about finding out about the club, the fans, learning the culture of the environment that he’s in. He learns what’s required.”
For Montreal’s first-ever head coach in MLS, Marsch to Celtic is not as far-fetched as once it might have been. He likes to play attacking football as espoused by his RB Salzburg side in the Champions League, a competition in which Celtic have failed to reach the group stages in recent years. The American’s footballing philosophy would suit the Scottish club’s traditional expansive style.
“I’ve heard [about the links] and it is an honour for me,” Marsch told BBC Sport
“I know enough about it to say of course it’s interesting,” he added. “It’s an amazing club and it would be an honour to even be considered. But I also have a job to do here.
“My way of working is really to focus in on the job that I’m doing and concentrate on the moment. And the more that I do that the more other possibilities can arise.
“Three or four years ago, being linked with a club like Celtic would literally be an impossibility for me. And now that this is where I am, I always just try to look at it in terms of, ‘what would the project look like?’
“Would we have similar ideas in how to build it the right way, invest in the academy, invest in young players and create this development process that I’m talking about? And not just focus on winning.
“Obviously I know that when you’re the coach of Celtic, winning is the most important thing.”
Other names touted for the job include Belgium boss, Roberto Martinez and former Bournemouth coach, Eddie Howe, but while Martinez will probably seek a bigger club when he leaves Belgium, Howe still has prospects of finding a Premier League club. Running Celtic may just be tempting enough for the Englishman however, and much would depend on his desire to go to Glasgow.
One thing is certain, for either Marsch, Martinez or Howe, assuming the Celtic hot-seat would be akin to walking into a cauldron the like of which neither has ever experienced. Managing either one of Scotland’s Old Firm is different level when it comes to passion, rivalry and at times pure hatred.
‘The Bhoys’ are reportedly searching for a director of football as well as a manager in a revamp of their football operations, after their pursuit of a 10th consecutive league title fell miserably flat this season.
Whomever gets the job, a huge overhaul is required and there is the added difficulty of competing with a resurgent Rangers, something successive Celtic managers haven’t had to worry about for the past decade.
Under Marsch, Austrian side Salzburg are on course for a second straight league and cup double, not the biggest surprise in European football. Salzburg at the top of Austrian football has become common-place now over several seasons, as the Red Bull organization’s involvement ensures resources the club’s traditional and previously more powerful rivals can only dream of.
Marsch (47) of course previously coached New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer, winning the Supporters’ Shield and becoming coach of the year in 2015.
He moved to Germany in 2018 to become Ralf Rangnick’s assistant at RB Leipzig, before taking over at Salzburg the following summer. There he helped develop young talents such as Erling Braut Haaland and Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino, also reinforcing a buccaneering stye of football.
Unsurprisingly Marsch has also been linked to top jobs in the German Bundesliga but is contracted to Salzburg until the summer of 2022.
An approach from the Scottish giants may just upset that contractual applecart.
With another hour of Montreal football chat due out this evening... check out the latest The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 19). Recorded last Wednesday evening the TBIR team discuss the Nancy appointment, select the best-ever #IMFC head coach and try to understand why so many of Europe’s big clubs are struggling under pandemic football. Plus all the usual favourite features...
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