As Neil Lennon has ceded his crown as the Celtic boss, rumours abound that the ‘King of Kings’ Henrik Larsson may be next in line for the throne at Parkhead.
In fact the betting on the 42 year old Swede becoming the next Celtic boss was ‘temporarily ‘suspended due to a series of big money bets that flooded in about Larsson’. These sorts of betting patterns strongly suggest that there people out there who know something the rest of us don’t.
From an outsiders perspective it looked like this news would be the cause for joyous celebration among the Parkhead support. Yet surprisingly many have poured cold water on the claims that Henrik Larsson should be the next boss. Fans cite his relative lack of managerial experience as the main reason why he should not be anointed as Neil Lennon’s successor. Obviously fans would love to welcome the return of the King one day. But at the present moment many Celtic fans subscribe to the opinion that Larsson is not yet ready for a job of such magnitude at this premature stage of his managerial career. Of course there are merits to this argument. But on other hand, a school of thought exists that a figure of the stature of Henrik Larsson would be the ideal candidate for the job.
After all, he is well versed in the ‘Celtic Way’ and is idolised by the fans after serving the club with such distinction in his 7 seasons as a player at Celtic. Furthermore, he is fully aware of intense pressure attached to the Celtic manager’s job, and also appreciates and understands the expectation of the clubs fans. More importantly, however, Larsson has worked under some top class managers throughout his playing career. He will undoubtedly have gained a fascinating insight into the managerial methods of his past coaches such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Martin O’Neill and Frank Rikaard to name a few.
Larsson is also held in high esteem throughout the football world and he could probably make use of his vast contacts around the continent in order to secure the services of some top young players on loan from his previous clubs, such as Manchester United and FC Barcelona. This would be invaluable to a club like Celtic, who because of their handicap of being resigned to the Scottish League, are bound to budget constraints of the paltry television revenue they receive as part of the SPFL deal with Sky. In the absence of the multi-billion pound contracts enjoyed by the Premiership clubs, Celtic are in serious danger of sinking without a trace on the European scene mostly due to the fact that they cannot afford the kind of transfer fee’s and exorbitant wage packages needed to attract top players to Paradise.
Of course, the lack of competition in the Scottish League is another contributing factor which persuades elite players against a move to Parkhead. But still, the potential of European football every year can prove to be a priceless bargaining tool in transfer negotiations. The chance to be coached and managed by a legend like Henrik Larsson could also be used as leverage by the Parkhead powerbrokers when signing players.
After all not many clubs can offer the kind the kind of environment Celtic can to young players looking to gain vital experience in the game. It stands to reason that many parent clubs would attracted by the proposition of allowing their young players to win trophies and showcase their talents on the European stage at Celtic, whilst having the benefit of world class training facilities at Celtic’s Lennoxtown complex.
On the contrary, even if Henrik Larsson was to be appointed as the next Celtic manager, the possibility that the Parkhead club- who face three qualifying rounds to make the Champions League next season- may be deprived of European football could be prohibitive to their attempts to recruit top class players whether on loan or on a permanent basis. On the same token, the probability of being resigned to a diet of domestic football next season may also help dissuade some of the more experienced candidates on the shortlist of the Celtic job such as David Moyes, Malky Mackay, Roy Keane and Paul Lambert from taking the job.
The prospect of no European football next season could even convince Henrik Larsson to resist the allure of Paradise.
But if it didn’t deter him, then Henrik Larsson could be a risk worth taking.
Certainly by the book maker’s estimation, the abdication of the crown by Neil Lennon has paved the way for the return of the King to the throne.
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