Oscar Garcia has snubbed reported interest from Leeds United to take the managerial role at Championship rivals Watford.
Beppe Sannino was appointed as Hornets boss on December 18 last year, and has made an impressive start to the new season with four wins from five matches lifting them to second in the table. So it was something of a surprise on Sunday when, following a 4-2 win against Huddersfield Town, the Italian coach handed in his resignation.
“I took over a very talented squad when I arrived but they were boys in many ways,” the 57-year-old later told the official club website. “I’m proud of what we have achieved and I have no doubt that the squad now, who look very much like men who know exactly what they must do, are very capable of getting promotion from this tough league.
“I know I have given everything to Watford. I have given my heart and soul to the job and I have been happy to do this because of the wonderful support I have received from everyone – and most of all the fans, who are truly amazing. However, I feel I have gone as far as I can so, for the benefit of me and the club, I feel the time is right for me to move on.”
The Vicarage Road club are thought to have turned immediately to Garcia, who spent last season in charge of Brighton & Hove Albion. Having led the Seagulls to the playoff semi-final, he quit when they were knocked out by Derby County. And after a very brief spell in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he has returned to England with Watford.
A statement on the club’s website read: “Watford Football Club is delighted to confirm the appointment of Oscar Garcia as head coach, the Hornets having won the race against several high-profile English clubs to secure his services. Oscar’s recent Championship experience was a key factor in his appointment. Everyone at Vicarage Road extends their best wishes to Oscar for his new role, which he takes up with immediate effect.”
This news is likely to come as something of a blow to Leeds, who are thought to have identified the 41-year-old as a potential successor to the sacked Dave Hockaday. And with Simon Grayson, the Preston North End boss, playing down the possibility of a return to Elland Road, the Yorkshire club are still in the hunt for a new head coach.
Watford fans, are you happy with this appointment? And would you accept a playoff place, or do you think you can gain automatic promotion? Let us know what you expect of the season by joining in the discussion below!