The managerial roundabout at Watford continues to spin, following official confirmation from the club that Walter Mazzarri will relinquish his role at the end of the current Premier League season. He had spent less than 12 months at the helm.
The experienced Italian, appointed on a three-year contract in May 2016 to succeed Quique Sanchez Flores and become Watford's eighth manager in just four years, is set to remain in charge for the final match of the campaign against Manchester City at Vicarage Road on Sunday (21 May) before stepping aside.
"After the board discussed with Walter Mazzarri the club's future goals and aspirations, it was decided he will be stepping down from his position as the club's head coach after the final game of the 2016/17 season," Watford chairman Scott Duxbury said in a brief statement released via the club's official website.
"We thank Walter and his staff for the contribution they have made to Watford Football Club over the past year."
Former Napoli and Inter Milan chief Mazzarri has won 11 of his 37 league matches in charge of Watford, guaranteeing a third straight season of top-flight football.
However, the Hornets experienced an alarming slump in form and lost six consecutive away league games without scoring for the first time since May 1952 before showing commendable fighting spirit during an eventful 4-3 defeat to champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that left them 16th in the table. They could still finish as high as 12th, depending on how results pan out on the final day.
Mazzarri's Watford future had been subject to doubt, with The Mirror recently stating that showdown talks were held amid concerns over, among other things, his relationship with the players – rumours regarding a disagreement with captain Troy Deeney have been circulating for some time now – and a failure to learn English. The 55-year-old still uses an interpreter to conduct pre- and post-match interviews and was rumoured to be planning to sign up for an intensive language course in the summer.
With Mazzarri's departure imminent, highly-rated Hull City boss Marco Silva and former Leicester City title-winner Claudio Ranieri have emerged as the early favourites to take the managerial reins in Hertfordshire.
Alan Pardew, Leeds United's Garry Monk and Nigel Pearson also feature prominently with bookmakers, as do Burnley's Sean Dyche (the first managerial casualty of the Pozzo era back in 2012 when he was dismissed and replaced by Gianfranco Zola), Roberto Mancini, Ryan Giggs and Chris Hughton.