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Watford appoint former Chelsea tinkerman Claudio Ranieri as new head coach

Welcome back to the Premier League, Claudio!

Chelsea FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri has returned to the Premier League once again, this time taking up the reins at Watford, where he’s signed a two-year deal.

Nearly 20 years ago now — hard to believe! — Ranieri was the first manager of the Roman Abramovich Era, and thus also the first manager through the proverbial revolving door. Then again, Watford have been putting Roman’s record to shame in that regard: Ranieri is their fifth (5th!) manager in a little over two years, since September 2019. Quique Sánches Flores, Nigel Pearson, Vladimic Ivić, and Xisco Muñoz have all tried their luck (in addition to caretaker Hayden Mullins twice). None have lasted longer than Xisco’s 10 months (36 games).

So now it’s Ranieri’s turn.

Tinkerman Claudio — that night in Monaco still stings a bit, despite all the greatness that has happened since — takes over a newly promoted Watford side not actually in relegation danger at the moment. The Hornets have 7 points from their first 7 games back in the Premier League, sitting four points clear of the drop at the October break. Certainly not terrible or sack-worthy, yet here they are.

Ranieri, at a very nice age of 69, was most recently at Sampdoria for a couple seasons, leaving them in the summer at the end of his contract. Since winning the title with Leicester City during that famous 2016-17 season, he’s also had jobs at Nantes, Fulham, and AS Roma. But he’s been managing for nearly four decades, so we could fill an entire blog with his appointments and accomplishments and bits of appreciation.

He’s sure to get a warm welcome when he returns to the Bridge, though he’ll have to make it to the end of the season since Watford is our last scheduled match of the season.

Until then, best of luck, Mister! (Except against us.)

Leicester City Barclays Premier League Winners Bus Parade Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images