In Focus: Four contenders to replace O'Neil as Cherries stint turns sour
Gary O’Neil’s caretaker spell at Bournemouth started in dream fashion — but four straight defeats have raised alarm bells once again on the South Coast.
With American billionaire Bill Foley now only waiting on Premier League approval to complete his takeover of the club, 39-year-old O’Neil could soon find himself relieved of his temporary duties.
Ahead of the Cherries hosting Everton this evening, we look at four names who the new regime could consider for the hotseat on a permanent basis.
After working wonders with Burnley for the best part of a decade, few would have expected Sean Dyche to be out of work for this long.
The 51-year-old’s achievements at Turf Moor were truly the stuff of legend, establishing the Lancashire outfit in the Premier League against the odds and even securing continental qualification in 2017-18.
Since his shock departure in April, the Kettering-born boss has been linked with the likes of Leicester, Wolves and, most recently, the Cherries — responding to the rumours on his recent Monday Night Football appearance.
Asked if there was any truth in a possible move to the Vitality Stadium, Dyche said: "No, there's a lot of talk at the moment. Obviously, I was under contract at Burnley and I’m not under contract anymore.
"And I had a few links when I was at Burnley, so it's not new territory, but it's often you know, people throwing names in the hat. It's always flattering to be linked. Watch this space."
If the Cherries are wanting to look outside of the box, Kjetil Knutsen is a man with a burgeoning reputation and is seemingly desperate for a crack at the Premier League.
Boss of Norwegian outfit Bodo/ Glimt, 54-year-old Knutsen made waves in his homeland when guiding his current club to back-to-back league titles in 2020 and 2021 — the first in their history.
The achievement was made even more impressive by the front-foot football he employed along the way, turning a supposedly mediocre squad into a relentless attacking force that netted 103 goals in just 30 games during 2019-20.
More recently, Glimt have shone at European level. They stunned Jose Mourinho’s Roma 6-1 in last year’s Europa Conference League group stage before eventually exiting to the Italians in a hard-fought quarter-final.
It seems only a matter of time before Knutsen is handed an opportunity in one of football’s top divisions and luring him to the Vitality Stadium could prove a masterstroke.
If the new Bournemouth hierarchy fancy approaching a big name, Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard could be open to a quickfire Premier League return.
Gerrard, 42, enjoyed a successful spell with Scottish giants Rangers and his appointment by Aston Villa 12 months ago was met with huge excitement among the Midlands outfit’s supporters.
However, things did not go to plan for the 114-cap England international at Villa Park and a run of just one win in eight outings saw him axed last month.
Previously, the Scouser may have considered himself above a relegation battle but with his reputation damaged, a stint of stabilising on the south coast may be just what the doctor ordered.
If Gerrard could keep Bournemouth up this term and then kick them on into mid-table next season, the chances of him one day landing his dream role in the Anfield hotseat could be revived.
Chris Wilder has endured a rollercoaster period in his managerial career during spells with Sheffield United and Middlesbrough — and success in his next role now feels crucial.
As Blades boss, the 55-year-old forged a reputation as one of England’s finest coaches as the Yorkshire club punched well above their weight in the Premier League, playing expansive and attractive football.
However, second-season syndrome bit hard and when Wilder was booted in March 2021, he would wait eight months before jumping back onto the managerial merry-go-round at Middlesbrough.
Though expectations were high on Teesside this term, two wins in 11 Championship games was enough to see Wilder dismissed with the tactician outspoken about Boro’s supposed underperformance in the summer transfer window.
Given his recent struggles, bringing Wilder to Bournemouth would be somewhat of a gamble but armed with a healthy January budget, he would undoubtedly back himself to deliver success.