Celtic have now been without a manager for three months but it feels like this arduous saga is finally beginning to come to an end for everyone associated with the Hoops at Parkhead.
That’s because the Bhoys are on the verge of welcoming Eddie Howe to Paradise in time for the summer transfer window.
Howe still needs to sort out what backroom staff will join him but a deal feels closer than ever.
Despite a move being on the verge of conclusion, Celtic have made sure they’ve had other irons in the fire.
Last week, it was revealed they were still interested in former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard but they’ve directly held talks with another coach.
According to one Italian reporter, the Hoops have been in discussions with Enzo Maresca over the last few weeks.
The claim states that he’s also fielding interest from Girona and Sampdoria in Serie A but a fresh update on Tuesday morning from Fabrizio Romano reveals he’s now in advanced negotiations with Parma.
The 41-year-old is currently an understudy to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City so is evidently held in high esteem.
Maresca is currently Man City’s U23 manager where he’s enjoyed a wonderful campaign in the north of England.
The club’s first team came away with the Premier League title but Maresca’s academy side were also victorious in Premier League 2.
He’s played a key part in preparing City’s next-generation for first-team life, being hailed by Guardiola for his efforts along the way.
Speaking only a few days ago, the decorated Spaniard said: “It doesn’t help the young boys to go to the media, it can be more confusing than positive. We are delighted with what Maresca has done. He’ll be an extraordinary manager in the future – like I felt it with Arteta.
“He’s developed many young players that will help us. It will depend on how many stay and how many leave. Who we sign.”
This would be vitally important for Celtic because the academy and reserve side is an area of the club that’s felt neglected.
One of their brightest prospects in Cameron Harper recently left for New York Red Bulls while Karamoko Dembele doesn’t have long left on his contract.
His terms at Paradise expire in the summer of 2022 and he’s not been given much of a sign that Celtic is the place to develop.
The 18-year-old began to make more of a senior breakthrough towards the end of the season but after scoring his first goal for the club against St Johnstone, wasn’t afforded a chance from the off on the final day versus Hibernian.
With Maresca in charge, the fortunes of those coming through the ranks at Lennoxtown could begin to change.
The developing young coach knows a clever talent when he sees one and as City’s success at academy level tells you, he knows how to progress their games.
This wouldn’t only be huge for Dembele but it could make a massive impact on the likes of Adam Montgomery and Luca Connell too.
That’s before you even consider the incoming Liam Shaw and a player like Leo Hjelde, someone compared to Virgil van Dijk.
Howe still looks like he’s the first choice but Maresca would have been a very solid alternative for Dominic McKay before his move to Parma.