Celtic: Ronny Deila emerges as leading manager candidate

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
Interview - Ronny Deila

Stromsgodset head coach Ronny Deila is now a leading candidate to become Celtic's new manager.

Contact was made with his club on Tuesday, but agreement has not been reached on a compensation package, with Deila under contract until 2016.

If permission is not granted then the Scottish champions will move on to pursue other targets.

"It's just speculation, I am here at Stromsgodset," said 38-year-old Deila on Wednesday evening.

The former Viking Stavanger player's growing reputation as a young, intelligent, contemporary and resourceful coach has impressed Celtic.

Stromsgodset chairman Tom Saxegaard told STV: "We are going to play in the Champions League and obviously we want to keep him.

"He's our manager and is under contract with us for two-and-a-half- years. We really think he can get to the very top."

With Stromsgodset having played Tromsdalen in the Norwegian Cup on Wednesday, further developments are unlikely until Thursday. Stromsgodset lost the cup tie 4-2.

Celtic are giving serious consideration to appointing Deila as Neil Lennon's successor.

The Scottish champions are not currently considering going back to their former striker, Henrik Larsson, who has committed himself to his current job with Falkenbergs until the Swedish top flight ends in November.

Deila has been in charge of Stromsgodset since 2007 and guided the team to the Norwegian Cup in 2010 and the Premier League title in 2013.

A documentary described him as the Norwegian Jurgen Klopp and Deila has spent time at Borrusia Dortmund observing the German at work.

He has also spent time watching Brendan Rodgers' coaching sessions at Liverpool and Deila's development as a manager is underpinned by his studious nature.

Deila made use of Stromsgodset's tie-up with Manchester City to make several visits to the Etihad Stadium to study training methods there.

A former teacher, he is a driven personality with a desire to learn from the best coaches and implement best practice in training.

His Stromsgodset team are considered to be athletic and attacking, qualities that Celtic scouts noticed when they were compiling reports on Stefan Johansen, the Norwegian international midfielder who left the Norwegian champions for Celtic Park in January.

Ronny Deila on the training field
Deila has spent time learning from coaches all over Europe

Deila is considered to have generated an impressive track record at Stromsgodset but has come out of left field in terms of Celtic's pursuit of a new manager.

Former Aberdeen striker, Arild Stavrum, played against Deila, who was a defender, and attended training courses with him. He believes that his compatriot would be a success at Celtic, so long as he is given the time to implement his coaching methods.

"It would be a really interesting choice by Celtic, because he has done tremendously well here in Norway at a very small club who nobody expected to compete," Stavrum said.

"He's done a brilliant job here. He's a manager who needs to be given time to build a team, but he would be an excellent appointment.

"The mentality of Norwegian and Scottish players is not that different, so he would adapt to Scottish football.

"The Swedish champions, Malmo wanted him, but he turned them down. Although he is expected to leave Norway.

"Celtic could make a safe appointment of somebody who they know will deal with the pressures, but Deila would be an inspired appointment."

There are at least two other candidates being actively considered by Celtic, although Deila has impressed the Parkhead hierarchy with his intelligent approach to coaching, team building and player development, and insistence that his teams play passing, progressive football, all of which would suit the model of head coach that they are looking for.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell told Sky Sports News: "There is nothing more we can say, we are still working on it.

"But hopefully, within the next few days, or certainly within the next week, we might have something to say.

"We are still working on the same number of candidates. We are talking to a lot of people and hopefully we will get the right guy soon.

"We have met a few of the guys and it's been good.

"We have enjoyed the process and there has been a lot of good candidates."