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leaving it late

Claudio Ranieri joins French side Nantes despite late Crystal Palace bid

The former Leicester manager signed on the dotted line with the French club, despite an eleventh hour bid from Crystal Palace

Claudio Ranieri is set to return to management next season, with French club Nantes securing the Italian manager for their 2017/18 campaign. 

The Ligue 1 side have been locked in talks with Ranieri all week, with Premier League side Crystal Palace reportedly close to hijacking the former Leicester City manager with a last-minute deal.

Croydon or the French West coast… decision time

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Croydon or the French West coast… decision time

According to French publication L’Equipe, managerless Palace attempted to scupper Ranieri’s move to Nantes at the last minute, with the Eagles desperate for a new manager since Sam Allardyce called it a day at the end of last season.

Former Hull manager Marco Silva was top of their wishlist, but the Portuguese opted to take the reigns at rivals Watford instead.

Ranieri was their next choice.

Watford’s new pin-up

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Watford’s new pin-up

But despite Palace’s attempts to woo the 65-year-old, Nantes officially confirmed Ranieri as their new manager on Thursday afternoon:

The French club had earlier teased their fans with a Tweet depicting the Italian flag before the confirmation:

Oh, you rascals. 

Nantes finished last season’s Ligue 1 in seventh place, their best position for many seasons, which resulted in manager Sergio Conceicao leaving the club for Portuguese giants Porto.

Sergio Conceicao is off to Porto

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Sergio Conceicao is off to Porto

Meanwhile, the search for a new manager continues for Palace, with chairman Steve Parish insisting the club are looking for someone who can steady the ship at Selhurst Park for a number of years.

He said: “We really want somebody who feels they can come in and help us improve the footballing side of the club over a long period of time.”

At 65, we doubt Ranieri is really the guy they want anyway.

DT 180915 Ranieri Pizza quote