French first-division club Nantes on Thursday confirmed that manager Claudio Ranieri would be leaving at the end of the season after one year in charge. “The club and the coach have decided to separate by mutual agreement,” president Waldemar Kita said in a statement. “We thank Claudio Ranieri and his staff for all the work they have done this season and wish them lots of success in their next projects,” Kita said.
The divorce has been an open secret and the Canaries have not hidden their search for a replacement with former player Jocelyn Gourvennec linked to the position. “I had a good time here with you. I hope Nantes will continue to progress,” Ranieri said on Thursday.
The 66-year-old coach, who led Leicester City to an unexpected English Premier League title in 2016, will be on the Nantes bench for the last time for the season-ending home game against Strasbourg on Saturday. Ranieri arrived last summer after Portuguese coach Sergio Conceicao left suddenly for Porto.
The signing of a famous coach signalled that Kita wanted Nantes to take a step up. The first part of the season seemed to justify the gamble. Nantes were third after 10 games and stayed in the top five well into the second half but a plunge in form has dropped them to 10th.