Eddie Howe's Bournemouth stars knew their manager was destined for the top.

And Simon Francis is convinced a move to Celtic for his former boss would be a mutually beneficial decision for both parties. Francis, 36, played under the Englishman and credits him as the best coach he worked with during his long career.

He is certain Howe can do a good job at Parkhead and rival Rangers' Steven Gerrard for the Premiership title next season if he completes a deal that has been in the offing for over a week. 

Francis knows Howe is destined for big things and he describes the Hoops as a 'massive' football club. But he says Howe needs to move away from his comfort zone in the Premier League with Bournemouth and make the leap to something different entirely.
"Until it's confirmed it's hard to say but I'm very excited for his next step in football management," he told BBC Sport.

"There was always going to be a time when he walked away from Bournemouth, of course. I would've loved it if it had been after the club stayed in the Premier League and it would've been on his terms. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

"We always used to speak about it, especially when we were in the Premier League he would always get linked with top Premier League clubs or the England job. It's just great to see because we always used to say in the changing room he was destined to be a top manager.

"For me, he's the best coach I've worked with, the best man manager as well. For him to go into a club like Celtic, if it is Celtic, would be a huge coup for the football club. I don't think they realise how good he could be up there. I know the fans are already excited about it, it seems like he's their number one target.

"The vast improvement he could make on a squad of players with a lot of talent in there already. Given time with a pre-season under his belt, he'll get to know the players and see where he needs to strengthen, he'll certainly be able to rival Steven Gerrard next season."

Howe felt homesick after leaving the Cherries at first to take up a job at Burnley and there have been critics who suggest things could pan out in a similar way this time should he live in Glasgow.

But Francis believes Howe has to take the next step to prove himself and take a chance. He added: "Absolutely (it's necessary for him), because it could not be any more out of his comfort zone.

"I know he loves the area and he might've liked the next job to be a bit closer to home. But Celtic from Bournemouth? You couldn't get any further away, really. It's one of those you go in 100 per cent, you go all in. He'd have to move up the family up, it's a huge chance for him to go to an absolutely massive football club. No disrespect to Bournemouth but they're a small team. Even in the Championship, it's such a small stadium with 11,000 fans there.

"It's a chance for him to go and manage a big football club with 67,000 fans at the home games singing his name, getting the team the way he wants to play.

"It's a huge opportunity for him."