It is half through a difficult Eurpoean football season, time of the year when clubs are starting to take stock reflecting on the progress and journey travelled so far.
The boardroom takes centre stage as most of these reviews are conducted on those environments. Sporting or Technical directors are thrown in the deep end to account on the progress and regress thereof. Also not to be left out are the coaches themselves, as this is where the bug stops in terms of team selection, player recruitment, general team conduct and well-being and ultimately the overall team performance.
With teams vying for domestic honors and the prestigious continental tournament qualifications the pressure bestowed on coaches has been intensively pilling up. Coaches have to account for their actions and decisions.
Club owners are constantly looking out for the investments ( yes football is now being ran like a true corporate, supporters always want bragging rights of their team performance in conversations in coffee shops, at work etc.
A score of major European clubs have seen their fortunes diminishing faster than a lightning strike g in their domestic leagues. There’s always reasons and factor regarding the performance levels of this clubs like changing of the technical team, injuries, inadequate player activity in the transfer market or over activity by acquiring players that do not fit well within the team, and low player morale et al.
For example Chelsea had little activity in the transfer market after opting to stick with the current crop of players that won them the English Premier tittle the previous season. But fact of the matter is a big chunk of the core squad were approaching 30 years old, whilst the other chunk are already within the wrong side of 30, the likes of Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic. This crop of players represented the DNA of Chelsea, however after a difficult European season coupled with international appearances in between, they did not have the legs to carry them through to the new season and perform at an optimal strength, hence their defence was leaking like a wild cast rain. With the results not forthcoming in the new season, it was a no brainer that Jose Mourinho was feeling the heat, and the Russian billionaire who is always trigger happy had reached a point of no return, and it was a matter of time before he unleashes a bomb. Chelsea lost game they weren’t supposed to lose, and like the coaches before him Mourinho was a goner.
Casting a stone further to the City of Manchester, where both neighbouring teams City and United are having problems of their own.
Immediately after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, United has not seen or tasted any glory days, they are living under the shadows of themselves. Living to its tradition of developing English talent, David Moyes was given the opportunity to fill up the HUGE shoes of Ferguson. Within a short space of time it became clear that Moyes was enroute to failure and eventually the team failed to qualify for the Champions League, and he was effectively ejected from the club.
United roped in the so-called Dutch master Louis Van Gaal, a widely celebrated and respected football coach with an impeccable record in the record. The American owners gave LVG a blank cheque to go into the transfer market, to try and resuscitate the clubs fortune. It is believed that LVG got given a 200 million pounds transfer war chest, they even sounded out Real Madrid for the release of Gareth Bale. Well spending millions of pounds doesn’t correlate to success on the football pitch.
LVG is extremely under pressure after ManUtd suffered straight 5 loses under his watch in this current season, and but the look of things his days at Old Trafford are extremely numbered.
Back at the Etihad Manuel Pellegrini is at pains trying to wrestle back the English premiership tittle. With Pep Guardiola shadow creeping time and time again, failure to win the league or even going far beyond in the Champions league will cause a major headache for Pellegrini to continue in his current position. Leicester City under the stewardship of Claudia Raneiri ( Yes ex Chelsea manager who got fired when the Abramovich regime begun) are amongst clubs that City needs to fight off in battle for the top honors. Leicester City are currently occupying an unbelievable top spot in the Barclays premier table.
With all the shenanigans at full throttle it’s no wonder the level of managers turnover, the scariest part as a coach that really unsettles you is hearing about the position you’re currently occupying being the talk of town. How scary is that?
Let us look at potential moves/destination for top coaches in the near future:
1. Jose Mourinho ( Portugal)
After being given marching orders second time around by Chelsea Mourinho opted to remain in England where his family are now settled. Prior to Sir Alex Ferguson departure from Man Utd it was widely speculated that Jose would succeed him at Old Trafford. His agent was tirelessly trying to put a deal together for his client without much success. Jose waited in vain for a call from top brass at Old Trafford, when they eventually opted to employ David Moyes. Jose wept uncontrollably after hearing the news regarding Moyes.
This time around he’s chances of taking over at the Red Devils has multiplied in two fold. With LVG continuous under performance Jose looks set to assume reigns in the summer.
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez is believed to have sounded out Jose to take over, but he’s having none of it. The current crop of players who clashed with Mourinho in the past still forms part of the team, so he would not to re-enter that toxic environment.
Verdict: Manchester United
2. Pep Guardiola ( Spain)
One of the most decorated young brilliant football manager of the modern era. He tasted success at Barcelona both as a player and coach wining major continental honors Champion League. Pep was widely known for introducing the “tika tika” style of play at Camp Nou, which ultimately became a cornerstone of Spanish football. Joining Bayern Munich after much success and sabbatical at Barca, was bound to be a challenge, here you have a club that has been dominating the local scene for years, but not experiencing such elsewhere in the champion’s league. Therefore Pep’s main task had been to propel the team to win in Europe. After four seasons in charge Bayern won every cup on offer, but failing to capture the elusive champions league gold medal in the process. Pep really knows when to leave, as demonstrated by his will to try out new systems at new locations should his current methods not be working accordingly. Immediately after announcing his departure from Bayern Munich, as living by the true essence of german engineering efficiency the club brought in the tried and tested Carlo “ The Pig” Ancelotti to continue where Guardiola left off.
Chelsea has been a long admirer of his talent, having made attempts to lure him to the Bridge without much success. The environment at Chelsea seemed to be too volatile for his liking. He wants a very stable environment that would allow him time to introduce new systems to mould his own team. Unfortunately the Russian oligarch Abramovich is quick to pull the trigger when the results are not forthcoming.
The Red Devils approached him but could not offer certain guarantees that he requested, therefore the deal went flat from the word go.
With his former Sporting Director Txiki Begristain at Barcelona, now fully in-charge at Man City, the Etihad seems likely to be Guardiola’s ultimate destination for the next 5 years or more.
Their close relationship and experience dealing with high profile players, and his high esteem within European football circles would be the key determinant factor which will persuade Guardiola to join Man City.
Verdict: Manchester City
3. Diego Simeone ( Argentina)
The former Argentine international took charge of Atletico Madrid within a period of four years to the top of Spanish La Liga, breaking the tradition of a two horse race between cross town rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona. Atletico have been a giant killer in the champions league after reaching the finals in 2014, only to lose to Los Blancos. The club has been displaying an array of great football, and in the process producing world class footballers who have gone to ply their trade elsewhere in major European clubs.
With a 15million pound buy-out clause, this should be a bargain for any team wanting his signature. While his temper on the touch line might cause a bit of headache, his coaching skills would surely find a home in a big club.
4. Claudio Ranieri ( Italy)
Having put the newly promoted Leciester City at the helm of the Barclays Premier league Claudio, would not be less of any suitors come end of season.
Verdict: Elsewhere in Europe.
It is bound to be a very interesting and difficult period amongst coaches at different levels of the game, as club bosses ponder about their next move.
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