Where Next for Europe's Vacant Managers?

Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham Hotspur Spurs
A lot of football bets are being placed on Mauricio Pochettino after conducting such a fine job as Spurs boss
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The Elite are ready and waiting

The football manager. A position that is so important to every team yet so often goes so wrong. If it’s not going right on the pitch, it is the manager in the firing line. Getting a managerial appointment right is like striking gold and that’s why so many clubs are desperate to find the man they need, and rarely does it seem to pay off for as hoped in this modern game.

Of course, just because a coach has a bad spell at a club, doesn’t make them a bad manager, it just means they perhaps were not the right fit for that club. The best bosses have their own style, their own principles and their own way of conducting business, so it is often the best managers that get caught up in this misunderstanding. 

At the moment, there are elite managers with their feet up at home, just waiting on the right offer. At the same time, plenty of clubs out there could really do with a new boss and instead of looking at who is already employed, they should instead take a look at those who are vacant.

Here, we will look at some of Europe’s best vacant managers and where they would be a great fit. 

Massimiliano Allegri

Without a job since leaving Juventus in the summer of 2019, Massimiliano Allegri is arguably the best manager without a club at the moment, especially if his record is the ultimate factor. The Italian has enjoyed a fruitful career, winning a league title with AC Milan before five consecutive league triumphs with Juventus as well as four Coppa Italia’s. Allegri has also shown his skillset outside of domestic competitions in Italy, leading Juventus to two Champions League finals.

He might lack the panache or flamboyance of some of Europe’s elite managers like Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, but he is undeniably effective. A well-drilled defence and a tenacious midfield help alter his attackers however needed to get results and he has shown to be by far the best manager in Italy this past decade.

One option, and a club who would be very interested in the Italian, is Paris Saint-Germain. The French club are dying for some continental success to match their domestic supremacy and Allegri could be the man to give the Paris outfit their best chance.

Granted, he hasn’t won a Champions League himself, but he took the Old Lady to two finals and that was a side no more talented than PSG’s. There are world-class players in this PSG team and pairing Allegri’s tactical approach with the firepower of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could make for an interesting combination - Allegri is by far the favourite to be the next PSG boss with odds of 6/4.

There is also still the option of Manchester United. That ship does seem to have sailed now since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was made permanent boss, but his tenure has shown mixed success so far and will the United board may be keeping tabs on Allegri as a result. 

He would definitely be a good fit at Old Trafford, and teaming back up with Paul Pogba could bring some of the form that made the Frenchman so popular at Juventus under the Italian's wing.

There is then the potential rise of Newcastle United, and how they may soon become one of Europe's biggest attractions. The Magpies' Saudi-backed takeover seems imminent and hiring a new manager might be the first point of call, with the aim to get the club back to the Champions League.

Whilst this job will be far from Allegri's usual dominance with a side, the wage will be more than healthy and the project in waking this sleeping giant could be as enticing as it gets for a man seeking a new challenge - the ex-Juventus man is 5/2 to take the helm at Newcastle.

Allegri's next job odds:

Paris Saint-Germain - 6/4

Newcastle United - 5/2

Manchester United - 5/1

Manchester City - 12/1

Tottenham Hotspur - 16/1

Barcelona - 20/1

Atletico Madrid manager - 20/1

Liverpool - 25/1


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Mauricio Pochettino

The sacking of Mauricio Pochettino from Tottenham Hotspur was one that shook the football world to it's core. The Argentine had done a remarkable job in his five years at Spurs, moulding them into a team regularly competing for the title and even leading them into a Champions League final. Granted, the Lilywhites had endured a poor run of form under the Pochettino at the time, but sacking him mere months after leading the side to a European final was out of the blue and unfair to say the least. 

There is no doubt about and, in truth, there are few managers on the market more highly rated than he is and any club and would be lucky to have him.

The team everybody is talking about is United. The former Spurs manager has been linked with the job at Old Trafford for way over a year, especially after Jose Mourinho was sacked in 2018. United are a team still trying to find their feet and compete for titles again and taking over at United is a project that seems to fit like a glove. Pochettino was able to make drastic changes to life as a Spurs fan, where a title challenge has now become an expectation rather than a dream. 

The issue with United is their recent form has meant Solskjaer is out of the firing line and replacing him now would be seen as unjust. However, recent results just act as paint over the glaring cracks for the Red Devils. The growing feeling is that although the Norwegian has performed the job of steadying the United ship admirably, he doesn’t quite have the credentials to lead them to the upper echelons of English football.

United will be aware that Pochettino won’t be available forever and if they want him desperately, now is the time. 

Similarly, the Newcastle job will also entice the former Spurs boss. The Magpies may soon be heading into an era where managers get the blank cheque for superstar signings and considering how Pochettino took Spurs from the Europa League to the Champions League final, it makes perfect sense for the new owners at St. James Park to hire him.

Read the odds for Pochettino's next managerial job right here.

Marcelino

Another vacant manager who could act as a very interesting option for a host of clubs is former Valencia boss, Marcelino. The Spaniard may not be considered amongst the likes of Pochettino and Allegri just yet, but he might not be far away and perhaps just needs that perfect fit.

Marcelino's sacking in September 2019 at Valencia is probably one of the least justified in recent history. The 47-year-old led the Oranges from two 12th placed La Liga finishes to two fourth-place finishes and a Copa Del Ray title - the club's first trophy in a decade. Then, just three games into the season, he was sacked after disagreements with those above him.

The effect he had on Valencia shows how good he is as a manager with little budget and with a team needing a complete rebirth. The Spaniard’s 4-4-2 formation favours grit in the middle and plenty of pace out wide and is a system that would work in any European league, especially England. Marcelino has shown to be excellent with his players in man-management as well, so much so that when sacked by Valencia, the players reportedly held a mini protest.

Whilst his relationships with players have been great, it is his relationships with those above him that have sometimes been his undoing. There have been a few cases where the Spaniard has been unhappy with transfer activity, claiming that those higher than him have been reluctant to let him bring in who he wants. It isn’t a desired trait for a manager, but if you mix his coaching ability with an owner willing to spend, you could have a fantastic partnership that can help a team blossom. 

Now, there are a host of different clubs who could benefit from Marcelino’s coaching. The ex-Valencia man looked a great candidate for the Arsenal job before it was taken by Mikel Arteta, but with the poor form far from changed under Arteta, the Gunners perhaps missed a trick here. No doubt the owners lacked onto this new trend of hiring young managers who once donned the shirt, but, as many have proven over the years, this doesn't work.

It's unclear where Marcelino could go next, with Spain perhaps his desired location, although a handful of clubs could do with him elsewhere.

Marcelino next club odds:

Atletico Madrid - 6/1

Real Betis - 9/1

Barcelona - 20/1

Tottenham Hotspur - 33/1

By Jak Richardson

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