Managerial merry-go-round about to start spinning

For many fans a long, hot summer means fevered transfer speculation from the end of one season through to the start of the next, and there is always at least one big player whose next destination is the subject of much speculation.

But this summer it could well be that the top managerial jobs – and who will get them –  will be the most talked about issue in football.  Some of Europe’s biggest clubs will be looking to fill their hot seats, with Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich already on the lookout for successors to Jurgen Klopp, Xavi and Thomas Tuchel.

And depending on how the season ends, there may also be vacancies at Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, as the managerial merry-go-round begins in earnest.

There will be no shortage of experienced managers available, with Jose Mourinho, Tuchel and Antonio Conte currently looking for work. And as well as the up-and-coming coaches like Xabi Alonso, Ruben Amorim and Roberto de Zerbi, there may be a few managers stepping down from international duty after Euro 2024 and looking for a new challenge.

It promises to be a busy summer – and here we try to work out who will go where:

Liverpool – Ruben Amorim

Following Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is going to be tough. One of their greatest managers is leaving at the end of the season, and one or two high-profile players may follow. But the Reds are well placed, as shown by the performances of their young players recently, and there will be a host of managers interested in the job. Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim rose to prominence at unfashionable Braga before being poached by Sporting for 10m Euros in 2020. In his first season in charge guided them to their first league title in 19 years and they currently lead the table in Portugal. Linked with Chelsea last season, could Liverpool offer Amorin an even bigger job?

Bayern Munich – Xabi Alonso

What do you do when the most dominant side in German football gets a footballing lesson from a surprise side who are on the rise? You take their manager and go on to dominate once again. That is what Bayern Munich hope to do with Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso, with the Spaniard becoming a revelation at Die Werkself. Currently ahead of record Champions Bayern by an astonishing eight points, and with Liverpool also sniffing around for their ex-midfielder, Alonso is not short of options if he decides to depart Bayer. Known for his high octane possession based football, Alonso is thought to be keen on a move to Bayern where he was also a player.

Barcelona – Roberto De Zerbi

Regardless of the financial struggles faced by Barcelona, the Spanish giants still hold massive pulling power to players and managers alike. With club legend Xavi exiting the Blaugrana at the end of the season, and a mixture of experienced and young exciting prospects to work with, this job holds a degree of excitement for whoever takes over.

Roberto De Zerbi’s name has been floated around numerous top sides in recent weeks, with his Brighton side seventh and looking forward to a massive Europa League clash with Roma soon. Another manager whose possession based style excites, De Zerbi has got the best out of his young guns as well as resurrecting the careers of his more experienced stars. After losing so many players and staff, especially to Chelsea in recent years, this will take a lot of money to persuade the Seagulls to let the Italian leave.

Juventus – Zinedine Zidane

One La Liga title and three Champions League titles is pretty good going considering Zinedine Zidane is still considered relatively raw in the managerial game. The Frenchman has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid in 2021 but is still hot property despite not managing in almost three years. With the relationship between Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri set to come to an end at seasons close after a fourth consecutive campaign without a league title, a return to a former club could be on the cards for Zidane.

The French superstar played for the Old Lady from 1996 to 2001, winning a Ballon d’Or in the process, and the lure of returning Juve to Serie A and European  glory could be a deciding factor into whether a move of this magnitude would happen. Zidane still has plenty to prove as a manager, but so do Juve as a club after falling from grace following their dominant years.

Manchester United – Graham Potter

It is all change at Manchester United, with INEOS and Sir Jim Ratcliffe finally entering the fray after securing 25 percent of the Red Devils from the Glazer family. While the Americans still retain majority ownership, INEOS now have full control of footballing matters, and that includes who the manager is. Erik ten Hag has had a turbulent time of late, with United sixth in the Premier League and out of Europe after finishing bottom of their Champions League group.

There have been reports that INEOS’ preferred choice to replace the Dutchman would be ex-Chelsea boss Graham Potter, who like ten Hag, has plenty to prove. Potter proved his credentials at Brighton, but struggled at Chelsea and lasted less than seven  months before  being sacked. It would not be a superstar appointment from the new leadership, but a smart one to lead their newest project.

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