Football Features

Six super-clubs most likely to need a new manager this summer

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 12:28, 20 April 2021

The biggest clubs around Europe are hitting the headlines right now for reasons you wouldn’t normally expect from the game’s elite.

In fact, so outrageous has the announcement of the intended Super League and so vociferous has been the backlash that everyone seems to have forgotten that José Mourinho was sacked as Spurs boss on Monday. After just 17 months in charge, the Portuguese tactician has been dismissed. The timing, just one week before a delayed EFL Cup final, will rankle Mourinho the most as Spurs is the only time he’s managed a club for more than 20 games and not won a trophy with them.

Mourinho’s sacking puts a spotlight on the fact that many of these “super-clubs” (and Spurs must be one given their involvement in the Super League) might actually be looking to change manager in the summer.

We’ve had a look and come up with a handful of super-clubs that might be after a managerial change this summer.

Tottenham Hotspur

Right now, the Spurs manager is Ryan Mason. Yeah, that Ryan Mason. The 29-year-old former midfielder who was forced to retire in 2018 due to chronic injury issues. He was coaching Spurs’ youth set-up when he got the call to replace Mourinho.

It’s likely that Mason will be able to see out the season, which means that Spurs will be out to change their manager in the summer. Sure, they could stick with Mason but it’s unlikely that he is the Enfield Nagelsmann and a club in the Super League will be in need of a more robust and capable manager than a 29-year-old rookie. So you can expect Spurs to make a change.

Borussia Dortmund

This is another change we know will happen. Edin Terzic took over from Lucien Favre in December 2020 and has done reasonably well with the German side given the tailspin they were in. However, his win percentage is just 52%, so you can see why Dortmund would want more.

And they will get more when they appoint Borussia Monchengladbach boss Marco Rose in the summer. Rose has Gladbach seventh presently but has led them to some really impressive performances and a solid and coherent system of play. Gladbach were absolutely thrilling in their Champions League group, finishing second before falling to Manchester City in the round-of-16. He will bring energetic and entertaining football to Signal Iduna Park and we’re looking forward to it.


Bayern Munich

Hansi Flick, the man who won six trophies in his first season and a half as Bayern Munich manager, has decided he wants to walk away at the end of the season. “The situation is I told the team today that I informed the club during the week that I wanted to get out of my contract at the end of the season,” is what Flick said, and many speculate this is because he wants to take over the German national side.

Flick departing would not be something that Bayern would want, as under his management the Bavarians have been absolutely liquid, an unstoppable force overwhelming everything else in front of them. 81 games Bayern have played under him and they’ve won a staggering 67 of those games, scoring 244 goals and conceding just 85. Flick is an incredible coach, and wherever he lands will become a better side for his presence. Bayern, meanwhile, will have to look elsewhere.

Liverpool

What if the place Bayern are looking to is Merseyside? And what if they’re looking at the very best German manager in the world? Jurgen Klopp’s chemistry with Liverpool as a club, city and fanbase has been instantaneous. He “got it” almost straight away and had been welcomed into their hearts with open arms even before he delivered the Champions League and Premier League.

So why would he leave? Well, it’s the Super League, isn’t it? Klopp was on record as disliking the idea before it happened, and after it was announced he again voiced his disapproval saying that his opinion “hadn’t changed.”

Klopp is famously a man of principles, and so the idea that he could resign from his post at Liverpool is not out of the question. He wasn’t consulted on Liverpool’s inclusion in the Super League, he wasn’t asked, and so how would he react if approached by Bayern Munich? A club full of “football people” running the show, a club that would allow him to return home to live in Germany, and most importantly a club that would not be part of the Super League. Could it happen? Don’t rule it out.

Juventus

Juventus had won nine straight Serie A titles coming into this season and so they felt invincible enough to sack Maurizio Sarri (who had just delivered the ninth of those titles) and appoint Andrea Pirlo, the hirsute hipster god who nevertheless had absolutely no managerial experience whatsoever, hand him an ageing mishmash of a squad, and expect a 10th title to roll in.

Well, that hasn’t happened. Juventus have been well off the pace for basically the whole season, never really contending against first AC Milan and then even after they fell away, it was Inter who stepped up and took control of things rather than Juve who are an incredible 13 points behind Inter and are in danger of dropping out of the top four altogether (although the Super League could render that moot).

Barcelona

On the face of it, Ronald Koeman is doing quite well at Barcelona. He’s taken a club who weren’t expected to do anything at all and lifted them from a rocky start to third in La Liga with the fate of the title in their own hands. Barcelona need only win their last 8 games of the season, including a clash with top-of-the-table Atlético Madrid, and they would be crowned champions. This would go along with the Copa del Rey they just won, thrashing Athletic Club 4-0 in the final.

So why would they get rid? Well, you need to look at where Barcelona have fallen short this season. The tactical set-up and approach in the biggest games have been less than optimal, and Koeman’s tendency to make poor substitutions have really hurt the club. They lost both Clásicos, for instance, because of self-inflicted errors and poor game management.

Koeman has done very well, but much as Ernesto Valverde did in 2017/18, he’s made the job too big for himself. He’s lifted Barcelona off the floor and made them a big club again, and he is not suited to manage a big club. Sure, they could retain him and maybe limp along to some sort of success, but more than likely it would just be like when they retained Ernesto Valverde and while they limped to La Liga, the squad was heavily decaying and got humiliated in the Champions League twice in successive seasons by Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

It would be a bold, confident play to replace Koeman after just one season, but it’s the decision that has to be made if Barcelona want to truly get back to being one of the world’s elite football clubs.



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