Five managers poised to fill any Premier League vacancies…

Ian Watson

Santiago Solari
The Argentinian is still waiting to get back in the game after making way for the return of Zinedine Zidane in March. Solari’s exit was inevitable after the coach, who worked his way through the Real Madrid ranks to take the top job when Julen Lopetegui was sacked, presided over a Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax before losing two Clasicos, a 1-0 defeat in the league and a 4-1 aggregate reverse in the Copa del Rey.

Solari got the Real job almost by default since Spanish league rules dictate that an interim boss can be in place for no longer than a fortnight. So despite Jose Mourinho fluttering his eyelashes at Florentino Perez, Solari assumed the permanent gig, though four wins and 15 goals from his four matches in charge made it an easier decision for Perez.

Zidane initially flailed too, putting Solari’s stint in a more positive light. After six months off, he declared himself ready to get back to work in September.  “I would like to coach in Europe, in a serious project in one of the big leagues,” he told the BBC. In case any chairmen were wondering, he added: “The type of football I like is when the team is the protagonist, offensive football, high tempo and aggressive but in order to achieve that you have to defend high, have fast transitions, and of course talent is a big part of that.”


Niko Kovac 
Fourth in the table, four points off the top, just won’t cut it at Bayern Munich. It was hardly a disastrous start to the season at the Allianz Arena -as one that included a 7-2 victory at Tottenham – but losing 5-1 to former club Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of the month, their heaviest defeat in a decade, is a sackable offence at Bayern.

The 48-year-old took it exceptionally well. Despite leading Bayern to a domestic double during his only full season in charge, Kovac said his sacking “was the correct decision for the club at this time”.

Perhaps Kovac was glad to be away from the in-fighting at Bayern and comfortable in the knowledge that his CV will take care of his employment prospects. On top of the Bundesliga title and DFB Pokal triumphs last season, the Croatian can point to success at Eintracht Frankfurt before returning to Bayern Munich. Kovac took over at Frankfurt in 2016 with the side contenders for relegation and he turned them into a side battling for Champions League qualification, as well as winners of the German cup at Bayern’s expense.

What next? Kovac, along with Mauricio Pochettino, has been named as one of four potential candidates to replace Lucien Favre at Dortmund, even while Favre clings on to his job.


Robert Moreno
It has all been a bit #awks around the Spain side in recent weeks. Moreno, in his first senior management post, led his country to Euro 2020 after winning seven of his nine matches in charge. But the 42-year-old was in tears as he left the Wanda Metropolitano after Spain’s 5-0 win over Romania following the news that Luis Enrique was coming back to take charge for the European Championship finals.

Moreno had worked as Enrique’s assistant with Spain, and prior to that at Barcelona, Roma and Celta Vigo. When Enrique had to step away from his post to be with his terminally ill daughter, Moreno stepped up on an interim basis before becoming getting the full-time gig in June on a contract until the end of Euro 2020.

Having got Spain to the finals, Moreno won’t be taking them. Enrique is back and Moreno is out. The former assistant always said he would happily step aside when Enrique felt strong enough to return, but Moreno won’t go back to his old role and no one seems quite sure what has gone on behind the scenes in recent weeks.

If Moreno is thirsty for more after getting a taste of being the main man, his credentials will be attractive to a number of clubs. The 42-year-old never played at a high level, turning to coaching as a teenager instead. His CV may never look better.


Gennaro Gattuso 
We’d all love to see the mad bast*ard managing in the Premier League, wouldn’t we?

Gattuso is currently unemployed after leaving stepping away from AC Milan at the end of last season. The Rossoneri missed out on a Champions League spot and despite ending the season in fifth place, their highest finish since 2012-13, the former midfielder insisted on stepping down.

“Deciding to leave Milan’s bench is not easy but it’s a decision I had to make,” he said. “Mine is a painful but thoughtful choice. Am I giving up a two-year contract? Yes, because my story with Milan can never be a question of money.”

Gattuso has been linked with a range of jobs since leaving the San Siro, with Udinese, Napoli and Inter Miami said to be among the 41-year-old’s suitors. Though he looks made for West Ham as the antidote to Manuel Pellegrini’s mogadon brand of management.


Masimilliano Allegri
The former Juventus boss is clearly biding his time, watching and waiting for the perfect job to entice him back onto the sidelines.

Allegri left Juve at the end of last season after winning their eighth straight Scudetto while becoming the first coach in Europe’s top leagues to win four consecutive doubles. No wonder he’s taking his sweet time…

The former Milan boss has been linked with seemingly every big club, whether there is a vacancy of not. Allegri has been touted for Manchester United and Arsenal, while Spurs were also said to have sounded him out before turning to Mourinho.  The 52-year-old was also reported to be a prime candidate for Bayern Munich, though not being able to speak German was said to be a concern.

Arsenal appears the most viable link at present, though given Allegri’s credentials, he may prefer a cushier job with better prospects for titles and Champions League success. In which case, he might want to get stuck into the German lingo sharpish.


Ian Watson

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