Coaching Carousel - Winter 2015/6

blueguitar322

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Sep 20, 2005
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There's always rumblings about potential changes, but it feels like there are quite a few massive changes happening this year. The recently-confirmed "Pep-stakes" have only made the game of musical chairs more chaotic.

Changes that have already happened in the past month:
  • Pep Guardiola's indecision about an extension forced Bayern Munich's hands, and they hired ex-Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, whose term will begin this upcoming summer
  • Jose Mourinho's "mutual decision" to leave Chelsea after leading the team to the worst title defense start in English football history
  • Klopp to the kop has been a done deal for a while, and despite some initial struggles, optimism is still high at Liverpool
Clubs looking to make a change:
  • Chelsea has hired Guus Hiddink as interim manager, but it's not likely the Dutchman's tenure will last beyond the end of the year if one of the key names (e.g. Guardiola, Simeone) chooses them.
  • Lots of rumors indicating Manchester United's Van Gaal will get the axe soon; the man himself publicly wondered if he was still a "very successful manager" worthy of leading the biggest club in England.
  • Despite a league title and runner-up in his 2+ years - hardly a terrible track record - questions (particularly about tactics) continue to plague Manchester City's Manuel Pellegrini. Stranger still, the Chilean is actively recruiting his potential replacement.
  • The malcontent fans at the Bernabeu appear to have it in for newly-appointed Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez. I honestly don't follow La Liga closely enough to have a good feel for Rafa's job security, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a change despite only being two points out of first.
The market for managers:
  • Pep Guardiola is obviously the top choice for most clubs, and rightfully so. It's extremely rare to find someone that changed the face of football tactics and won just about everything that could be won before turning 40. Renowned for his possession-heavy total football style, he's been rumored to have an agreement with City, but United and Chelsea are surely chasing his signature as well.
  • Jose Mourinho is now a free agent. The Special One is an unending source of entertainment and has indicated he is anxious to get back into the game without any extended break.
  • Diego Simeone appears happy at Atletico Madrid, but rumors of Chelsea's pursuit of the Argentinean persist. IMHO, it would truly be a shame for the only barrier to the longstanding Spanish duopoly of Barca/Real to get raided. Atletico is no small club anymore, but the layer cake of world football is a strong, ugly force.
It's very possible that Wenger, Klopp, Guardiola, Mourinho and Simeone will all be coaching at the "big five" English clubs next year. As an Arsenal fan, that scares me to death; as a fan of good football and compelling storylines, I couldn't be more excited.

(Well, except for @bosox4283 and his Atletico Madrid.)
 

bosox4283

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Mar 2, 2004
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I appreciate the shout-out. If Chelsea swings and misses on Guardiola, I suspect they'll make a serious run at Simeone. I'm not sure he'll jump, mostly because he doesn't speak English and his ability to motivate relies on his language skills. Simeone is even masterful with the press -- he repeats the same themes over and over again.

If Rafa Benitez wins nothing at Madrid, he's out for sure. If Benitez wins one title, he still may be out. There are constant rumblings that he is not developing strong relationships with players. Benitez's present inability to connect also stands in stark contrast to Ancelotti who was adored by his players. At the same time, I think Benitez is fighting an uphill battle: Ronaldo is a fading star (albeit slowly) with a huge ego, and Bale never really seems to fit. Bale plays, of course, because that seems to be Florentino Perez's wish, but I don't get the sense that Bale is a good fit for the team, especially as long as Ronaldo's ego is on the team.

For the sake of comparison, one of Luis Enrique's greatest strengths has been his ability to get Neymar, Messi, and Suarez to play together. Those three are in sync and seem to accept that each shares a spot on the podium of greatness. It is a remarkable achievement, especially since most pundits and fans were talking about the end of the Barcelona era in January 2014.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Jul 2, 2006
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I appreciate the shout-out. If Chelsea swings and misses on Guardiola, I suspect they'll make a serious run at Simeone. I'm not sure he'll jump, mostly because he doesn't speak English and his ability to motivate relies on his language skills. Simeone is even masterful with the press -- he repeats the same themes over and over again.

If Rafa Benitez wins nothing at Madrid, he's out for sure. If Benitez wins one title, he still may be out. There are constant rumblings that he is not developing strong relationships with players. Benitez's present inability to connect also stands in stark contrast to Ancelotti who was adored by his players. At the same time, I think Benitez is fighting an uphill battle: Ronaldo is a fading star (albeit slowly) with a huge ego, and Bale never really seems to fit. Bale plays, of course, because that seems to be Florentino Perez's wish, but I don't get the sense that Bale is a good fit for the team, especially as long as Ronaldo's ego is on the team.

For the sake of comparison, one of Luis Enrique's greatest strengths has been his ability to get Neymar, Messi, and Suarez to play together. Those three are in sync and seem to accept that each shares a spot on the podium of greatness. It is a remarkable achievement, especially since most pundits and fans were talking about the end of the Barcelona era in January 2014.
Another factor that might compel Simeone to stay is that Atleti will see its domestic TV revenue spike next year under the new Spanish TV deal. Under the current system, this year they'll receive 42m euros while Real and Barca receive 140m euros. Next year Real and Barca should stay roughly the same but Atleti is probably going to get close to 100m. They'll still be way behind Real/Barca in total revenue due to far less commercial and matchday revenue but this will really help Atleti's finances and Simeone might want to stick around and see what he can do with more resources at his disposal.
 

blueguitar322

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Sep 20, 2005
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That's certainly consistent with the rumors we've been seeing for some time. Better there than United or Chelsea imho.

City will be scary. Over the last five years they've finished 3rd-1st-2nd-1st-2nd. If they can do that with a combination of Mancini and Pellegrini, it's frightening to think of what they could do with Guardiola.

I'm hoping that it will take a couple years for Pep to reshape the team in his image, but between Pep, the oil money, and the increasingly toothless FFP rules, the Citizens should enjoy a bright future.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Jul 2, 2006
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I think Guardiola is probably the top manager in the game right now but I don't know how much difference he really makes vis-a-vis other top managers. How many points in a Premier League season is he worth over someone like Mourinho, Klopp, Simeone, or Wenger? The question is basically impossible to answer but I wouldn't be surprised if its less than many people imagine. I'm sure he'll build a very strong and very entertaining team at City but I think the most likely scenario within the Premier League going forward is going to be a hyper-competitive one in which no single club dominates.