Are the natives getting restless at your club?
Let’s face it, in the fickle world of football, most managers are never more than a bad month away from the sack.
If you’re looking for inspiration for where your club should turn next, you’re in the right place, as the Marathonbet blog looks at the best managers out of work right now…
Football Managers Out Of Work 2020/21
Out Of Work Managers | The A-Listers
The stand-out candidate on the market right now after adding another Serie A title to his collection with Inter, but Conte can afford to be picky. With Spurs seemingly failing to meet his ambitions, Conte can probably afford to sit tight for a while knowing he’ll be the No. 1 choice for any of the European elite if they need to make a swift change next season. However, his fiery reputation does precede him, so any takers will need to be up for the battle when it comes to board room bargaining.
While it’s hard to feel sorry for a man with a trophy cabinet and honours list as extensive as Zidane, it does seem the Frenchman is still viewed with scepticism in some quarters over how his approach and tactics would work away from his beloved Real Madrid. Nevertheless, you don’t get much more A-List stardust for your buck than the 48-year-old. A move to France or Italy looks most likely in the long term, but an extended break might be his preferred option given the notorious demands placed on any manager in Madrid.
While his time at Borussia Dortmund ended in rather brutal fashion at the turn of last year, Favre remains one of the brightest minds in the game, and his body of work should make him a racing certainty to be interviewed by any ambitious Premier League outfit.
A Favre appointment could have echoes of Ralph Hasenhüttl should he arrive in English football, given the Saints boss was prematurely written by many after his time at RB Leipzig ended on a sour note.
If anything, the Frenchman boasts a better CV than the Southampton boss, with his adventurous tactical style winning both admirers and honours at Zurich and Dortmund.
The experienced German is the ultimate project manager after building mini powerhouses at both Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig as the pioneer of the widely adopted ‘Gegenpressing’ style. Will any Premier League chairman be prepared to give him free reign to build a project in English football?
He could be the perfect fit for any club willing to trust his belief in a long-term process and smart recruitment, although the 62-year-old is as much an operations man as a training-ground boss, which could put off certain suitors. He’s also an Anglophile, having spent a year playing non-league football and watching Brighton games while a student at the University of Sussex.
The 56-year-old fell foul of the powers-that-be at Barca at the start of the year, but given the chaos that has ensued since Valverde left Camp Nou, the Spaniard’s image may have been rehabilitated should any high-profile vacancies arise over the coming months.
With two La Liga titles under his belt plus a track record of success in a foreign country (three titles with Olympiakos), Valverde has a CV he can rightly be proud of, and his good grasp of English ticks a big box for any potential Premier League suitors.
He’s a playing icon, but can he cut it as a manager? The early indications suggest Pirlo may need to revise his expectations downwards for his next role after a massive misfire of a season with his treasured Juve. However, given his status in the game as a stylish operator both on and off the pitch, you’d expect at least one commercially-savvy chairman to give him a second shot.
It’s not as if he’s uncommitted to life in the dugout either, having received his UEFA Pro Licence prior to stepping up from Juventus U23s. The Juve move probably came too soon in his fledgling managerial career, but that black spot in his CV will need rectifying swiftly if he’s going to enjoy as much success off the pitch as he did on it.
We’ve seen all sorts of first when it comes to Premier League managers over the years, but Fonseca would be the first-ever Mozambique-born manager in the English top flight if the Roma manager’s next move does come in the EPL. He’s repeatedly been linked with Premier League jobs in the past, and he would be a plum candidate for any club outside the top six given the versatility of his CV, managing Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto all before the age of 50.
With Ligue 1-winning pedigree and a spell in Italy under his belt, Garcia has all the continental credentials required to tempt any Premier League club exploring an ambitious leftfield appointment. At 57 years old, Garcia would be a late developer as a first-time EPL manager, but he has been a model of consistency in his managerial career, with over 50%-win ratios at Lille, Roma and Lyon. That’s not a record to be sniffed at if any mid-range EPL teams want to swerve the usual candidates for a more exotic name.
Another name routinely linked with a future stop-off in England, the 52-year-old has perhaps flown under the radar in recent seasons after leaving European football behind for a spell in China with Shanghai SIPG. He’s reportedly turned down the Everton job twice in the last decade, but a third time might be the charm given it’s nearly five years since he last showed off any work within the European game.
Premier League Contenders – Current Out Of Work Managers
Premier League panic tends to set in when the autumn nights draw in. As always, there is a decent crop of experienced names waiting by the phone for the right opportunity, as well as a few intriguing names spying a first stint in English football.
This lot for starters…
While Hodgson’s exit from Crystal Palace was painted as a step towards retirement for the 73-year-old, the veteran boss wasn’t exactly equivocal about officially calling time on his six-decade spell in management. The former Eagles boss has one of the most eclectic CVs going so you wouldn’t entirely rule out another short-term spell abroad or in international management, while if a firefighter is needed by any club come the autumn, there are few better candidates.
NUNO ESPIRITO SANTO
A free agent after mutually parting ways with Wolves (though we might need his memoirs for the final say on that departure), Nuno looks to be angling for an instant return to the dugout having been strongly linked with various Premier League roles since leaving Molineux. However, the 47-year old could also be tempted by a move back to the continent having spent time away from his family due to lockdown measures in the UK.
The Premier League veteran reportedly has his heart set on a return to English football after calling time on an uneventful spell in China.
While Newcastle fans still harbour hopes of a future return to St James’ Park, Benitez is likely to proceed with caution when he makes his next move after a tense working partnership with Mike Ashley during his last spell on these shores.
A move to Celtic has also been touted if the Glaswegian giants decide to hit the reset button this summer after a demoralising campaign – and Benitez’s CV suggests he does have a fondness for clubs with fanatical fanbases.
While his hugely successful stint with Sheffield Utd ultimately ended on a sour note, Wilder will be a man hugely demand when the managerial merry-go-round cranks back into life.
The former Blades has been there and done it at all levels of the English football period, from guiding Alfreton Town to the Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division 20 years ago to his fairy-tale rise back into the top flight with his hometown club.
That means he won’t be phased by the relative scale of any interesting projects that come his way in the coming months. Wilder also looks unlikely to be the type to wait around for the ‘perfect’ role to come up, given this is his first sustained career break since 2008. Expect him to get back stuck in before the summer is out.
Sarri’s immediate successor is also back on the market after his surprise exit from Chelsea in January.
A poor run of form throughout the winter of 2020/21 put paid to Lampard’s short-lived reign at the club where he made his name, but he’s rumoured to be fired up for a quick return to the dugout when the right opportunity arises.
A mixed picture from his time at both Derby and Chelsea makes it an interesting question as to where Lampard currently sits in the managerial food chain.
Will he wait around on the punditry circuit for another Premier League opportunity, or does he need to get his hands back dirty at Championship level?
He might need a promotion or trophy on his CV if he wants a long-term return to a top end Premier League club.
The old adage goes ‘a change is as a good as a rest’. Well, Eddie Howe will have benefitted from both when he finally decides the time is right to make a return to the front line after a bruising end to his time at Bournemouth.
The former Cherries man looked badly in need of a breather after a decade at the helm but will surely be desperate to prove the 2019/20 season was simply a minor blip in an otherwise faultless career to date.
Given Howe struggled in his only spell away from the South Coast with Burnley, expect him to take some time to mull over his next move. It’s a delicate balancing act, though, as too long out could see him left behind when it comes to being linked with top-flight jobs. Exhibit A: Alan Curbishley…
Silva is a diminished figure in English football after his largely disastrous spell at Everton, but there are probably still a few Premier League chairmen who might be willing to take one final punt on the Portuguese manager finally cracking it in the top flight.
The 43-year-old showed enough glimpses of promise at both Hull City and Watford to suggest he may operate best as a big fish in a small pond. However, his brutal tenure at the Toffees might just convince him to steer clear of English football altogether and go for an Andre Villas-Boas-style rehabilitation abroad. Time is still very much on Silva’s side as he looks to the next chapter.
Could one of the Bundesliga’s most experienced operators fancy a change of scenery for his next move?
55-year-old Labbadia has never managed outside German football but is the consummate safe pair of hands in a division where he has been handed the reins of clubs including Hertha, Wolfsburg, Hamburger SV, VfB Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen. A German Big Sam, if you like.
Given he’s seen and done it all in that division, a spell abroad might be the logical next step, and he’s previously been tentatively linked with West Brom and Newcastle. The timing might be right for Labbadia to take the leap into the English game.
EUSEBIO DI FRANCESCO
Another ‘wildcard’ who we could see being a person of interest for clubs that enjoy throwing in the odd managerial curveball (yes, Watford, we mean you). 51-year-old Di Francesco has a wealth of experience in Italian football, most notably with Sassuolo, guiding the Black and Greens to the Serie B title in 2013 as well as sixth place in Serie A and Europa League football just a few seasons later.
That was enough to earn him a move to Roma where he masterminded the side’s miraculous 3-0 turnaround win over Barcelona in the Champions League in 2018.
However, his star has waned since then after underwhelming spells with Sampdoria and Cagliari. Perhaps that means it’s time for a change of scene as he ponders his next move.
Could an all-time Premier League legend finally be ready for a long-awaited return to these shores?
Viera’s name recognition alone should guarantee he makes the shortlist for any English top flight job that comes available over the next 12 months, although he’s still yet to prove he’s as much a winner in the dugout as he was on the field of play.
A 7th place finish with Nice in his first season in Ligue 1 suggests Viera could have something to offer should any EPL side be willing to take the gamble on a football great who has just suffered his first major setback as a player or coach.
Out-of-Work Managers: Championship & EFL Contenders
Timing is everything in football.
There’s probably a part of Alex Neil that wishes he had put loyalty aside to join West Brom in April 2019 after his solid four-year spell with Preston North End ultimately turned stale in 2020/21.
Given Preston’s budget limitations, the Scotsman was always likely to fall foul of raised expectations at the Lilywhites after keeping them comfortably upper mid-table for most of his spell at Deepdale.
Things ultimately did unravel as he parted company with the club following a difficult to start to 2021 which saw his charges win just one of his last nine games, leaving North End nowhere fast in 16th place.
Smart suitors should overlook those last few months and look at his career in the round. Neil’s a manager with five years of mostly solid work in the second tier – including a league title – and he’s still only pushing 40.
The Welsh firefighter is back on the market after a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 46-day stint with Sheffield Wednesday.
A behind-the-scenes fall-out saw Pulis make a hasty departure from the Owls before he had a chance to reshape his relegation-threatened squad in the January transfer window.
He may well jump at the chance to prove a point to his former employers at another posting after leaving South Yorkshire with just one win from his 10 matches.
Expect plenty of owners looking at their bottom lines to overlook that ill-fated career move should survival expert Pulis put himself forward for an instant return to the dugout.
The former Huddersfield man flopped spectacularly on his return to native Germany with Schalke; he may fancy rebuilding his reputation when the time is right at a level he knows well.
The Uruguayan still has a point to prove after disappearing off-the-grid somewhat following his time with Sunderland. Poyet has a reputation for being prickly in the boardroom, which may explain his lack of options of late, but has a defined playing style that could reap rewards with the right club. A vacancy has just popped up at his last club in English football. Could he tempted by the prospect of a reunion with the Black Cats?
The dream of 10 in a row turned into a nightmare for Lennon, but after an extended break, the former Celtic boss may feel he has something to offer south of the border given his stint with Bolton Wanderers between 2014 and 2016 was hamstrung by behind-the-scenes issues.
His largely successfully spell as Hibs could also see more mid-ranking Scottish Premiership clubs come knocking next season once he’s ready for a return to the dugout.
However, after a bruising 12 months in the pressure-cooker environment that is Glaswegian football, the Northern Irishman might appreciate the chance for some time away to recharge his batteries before seeking his next challenge.
Sparky has probably run out of chances in the Premier League after his spell as the unlikely saviour of Southampton proved short-lived two years ago.
That said, the Welshman is less uninspiring than his reputation sometimes leads fans to believe. It’s easily forgotten that he did guide Stoke City to a third ninth place finish in a row only just over four years ago.
Carlo Ancelotti’s long-time No. 2 has never quite escaped the suspicion he’s not cut out for the top job after several underwhelming spells in the Premier League and EFL Championship.
That said, the 49-year-old remains highly rated as a coach and was unlucky to be dismissed from at least one of his spells in England with Derby County.
A recent career diversion into Belgian football didn’t see Clement pull up any trees, and he may have to cut his teeth with a patient chairman in League One if he’s finally going to crack it as the main man.
Will Lambert have to look at a return north of the border for his next move?
He might struggle to find a role in English football that meets his requirements after a dreary two-and-a-half-year spell at Ipswich where most matches featured the word ‘nil’.
That pragmatism might serve a club looking for a firefighter well, but the defensively-minded Scotsman might have to wait until sacking season in 2021/22 before his safety-first approach gets another fair hearing.
His long-time links to Celtic mean he’s never far from the discussion when it comes to vacancies in the Scottish Premiership, and that could be a natural next move for a manager seeking a radical second act to a career in danger of stalling.
Given the list of managers who have failed at Sunderland, it would take a brave man to write off Phil Parkinson from bouncing back quickly in his next role.
Parkinson is one of the Football League’s most consummate operators, managing over 800 EFL games – not bad for a manager who’s still only 53.
Prior to his spell on Wearside, he forged a reputation as a man for a long-term project, exceeding the 100 games mark for no less than four clubs (Colchester, Charlton Athletic, Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers).
Few managers can be considered a ‘safe pair of hands’ in the Football League. Parky is one of them.
Will it be third time lucky for the former England international?
So far Campbell has been forced to fight fires for two cash-strapped clubs in the form of Macclesfield Town and Southend Utd, acquitting himself well at both in challenging circumstances.
The former Arsenal and Spurs man probably deserves the chance to take on a more settled outfit, but this being the EFL, he may have to take another rescue job to get back in the dugout if he wants to return before the end of the 2020/21 season.
ROBERTO DI MATTEO
Di Matteo remains something of an enigma as a manager, with the jury still out on just how much input the suave Italian had on Chelsea’s extraordinary run to Champions League glory in 2012, a feat he’s come nowhere close to matching in his managerial outings since.
Di Matteo has been out of the game for over four years now after a farcical spell at Aston Villa and it remains to be seen whether he has the hunger to return for another spell in the dugout.
That said, his successful spell a decade ago with West Brom suggests he can’t be written off entirely as a ‘lucky general’ on the basis of his three-month trophy haul at Chelsea. Many big names have tried and failed at Championship level, but Di Matteo can point to his second-place finish with the Baggies as proof he’s no flash in the pan.
Football Managers Out of Work Right Now*
- Aitor Karanka
- Alex Dyer
- Alex McLeish
- Andrea Pirlo
- André Villas-Boas
- Antonio Conte
- Billy Davies
- Bruno Labbadia
- Chris Coleman
- Chris Wilder
- Claudio Ranieri
- Derek McInnes
- Diego Martínez
- Eddie Howe
- Ernesto Valverde
- Florian Kohfeldt
- Frank Lampard
- Gary Caldwell
- Garry Monk
- Gennaro Gattuso
- Graham Westley
- Gus Poyet
- Heiko Herrlich
- Ian Holloway
- Javi Gracia
- José Gomes
- Jim McIntyre
- John Hughes
- Jürgen Klinsmann
- Lucien Favre
- Luís Castro
- Marco Silva
- Mark Hughes
- Martin Allen
- Micky Adams
- Neal Ardley
- Neil Harris
- Neil Lennon
- Nigel Worthington
- Nuno Espírito Santo
- Pablo García
- Patrick Viera
- Paul Clement
- Paul Dickov
- Paul Lambert
- Paul Peschisolido
- Paulo Fonseca
- Phil Parkinson
- Phillip Cocu
- Philippe Montanier
- Quique Sánchez Flores
- Quique Setién
- Rafa Benitez
- Ralf Rangnick
- Richard Money
- Roberto Di Matteo
- Ronnie Moore
- Roy Hodgson
- Rudi Garcia
- Sam Allardyce
- Sean O’Driscoll
- Sol Campbell
- Steven Pressley
- Stuart Kettlewell
- Stuart McCall
- Thierry Henry
- Tony Pulis
- Vincenzo Montella
- Vítor Pereira
- Vladimir Ivic
- Walter Mazzarri
- Zinedine Zidane
*List correct at time of writing but subject to continual change.
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