1. Nigel Pearson
Having guided Leicester to the Premier League after comfortably winning the Championship in 2013/14, bloke’s bloke Pearson was then instrumental in maintaining their Premier League status as the Foxes won seven of their last nine games.
However, a well-documented breakdown in relations with the club’s Thai owners saw him cast aside just a month later. Thus, Leicester’s miracle season will no doubt be bittersweet for the 52-year-old.
Pearson, though, is ready to return. “I've had time to reflect, including areas in which I could improve,” he noted recently. “But I'm ready for a new challenge and I'm open-minded about where that will be. So I wouldn't rule out working abroad or taking a national job.”
Likely destination(s):Aston Villa are said to be ready to make an approach – which feels like a perfect fit.
2. Brendan Rodgers
Despite overseeing Liverpool’s agonisingly close surge to the 2013/14 Premier League title, the extent of the Northern Irishman’s fruitless spending (as part of a much-maligned transfer committee, it should be noted) during his Anfield reign was a persistent blemish.
Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and others just couldn’t live up to their combined £290m splurge, and a below-par start to 2014/15 proved the final straw for Rodgers, who left in October 2015.
He’s kept relatively quiet since, enjoying such activities as proposing to his girlfriend in New York and playing golf with Denise van Outen in Dubai, although has been clear in indicating a desire to return to a hot seat soon.
“I've been spending time with the family and travelling,” Rodgers said in January. “I had a brilliant experience at Liverpool – it's an incredible football club – but I've come away from it, taken a bit of time out and I'll look forward to the next challenge. Hopefully, come the summertime, I can get back into it.”
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Likely destination(s): He’s actually joint-favourite to succeed Roy Hodgson with England currently, but a return to Swansea has been mooted should health issues get the better of current incumbent Francesco Guidolin.
3. David Moyes
The Scot hasn’t had the best of times since leaving Everton in summer 2013.
Widely scapegoated for Manchester United’s poor form in the aftermath of the Alex Ferguson era, Moyes was relieved of his duties at Old Trafford just 10 months after being appointed.
A Spanish adventure then beckoned at Real Sociedad, with goals of avoiding relegation in 2014/15 and then pushing on. Objective No.1 was completed, but just two wins in the first 11 games of this season meant Moyes was sacked once again.
The 52-year-old ex-Preston boss was in no rush to get back down to business around Christmas, but will have his eyes on working again soon. “I turned down a number of job opportunities (during his time at Real Sociedad),” he revealed. “I'm really enjoying having a bit of time off just now. But if the right opportunity comes along and I think it's an exciting one I'm ready to go."
Likely destination(s): Aston Villa have been mentioned, but it’s unlikely he’ll fancy starting off back in the Championship. Then there’s his old playing club Celtic, where Ronny Deila has never really convinced. Moyes feels like a replacement for the first sacking of next season – which wouldn’t be ideal, with none of his own summer preparation.
4. Jose Mourinho
After a familiarly successful first season back at Chelsea, Mourinho’s spell seemed to wear off. Nine defeats in Chelsea’s first 16 games of 2015/16 shocked fans everywhere as the title holders crumbled astonishingly.
Fan showings of solidarity weren’t enough to spare him the fabled Abramovich axe (whatever the statement said), and he left just seven months after their title win.
An amusing appearance on the Clare Balding Show, albeit before his removal, has been one of few public appearances by the Special One in recent times. Since leaving Stamford Bridge, the Portuguese has turned down offers while he waits for the right one.
"I was lucky enough to have not just options – to have good options – but I made the decision to wait,” he revealed earlier this month. “The reality is that I want to work. Normally in July a new pre-season starts, and I want to be there.”
Likely destination(s): Pep and Jose, reunited in Manchester? It’s what the narrative calls for.
5. Garry Monk
Eyebrows were raised when ex-player Monk was appointed Swansea manager in May 2014, despite more than 250 games for the Welsh side as they rose from League Two to England’s top tier.
But critics were silenced the following season, however, when Swansea finished in a best-ever 8th position while maintaining their attractive style. But good form eluded them the season after, sending Monk on his way.
Monk hasn't plastered himself into every talk show going since, but wishes to continue his career soon. “I want to go back in at the highest level. To go abroad (as a manager) is a brave decision. I would go. I'm open to everything. I'm not closed-minded to anything.”
Likely destination(s): Reports suggest Monk is in the running for the vacant Villa job, one perhaps at the top end of his expectations scale right now. A lower Championship job seems more likely.
6. Steve McClaren
McClaren endured mixed fortunes after his disastrous England reign. Success with FC Twente was followed by sackings from Wolfsburg and Derby in between a resignation at Nottingham Forest, before he finally got the job he’d long been linked with at Newcastle.
Despite Mike Ashley loosening the purse strings to sign the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum (£14.5m), Aleksandar Mitrovic (£13m), Florian Thauvin (£12m) and Chancel Mbemba (£8.5m) in the summer, McClaren won just six of his 28 games in charge of the Magpies.
His dismissal has further damaged an already tattered reputation, following his failure to get Derby to the play-offs last season. He is yet to shed any light on his future.
Likely destination(s): McClaren is renowned as an excellent coach, but it’ll be tough for him to drop back down to a backroom position. Still, top-flight clubs won’t be queuing for his hiring and it might take another move abroad to get what he wants.
7. Tim Sherwood
You couldn’t question Sherwood’s win percentage at Spurs, said the man himself, and so it was that he quickly found himself another job with Villa in February 2015.
Having lulled Villans into a false sense of security after their 2015 FA Cup Final appearance, Villa’s dismal 2015/16 campaign has now resulted in both Sherwood and Remi Garde leaving their positions.
The former midfielder has since been mixing it in punditry, but a return to management is what he wants: Sherwood has previously explained how he “perversely” enjoys the various pressures, but is thought to have already turned down Blackburn.
Likely destination(s): Somewhere in the Championship, or perhaps League One if he’s willing to start afresh away from the limelight. Nottingham Forest might be on the hunt for a permanent solution if they don’t think caretaker boss Paul Williams is the answer. In the third tier, promotion-chasers Walsall and Barnsley are on the lookout for full-time solutions.
8. Roberto Di Matteo
After being whisked through the ranks at MK Dons, West Brom, and then spectacularly winning the FA Cup and Champions League with Chelsea, the Italian was fired just eight months later.
Following a two-year breather he joined Schalke, but that ended in misery when he quit seven months in, citing dissatisfaction with the club’s hierarchy.
While he has remained tight-lipped on his plans, Di Matteo has those two big trinkets on his CV, plus Championship promotion with West Brom to his name and a third-placed League One finish with MK Dons.
Likely destination(s): The Premier League seems ambitious given that he was sacked in the last two seasons he started as a top-flight boss (with West Brom, then Chelsea). Foreign reports suggest he could be heading to Turkey with Trabzonspor.
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