The October International break tends to be the time. With seasons well underway, and enough games in the bank to form an early impression of where campaigns are headed, clubs start getting itchy.
Managers are often sent packing – see Watford boss Xisco Munoz this week – and new ones installed before games resume a couple of weeks later.
There may be more sackings to come over the next fortnight, with high profile names Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Nuno Espirito Santo and Mikel Arteta among the most favourites to be replaced in the early stages of the Premier League season. And if top flight bosses weren't already looking over their shoulders, the fact that the below managers are all looking for work will only add to that...
1. Antonio Conte
Potential suitors: Manchester United
Unique on this list in that his previous spell as a manager ended in emphatic success, Conte led Inter to their first Scudetto in 11 years in the 2020/21 season before departing over conflict of interests.
It was merely the latest triumph for the Italian, who has won league titles in Bari, Turin, Chelsea and now Milan. His trusted 3-5-2 formation has proved difficult for opposition teams to combat and he demands relentless focus from his players. While he is about as close as it comes to a guarantee of success these days, he has developed a reputation for extravagant spending and has seldom left a club on good terms.
The way things ended at Inter plays into that myth but, in truth, the 52-year-old was well within his rights to kick up a fuss. On the back of the league winning campaign, Nerrazurri chiefs announced a fire sale of players and vowed to reign in spending, something not discussed with Conte and not a change that was likely to sit well with his win-at-all-costs mantra. A return to the Premier League, at a club with some money to burn, would suit him perfectly.
2. Zinedine Zidane
The man who won it all at Real Madrid as a player, then came and did it all again as a manager. Few coaches have been as successful as Zizou in such a short period of time; the Frenchman only became a senior boss in 2016, yet has two La Liga crowns and a trio of Champions League titles to his name.
A player known for his unparalleled in-game IQ, Zidane has also proved himself an impressive tactician – particularly in big European ties – and a man capable of managing massive egos. A Premier League club with A-list stars on their books could do a lot worse than a man who ensured the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema were kept happy over extended periods.
3. Joachim Low
Potential suitors: Arsenal
Germany’s fortunes may have dipped towards the end of Loew’s 15-year tenure in charge of the relentlessly successful nation, but his CV remains impressive. The former Freiburg player helped Germany to two semi finals and one final before winning the 2014 World Cup in his fourth tournament as boss.
The Nationalmannschaft played some of the most offensive and eye-catching football during this period; built around a core group of youngsters who progressed through the age categories together, including Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels.
Loew was heavily criticised for Germany’s slump in the succeeding years, including their group stage exit at the World Cup in 2018, and was subsequently involved in a high profile spat with Mesut Ozil and the DFB following that abysmal summer. Some claim he is over the hill, but he might relish the chance to end his career on a high note.
4. Frank Lampard
Potential suitors: Tottenham, Newcastle, Norwich
The furore over the Englishman’s sacking by Chelsea in January 2021 was quickly forgotten after the Blues won the Champions League under replacement Thomas Tuchel.
While Lampard had been struggling to get a team of expensive signings to gel before his departure, there remains a feeling at Stamford bridge that he was unfairly given the boot. His solid work the previous campaign showed that he was a manager adept at bringing through young talent (albeit out of necessity given the club’s transfer embargo) and he succeeded in getting Chelsea into Europe in the first place. That was easier said than done and Lampard will be desperate to try his hand at another top club. Whether decision makers and directors of football agree, is another matter entirely.
5. Lucien Favre
Former Dortmund gaffer Favre was heavily linked with the vacant Crystal Palace post over the summer, only to withdraw his interest before Patrick Vieira was given the job. Favre had seemed a decent fit for the Eagles; he is an experienced, thoughtful and disciplined manager – in a similar mould to outgoing Palace boss Roy Hodgson – while offering fans a slightly more front-footed playing style.
Favre is a keen advocate of giving young players a chance, and was a key reason behind the development of Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham in Germany. Both were given opportunities to shine by the Swiss and he could be an excellent fit for a Premier League club with a fertile youth academy. On the flipside, Favre teams can look a little porous defensively and tend to look a little soft against the more physical sides.
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