Football is a brutal sport and managers are usually the fall guys when their team is not performing well. It is the manager’s job to motivate players, to set them up tactically and to control the dressing room and if he does not manage to do so, he will get the boot sooner rather than later. Although firing the manager can have a positive effect on the results, any immediate upturn in form after getting rid of a manager is usually temporary, often followed by a gradual return to the same results as before. Statistics show that under-performing teams eventually do better, with or without sacking a manager, this season plenty of top-tier football managers will be sacked. That is why we want to have a look at some of the best European football managers who currently find themselves out of work.
Maurizio Sarri most recently managed Serie A club Juventus and has been out of work since he secured a ninth straight Serie A title with The Old Lady, his first major trophy in Italian football. The Italian became the oldest manager to win the Serie A at the age of 61 years. In August 2020, after Juventus were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the round of 16 by Lyon, the former Napoli manager was sacked after only one year.
The coach who has managed a staggering 20 Italian football clubs and one Premier League club (Chelsea) has been out of work since departing Turin but has not announced his retirement and will presumably be looking to return to work before long as one of the highest profile football managers currently unemployed. Known for his rigid tactics which have been dubbed ‘Sarriball’, the experienced manager might still want to coach one last club to show that Juventus won the title because of him, not despite him.
Though Massimiliano Allegri was at the helm much longer than Sarri, Juventus was also the last club which he managed, meaning he remains one of the many available football managers. The 53-year-old was appointed as the new head coach of Juventus in 2014 following in the footsteps of Antonio Conte. The former AC Milan manager won five consecutive Serie A titles one year after becoming the first manager in Europe’s top five leagues to win four consecutive doubles.
Allegri has been praised for his tactical intelligence and, with six Serie A titles in a decade (one of them with Milan), he is one of the most sought-after out of work managers in world football. The Italian is allegedly learning English and Allegri has reportedly been seen as a potential successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United. However, the Norwegian doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon suggesting that Allegri may have to wait slightly longer for an opportunity. Will he get his chance in the Premier League this season?
In November 2019, Pochettino was dismissed by Tottenham Hotspur with the club placed 14th in the Premier League table. Though Tottenham reaced, and defeated in, the Champions League final only a couple of months earlier, chairman Daniel Levy cited “extremely disappointing” domestic results as the reason behind the dismissal, meaning the Argentine joined the long list of available football coaches.
The former Southampton boss has indicated that he is ready for a return to football and has outlined two key things he will be looking for in a future club. The Argentine made clear that the first important factor is the fans which are behind every club and the second being the idea and philosophy behind the club. Pochettino still lives in London and would prefer to manage a Premier League club again but is open to offers from abroad too.
Ernesto Valverde was sacked by La Liga club Barcelona in January of 2020 after a 3-2 defeat to Atlético Madrid in the Supercopa de España and was replaced by former Real Betis manager Quique Setién (who also was sacked at the end of the season). Valverde had been in charge of the Catalan club since May of 2017 when he replaced Luis Enrique as the new Barcelona manager.
The one-time Spain international has plenty of experience as a coach, having managed Spanish clubs such as Espanyol, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia and Greek giants Olympiacos. The hobbyist photographer deserves respect for giving a 16-year-old Ansu Fati his first chance in the first team of Barça and should have no trouble finding a new club in Spain or another club in one of the “big five” European football leagues.