What Out Of Work Managers Like Potter, Nagelsmann and Conte Could Offer Your Club

Luis Enrique and Brendan Rodgers are also among those seeking a new post
16:00, 05 Apr 2023

As the season reaches a frenetic final run-in and teams reckon with their ultimate fate, it is peak time for a stick-or-twist decision. In boardrooms across Europe, chairmen are deciding who should sit in the dugout for this crucial period. 

Chelsea, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur have all pulled the trigger in the Premier League. Further afield, Bayern Munich are the biggest name to drop the hammer, as they quickly appointed Thomas Tuchel to oversee the championship rounds of their Bundesliga title fight.


Naturally, this means a number of high profile managers are now available, while only Bayern have appointed a successor. The Sportsman have decided to take a look at some top coaches who have recently become unemployed, and what they could offer at a new club. Longer-term free agents like Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane were not considered for this piece. We have also chosen not to include managers where there is speculation about a move. The likes of Carlo Ancelotti remain employed for now so they’re out of the running here.

Luis Enrique

Reportedly high on Chelsea’s shopping list, the man who took Spain to the 2022 World Cup could be making a swift return to management. His Twitch streams in Qatar showed off his credentials as a master tactician, while doing little to endear him to the Spanish FA.

The man who coached Barcelona to their last Champions League win in 2015, Enrique is a more direct coach than is typical of Camp Nou. While no one would mistake him for Sean Dyche, the 52-year-old’s primary concern is getting the ball to a potent front three as quickly as possible. He usually accomplishes this in a 4-3-3 but he has been known to go on the attack in a 3-4-3 against sides he feels he can dominate. 

An attack-minded manager who led Barca to their most successful post-Pep Guardiola era, you can see why Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital are enchanted. 

Graham Potter

From Chelsea’s possible next candidate to the man who he is likely to replace. English managers rarely get a crack at managing one of the Premier League’s traditional “big six” and the 47-year-old’s failure is unlikely to change that. 

Potter’s once-promising career is far from over, however. There were mitigating circumstances at Chelsea, even if he did look out of his depth at Stamford Bridge. Co-owner Boehly’s decision to get rid of Tuchel was largely unpopular with the fanbase. A wild spending spree exceeding half a billion left Potter with too many players, few of which were recommended by him. 

Ultimately, this was too much of a step-up from Brighton & Hove Albion. A holistically run club with a clear identity and an executive team well-versed in catering to it, the Seagulls are practically the anti-Chelsea. Potter’s considered manner was ill-suited to a disorganised group of A-listers. A club more closely aligned to Brighton’s smart ethos would benefit from Potter’s flexible, attacking approach.


Julian Nagelsmann

The hipster’s choice. Nagelsmann going to Bayern was like when that hardcore punk band you’ve been following since they had a set shut down by the police at your local pub gets signed to a major label. Something about seeing the 35-year-old in Munich seemed to cheapen him, while the Bayern hierarchy were unhappy that too much of his old edge still remained. 

That uneasy union is finished now, and Nagelsmann’s CV is one Bundesliga better off. A great option for a team looking to rebuild, Nagelsmann will work best with patience and a remit to mould the team in his image. He was never likely to get that at Bayern, and Chelsea might be too chaotic to give him that either, but somewhere like Tottenham Hotspur fits him like a glove. 

Spurs need to finally move on from the Pochettino era and establish something new. At the age of the 35, Nagelsmann could be the architect of this. His style of play is also pleasing enough to bring fans back on board after the more pragmatic fare of Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte.

Brendan Rodgers

Were it not for an impossible dream under one Claudio Ranieri, Rodgers would be comfortably the best Leicester manager in decades. The Northern Irishman steered the Foxes into Europe on multiple occasions and lifted the FA Cup and Community Shield along the way. After floundering in the post-Premier League title years, Leicester finally looked like building on that success.

It has all come apart at the seams now, with relegation a very real possibility. Rodgers was understandably, if reluctantly, let go. But that doesn’t erase his fine work thus far, nor the fact he took Liverpool closer to a title than any manager but Jurgen Klopp has managed in 30 years.

There was a time that his name would have been mentioned among the candidates for Chelsea and Spurs. He is probably swimming in shallower waters now, but any team outside the big six in the Premier League would be lucky to have him.


Antonio Conte

After a successful but explosive stint at Chelsea, and the same again at Spurs but with much shorter lasting success, people know what they’re getting from Antonio Conte. A man who left Inter Milan having just won Serie A with them because they wouldn’t back his proposed transfers. He is uncompromising to say the least.

A trophy specialist, the fact he didn’t lift any silverware at Tottenham may raise a few alarm bells. The fact he caused morale to implode due to the way he left the club will only make the sirens louder.  Conte is an elite coach but the circle of clubs willing to risk destroying the club for the sake of some brief on-pitch success is an ever-decreasing one.

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