Clubs such as Chelsea and Tottenham also find themselves in a precarious situation, with reports suggesting that both managers might be on their way out this summer. If this is the case, and Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino do leave, then four huge Premier League clubs will be looking to appoint in the off season.
Of course the usual European names will be thrown around for the top Premier League jobs. Names like Max Allegri, Luis Enrique and Carlo Ancelotti. But what about some of the British managers who have proven themselves in the Premier League, and are right under the noses of these billionaire owners?
In particular, what about Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche?
Two managers who have managed at different levels, with different sized squads, and produced wonders on a shoe string budget (compared to the top six clubs). But why is it that neither manager will be given the opportunity to move up the ladder?
It seems like managers who overachieve in the Premier League with a smaller club are over-looked when an opportunity to manage one of the top six comes around. What more can a manager do then show his worth by doing a fantastic job in one of, if not the toughest leagues in the world?
You could argue their are many reasons for why managers like Howe and Dyche are passed over; such as image, player pulling power, working with big egos, dealing with bigger budgets and higher wage bills etc. Of course these aspects would be completely different in one of the top six clubs, but surely they should at least be given the chance to adapt and learn.
One of the main problems is time. Owners demand instant results (like any other buisness), especially at clubs that are used to success year in year out. With this being the case owners can’t afford to take such risks.
You just have to look at Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace. He was brought into change the style of football at the club, but as results failed to come, the owners panicked, and he was shown the door seven games into the season.
The same can be said about David Moyes when he was appointed Manchester United manager after Sir Alex Ferguson. He seemed to lose the players trust almost immediately, and when results went against the Scot, he found himself being sacked from a dream job that he’d worked so hard to get.
This is also the predicament Arsenal find themselves in. They seemed keen on appointing former captain Mikel Arteta as manager, but have all of a sudden made a U-turn, and are now looking for a more experienced coach to replace Arsene Wenger.
So how about Howe or Dyche? They have Premier League experience, and have succeeded in fulfilling their clubs objectives every season. It must be so frustrating for experienced managers like Dyche to not even get a sniff of an interview for the Arsenal job, but instead see a complete novice in the managerial world become the favourite to land the job.
So if British Premier League managers such as Dyche and Howe do have the experience, why do they not get an opportunity?
It’s not hard to imagine that image plays some part in owner’s decision making. Would Roman Abramovich prefer ‘the Special One’ or ‘the Ginger One’ as Dyche is affectionately known to Burnley fans.
But with image comes pulling power. As a manager of a top six side you have to have the power to attract big name players to come and play for you. The reason managers like Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola get paid so handsomely, is their ability to attract the best players in the world to come and play for them.
While neither Dyche nor Howe, England’s brightest coaches, surely won’t get the chance to interview for Arsenal or Tottenham or Chelsea, at least just yet.
Charles gets the Markle job. Same old names always in the frame. Would have given it to Dyche myself or the Cowley brothers at Lincoln
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) May 18, 2018
However, it seems more possible that if Everton don’t land Marco Silva, then Dyche could and indeed should be in the frame. The Toffees could be the stage (and perhaps even stepping stone) a manager like Dyche needs to take him to the next level in terms of both his own development and public perception.
Up and coming British managers should be judged relative to the club’s at which they operate and surely then we can start to see their achievements as comparable to the elite who hoover up the Premier League’s top jobs.
For many, it would not only be fantastic, but also just rewards, to see Dyche in the dugout at Chelsea next season and Howe prowling the technical area at Tottenham’s new stadium. However, it remains a fantasy, while owners continue to look for quick fixes and big names.
Arsenal are set to announce the appointment of former Paris Saint-Germain manager Unai Emery as their next manager, after interviewing several candidates for their managerial vacancy.
Arsene Wenger stepped down as boss at the end of the season after being at the helm for over 20 years. And the Gunners are now set to unveil the former Sevilla and PSG coach as their new man.
BREAKING: Arsenal to appoint Unai Emery as new manager. Thorough process produced 46yo Spaniard as unanimous choice. Available after leaving #PSG (1 Lg1 title, 4 cups), previously Sevilla (3 EL wins), not fluent English. Announcement + press conference likely later this week #AFC
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) May 21, 2018
That is according to reliable BBC correspondent David Ornstein, who reported as much via Twitter.
#Arsenal: flirted with Mikel Arteta, talked with Patrick Vieira, wanted Joachim Low, wished Thierry Henry, signed Unai Emery
— Hector Hernandez (@SaulGattuso) May 21, 2018
The Real Madrid and Spain captain put rivalry aside in order to pay tribute to the era-defining trio as they leave Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus respectively to start the next stages of their careers before hanging up their boots.
As Ramos steps up his preparation for the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Kiev, he took a moment to send a heartfelt message to the departing stars who have made such an impact on the competition: “You have all made the battle more beautiful and football much bigger.”
This weekend saw the last round of fixtures in both La Liga and Serie A and with that were a number of farewells, the aforementioned trio being the most notable.
All three ended their time at the clubs that made them legends on a high.
As Boban converted the winning spot-kick in the final against West Germany, one sensed that this was a group of players who could stick around for years to come. This could be the team that made the 1990s the defining decade of Yugoslavian football.
Five years later, their team didn’t exist, torn apart by civil war. It was a turbulent introduction to football for the young Šuker. Since signing his first professional contract at Osijek in 1984 he had scored more with every passing season. 18 goals in 1988/89, most scored with his wand of a left foot, convinced Dinamo Zagreb to bring him to the Croatian capital that summer.
days, players | Davor Suker
The prolific forward not only led ️ Croatia to a maiden #WorldCup qualification, at France 1998, but also drove his team-mates on to claim third place at the tournament proper, scoring 6️⃣️goals and earning the @adidas Golden Boot award pic.twitter.com/Lv9c1aS5D8
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) March 24, 2018
Šuker would score 39 goals in two years at the Stadion Maksimir, also making his first appearance for the newly established Croatian national team in December 1990. As disappointing as it may have been to see such a promising Yugoslavia team ripped apart, the players felt a much more deeply-rooted connection with Croatia.
“When I used to play for Yugoslavia it meant nothing,” said Igor Štimac. “It was only sport, nothing else. Now the feeling is incomparable. We were expected to sing the Yugoslavian national anthem but we didn’t want to. Now we can think we are Croatian and we can say we are Croatian. We couldn’t do that before.”
Šuker’s first season in Zagreb was marred by an infamous match against Red Star Belgrade, which barely lasted ten minutes before being abandoned as nationalistic tensions boiled over into violence. This was just a microcosm of what was happening all over Yugoslavia, as war broke out across the nation.
While Šuker was completing a move to Sevilla in 1991, his countrymen were fighting and dying in the Croatian War of Independence 2000 miles away, with the port city of Dubrovnik coming under siege.
“Imagine someone bombing Seville Cathedral. That’s what’s happened in my home,” said Šuker at his unveiling, clearly in no mood to celebrate.
91 goals in five seasons at Sevilla marked Šuker out as one of Europe’s best strikers. He was equally lethal on the international scene, scoring 12 in qualifying for Euro 1996 as the remnants of the 1987 Yugoslavia team started to rebuild their legacy. Just three years after they were granted a UEFA license, Croatia were off to their first major tournament.
Sporting a distinctive red-and-white checked shirt and full of continental flair, they quickly became local favourites in England. They narrowly beat Turkey in their first match before Šuker announced himself to the English public with a brace against Denmark, including that delightful chip over Peter Schmeichel that is still considered one of the great European Championship goals.
Croatia lost 2-1 to Germany in the quarter finals but Šuker scored again and his performances for club and country were enough to make a childhood dream come true as Real Madrid brought him to the Santiago Bernabeu. He fitted in immediately, scoring a career-high 29 goals in his debut season for Los Blancos, which ended with the first trophy of his career as Real won La Liga.
The Champions League followed in 1998, meaning that Šuker headed into that summer’s World Cup with sky high confidence. History has furnished Croatia with the title of underdogs, but they were more like dark horses – unlikely to win the tournament, but likely to challenge in every game and humble a few reputations along the way.
This was a group of players whose lives had been defined by war. Slaven Bilić was never selected for Yugoslavia because his father was a Croatian separatist. Aljoša Asanović’s two best friends had died in the War of Independence. Peter Krpan fought on the front lines, rifle in hand. Now football, and the World Cup, was giving them the chance to re-define themselves in a different light.
Šuker didn’t take long to get into his stride. A deflected strike against Jamaica sealed a 3-1 win for Croatia in their opening game of the tournament before a low finish crept in against Japan to send them through to the knockout stages with a game to spare. Defeat to Argentina proved to be a blessing – it meant that they faced Romania instead of England in the last 16.
Šuker’s retaken first half penalty was enough to send Croatia through to the quarters where they met Germany. The Germans were always among the favourites, but this was a side on the wane, two years away from the Euro 2000 humiliation that instigated a radical overhaul of their entire footballing identity. They were meeting a Croatia team at the peak of their powers.
Christian Wörns’ first half dismissal was punished by identical strikes from Robert Jarni and Goran Vlaović, before some Šuker trickery put the icing on the cake. He lifted the ball over Ulf Kirsten’s head, evaded the challenge of Jörg Heinrich, and then slotted the ball through Andreas Köpke’s legs. It was a moment of imperious class and a fitting way to send Croatia into the semis.
Hosts France stood between them and the final, but Les Bleus had been unconvincing thus far, needing a golden goal and penalties to get to this stage. When Šuker raced onto Asanović’s lofted pass and beat Fabien Barthez, it looked like the dream was on.
Only the most unlikely hero denied them. Lilian Thuram capitalised on slack defending by Boban to level before bending in the winner past Dražen Ladić. Despite Laurent Blanc’s red card, France held on to reach their own World Cup final and Croatia had to settle for the third place play off against the Netherlands.
Šuker’s winning goal against the Dutch won him the Golden Boot and Croatia the bronze medal. With Prosinečki scoring the other goal, Boban nullifying the Dutch midfield, and Štimac defending Croatia’s lead in the second half, the class of 1987 had delivered on their promised potential.
Šuker’s career fizzled out after that, and in 2003 he hung up his boots to pursue a controversial career in politics. By contrast, Croatia were the antithesis of politics. Like the phoenix rising from the flames of Yugoslavia, they gave the rest of the world something else to remember them by.
West Ham goalkeeper Adrián reportedly gave his employers a simple choice before the departure of manager David Moyes – if the manager didn’t go, he would. Moyes left the club earlier this week, after guiding the Hammers to 13th place in the Premier League table.
According to Spanish sports newspaper Estadio Deportivo, the stopper ‘made it clear’ that he would look for a way out of the London Stadium if the Scot stayed in place.
It is no secret that the Spanish keeper became frustrated with his lack of starts this season – especially seeing as first choice Joe Hart made some high-profile errors. However, if this latest report is to be believed, Adrián’s antipathy towards Moyes was even greater than had previously been thought.
The Estadio Deportivo report adds: “With this new scenario, the continuity in the Premier League of San Miguel [i.e. Adrián] can be viable, although Betis wants their team to be Adrián-Pau if Adan finally leaves.”
Explaining the cryptic ‘Adrián-Pau’ reference, the Sport Witness article adds that 23-year-old goalkeeper Pau Lopez is reportedly in the process of joining Real Betis from La Liga rivals Espanyol, so it is possible that they might want to have the two keepers – one up-and-coming, the other more experienced – competing for a starting berth.
Pau’s impressive form this season may mean that, even if Adrián were to rejoin his former club Betis, he may not find it any easier to get game time in Spain than he did at the London Stadium, especially seeing as Betis are currently sixth in La Liga and could even finish in fifth place.
In addition, West Ham are reportedly interested in purchasing a new keeper, so it would seem that – even if Adrián did give the Hammers an ultimatum concerning his future at the club – he was not necessarily in a sufficiently strong position to do so.
In any case, it would not have been the first time he threatened to leave the club – he did so all the way back in November, yet he stayed beyond the January transfer window.
The crafty Argentinian notes that, while Barca are similarly built, Madrid can win games even if they’re playing badly, something typified by their run to the Champions League final despite being seemingly outclassed by most of their opposition.
“Position by position, Madrid have the best players in the world,” Messi said in an interview with TyC Sports. “[Barca] do as well, but Madrid have something that only they have. When they play badly, they still get results. We have to be the far superior side to win.”
The Catalan side made quite the mess of their own European campaign, going out in the quarter final stage courtesy of AS Roma despite claiming a 4-1 advantage in the first leg.
“The Champions League [loss was a mistake],” he lamented. “Given the [4-1] advantage we had before the second leg, we [should have reached] the semi final. It was a huge disappointment.
“[But] it motivates me to see Madrid in the Champions League final again; to see them winning leagues. I want to win the Champions League every year. I want to be a league champion every year — it’s what we all want.”
The forward also touched on the rumours linking him with a Pep Guardiola reunion at Manchester City, claiming that the only way he will play alongside compatriot Sergio Aguero at club level is if the City forward joins Barcelona.
Messi will be hoping to end his ten-year international drought with Argentina in this year’s FIFA World Cup after several disappointments. La Albiceleste won their last piece of silverware in the 2008 Olympics, going home with the gold.
Yet that’s hardly something for Messi to look back on, especially as he’s been to a World Cup final.