Liverpool FC: 5 Reasons Reds Should Not Appoint Roberto Martinez as Next Manager
And the press are having a field day with all the rumors and speculation as to who exactly will be the Reds’ next manager.
One of the names heavily linked with the Anfield vacancy, and who has been given permission by his club to talk to Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group, is Roberto Martinez, currently of Wigan Athletic.
Much has been made of Martinez’s attributes: His relative youth, penchant for attractive football and all-round affable personality.
What of the downsides?
Here are five reasons Liverpool should not appoint Roberto Martinez as their next manager—and feel free to have your say in the comments below.
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Martinez’s most immediate strength is also one of his most glaring weaknesses.
Aged just 38 (although he will be 39 by the time the next season starts), he is only six years older than Anfield legend Steven Gerrard, and indeed only four years Jamie Carragher’s senior.
With a heavy emphasis placed on youth development by the club’s owners, perhaps the idea is to lay down the ideal foundations for a forward-looking future with promising young talents.
But just how well Martinez will be able to manage the stars in the Anfield dressing room is up for debate.
Inexperience at Top Level
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There is also the consideration that Martinez is currently manager of Wigan Athletic.
A look through his footballing CV sees that, as a player, the teams he made the most appearances for were Wigan and Swansea, both teams that have always been far from the European big time.
Incidentally, his only managerial stints have been at the same two clubs, where he has impressed onlookers, but only in stadiums and contexts far from where Liverpool aspire to be.
His finest personal achievement as a manager has been winning the League Manager’s Association Manager of the Year award for the English League One while at Swansea.
And at Wigan, he has drawn praise for keeping the Latics in the top flight for consecutive seasons.
Hardly the kind of experience that a top-four-chasing and silverware-expectant Liverpool should consider.
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And then comes the matter of results.
With an enterprising and at times exhilarating playing style, Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool failed to obtain the results that were needed to secure a return to the Champions League, which was FSG’s minimum requirement at the start of the season.
In their battle to avoid the drop, Wigan turned in a number of impressive victories, including their first ever win at Anfield, but their early season form and the fact that they had been propping up the Premier League table for many months will hardly excite any Liverpool fan.
Martinez might have the advantage of working with a more established playing squad and a considerable transfer warchest at Anfield, but his results at Wigan dictate that he should not be one of the favorites.
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When a manager of Spanish origin makes his name as a footballer in the British lower leagues and then as an up-and-coming manager in the less glamorous ends of the Premier League, you have a hybrid that, really, does a European-aspiring team no good.
Kenny Dalglish, with his legendary feats in a Red shirt conquering British history, turned on the style with a host of ultimately failed signings based on a philosophy centered on promising English youth. It was deemed insufficient.
So where does Martinez, who would lose the battle for the same British youngsters to other British managers like Swansea’s Brendan Rodgers and Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp, fit into the British puzzle?
And how would Martinez, who has signed players from little-known clubs around Europe on bargain deals, attract the biggest names from the continent when he competes with Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini, Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger?
The Liverpool Context
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The final nail in the unfortunate coffin should be that Liverpool, in their current state, simply cannot afford to appoint someone like Martinez.
Sure, he might represent everything that FSG are looking for in a Liverpool manager.
But the immediate context is that success is desperately needed.
Success in the form of a return to the Champions League, whose revenues can only ensure Liverpool’s return to their erstwhile status as a top European club.
Dalglish’s failed year of transition proved that, while a cup win is significant, returning to the highest echelons of European club football is of utmost importance to Anfield.
A manager who has made his name fighting relegation battles and signing bargain players is not the type Liverpool should be looking at.
Rather, given Liverpool’s worrying decline, FSG should consider someone who can come in and attract players willing to play for him, to take them back to the upper levels of the Premier League.
Roberto Martinez is not, and should not be, that man. Not yet.
What are your thoughts on Martinez’s links to the Liverpool job? Let us know in the comments below.
If you liked this article, you might also be interested in 6 Reds Who Must Leave Anfield This Summer. Please also check out my blog, The Red Armchair, for more Liverpool opinions and match reactions, and stay tuned for extensive coverage on this summer’s European Championships on my Bleacher Report writer’s profile.