Predicting the Biggest Manager Moves This Summer
World football in the summer is often a chaotic time, with seemingly every player linked in some sort of big-money, ridiculous transfer by the endless rumor mill.
And whilst we will see some big moves by players over the summer window, it's not just players that teams will be looking to try to bring in, with managers too likely to see some action in the speculation pages as they potentially change clubs in the off-season.
They might not be as high-profile as the players, but they can have just as much impact on the seasons that lie ahead for clubs right around the world—and thus they, too, deserve our full attention.
Read on as we break down some of the top rumors this summer regarding potential manager moves and who could end up where by the start of next season.
Arsene Wenger to Be Sacked at Arsenal?
#WengerOut has been a pretty popular topic on Twitter this year, and it's somewhat understandable given the inconsistent performances from the Gunners in 2013.
Yet the reality is that Arsene Wenger—despite the rumors about his potential departure (via The Express)—won't be leaving the Emirates any time in the near future. Especially not now that, after going through the down times, Arsenal are finally starting to show the potential they promised at the start of the season.
The Gunners are inside the top four and on par to make the Champions League next season. They went all the way to the round of 16 in the tournament this year and very nearly beat Bayern Munich in that round also, so there's definite reason to be hopeful in that regard.
They have also seemingly found their attacking system of late, with Olivier Giroud in particular finally settling as the Gunners' main striker. Regardless of who they bring in over the summer transfer window, you can expect that their attack will be better next season than it was this year—which has still seen them chalk up pretty impressive results both in England and in Europe.
For Wenger to leave now, after doing the hard work, would just be crazy. He loves this club and isn't going to leave it unless the board demands him to.
Which, on current successes, seems very unlikely this year.
Prediction: Arsene Wenger stays at Arsenal next season
City to Do the Same with Roberto Mancini?
The same fate that has been rumored for Wenger has also reportedly fallen on Roberto Mancini, who has been touted as a potential firing over the summer.
However, like Wenger, it's hard to see this one happening.
City will likely finish in the top three of the Premier League for their third straight season, and while they have surrendered the title to Manchester United, that hasn't necessarily been the fault of City. United have just been very good since the arrival of Robin van Persie to Old Trafford.
Whilst they do have a poor showing in the Champions League that they must own up to, City officials will know that they were drawn into a very difficult group.
The progression of both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid to the semifinals shows that to be true, and with a healthy bank balance seemingly at his disposal, City will be confident that Mancini can achieve greater success there in 2013.
Plus there's the little matter of the FA Cup, which City will enter firm favorites to win over Wigan Athletic next month—City fans should another title to celebrate about.
This year hasn't been a complete disaster for City, and with a strong squad that could get even stronger over the summer, Mancini is definitely the right man to have in charge.
He is well liked by the City board and by Sheikh Mansour, and he should remain in charge at the Etihad Stadium for at least another season or two—unless he starts winning trophies, and then he may well be there for another decade or two.
Prediction: Roberto Mancini stays at Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini to Part Ways with Malaga?
Ever since it was found out that Malaga have some massive financial problems, manager Manuel Pellegrini was being talked of as a potential summer exit.
That rumor only seemed to gather steam once it was revealed that the 59-year-old himself was due money by the Spanish club. Throw in the prospect of not being able to play Champions League football next season, and it wouldn't be completely out of the equation for Pellegrini to leave, it seems.
The only thing for me is the fact that Pellegrini has built this side, and he has been there to witness their rise over the years. Other than a miracle finish from Borussia Dortmund, Malaga would be in the European semifinals and technically, at least the fourth-best team on the continent—something that it is hard to walk away from all because of some ongoing problems.
Chelsea has been rumored as a potential landing spot for the Malaga manager this summer given his good English and attitude, but I'm not 100 percent sold he leaves Spain.
Pellegrini is set up there, and whilst the money thing is an issue, I think he'll give Malaga one more season to fix it up. If they can't, he may well jump the sinking ship next season and opt for a new managerial post depending on what's available.
Unless they finish in the top three in La Liga next season and clean up some of their money problems (which I can't see happening), I think Pellegrini will leave the club.
I think he'll just give them one more season.
Prediction: Manuel Pellegrini stays at Malaga, leaves in 2014.
Sir Alex Ferguson to Leave United?
When has there been a summer where Sir Alex Ferguson is not being spoken of as a potential retiree?
This year is no different, it seems, with the Manchester United veteran manager again being considered a potential leaver in the summer. Which, given how long he's been at the club and the very strong team he's built around him, would be pretty understandable from Fergie.
However, the thing for me is the note that Ferguson would leave on—speculating that he would leave the Red Devils over the 2013 offseason.
United might have won the league, but they haven't finished in the dominant style that Ferguson would have wanted. They dropped a rivalry game to City, they were knocked out in the FA Cup and Capital One Cup to Chelsea and they didn't even make it past the final 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
It's hard to see Ferguson wanting to leave the club on that note—particularly when he's just started to see the rewards of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie playing together.
You get the feeling that Ferguson will want just one more "good" season (especially in Europe) before he gives it all up. And based on what we've seen this year, I'd say that the veteran manager is still a pretty safe bet to turn up at Old Trafford for the new season next year.
Retirement? I'd say 2014.
Prediction: Sir Alex Ferguson stays at Manchester United, retires in 2014.
Where Will Jupp Heynckes End Up?
After it was announced that Jupp Heynckes was leaving Bayern Munich at the end of the year, and that former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola would be replacing him, it seemed likely that Heynckes would retire—or at least go into a more administrative footballing role.
However, after some comments made by the manager earlier this season, it seems the 67-year-old might not be as ready to hang up the clipboard like we all thought.
"When I think of (former Chancellor of Germany) Konrad Adenauer assuming office at 71, and now our new Pope who is 76, then I think can still do something at 68," Heynckes told Liga Total (h/t ESPN)—seemingly suggesting that he will take on another manager's role in the new year.
So where will he end up? My money is on Schalke.
Interim manager Jens Keller is unlikely to continue at Schalke next season, and having already managed there in the 2003/04 season, Heynckes has good relations with the club.
Their performances in both Europe and Germany this year have shown that Schalke have a good team and could well challenge for domestic and European honors next season—something that having a title-winning manager like Heynckes could definitely help with.
It wouldn't be easy coaching against Bayern Munich, but it's unlikely that the veteran Heynckes will want to change countries. And with his home in Monchengladbach 60 miles from the Veltins-Arena, he wouldn't even necessarily have that far to go to work each morning.
Not compared to England, anyway.
Prediction: Jupp Heynckes signs with Schalke 04 for 2013-14 season.
Jose Mourinho to Leave Madrid? Chelsea?
There are two parts to that rumor, and it's important that we think them both through, starting with Mourinho at Madrid, which has been something of a hot bed this year.
Reports on Wednesday from The Telegraph suggest that Mourinho will definitely leave this summer, and it does make sense for him to go now. Cristiano Ronaldo is playing at the top of his game, Madrid are thriving in the Champions League and they could very well win the double should they triumph there and in the Copa del Rey final against rivals Atletico Madrid.
The system in place at the Bernabeu is very good, and Mourinho's assistants would be more than capable of running the show in the summer transfer window—not that they really need any more players—whilst the club find a replacement.
Assuming that they haven't already done so.
As for the Chelsea rumor, well it does make sense. Benitez will be gone, there's no doubting that, and with the fans growing more and more disillusioned with every passing week, bringing back Mourinho would be a great move by Roman Abramovich to regain some support.
Mourinho will be very well paid (as are most people under Abramovich), and with Chelsea likely to play Champions League football, he certainly won't be missing out on anything on the European front—especially with the incredibly strong squad that Chelsea can offer Mourinho to work with.
This one just seems to "work" this summer, and whilst I'd probably feel more comfortably giving the Mourinho exit another year, it's not completely unthinkable that this would happen now.
After all, there is no time like the present.
Prediction: Jose Mourinho leaves Real Madrid, joins Chelsea in 2013.
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