5 Ligue 1 Managers Who Could Be Successful in Foreign Leagues

Nicholas McGeeContributor IFebruary 20, 2014

5 Ligue 1 Managers Who Could Be Successful in Foreign Leagues

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    It is no rarity for French managers to be successful in foreign leagues.

    The clearest example is that of Arsene Wenger, who is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League after 18 years with Arsenal.

    Gerard Houllier won a great deal of silverware in his time with Liverpool, while more recently Rudi Garcia has got his career with Roma off to an excellent start.

    And there is no shortage of managerial talent among current Ligue 1 bosses, with plenty of managers compiling resumes that could easily earn them a high-profile job in another European league.

    Here I take a look at five candidates who could be successful away from Ligue 1.

Remi Garde

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    "Inconsistent" would probably be the best word to describe Remi Garde's first two-and-a-half seasons at Lyon.

    Garde's first term at the Stade de Gerland ended in disappointment as they missed out on the Champions League, although Lyon did win the Coupe de la Ligue under his stewardship.

    A third-place finish and a return to the Champions League was secured last season, but Les Gones could not advance past the final play-off round.

    The failure to reach the group stages of the Champions League has so far been the low point of this campaign, which has seen Lyon bounce back after a dismal start and seal a return to the Coupe de la Ligue final.

    Garde has seen a number of key players leave during his tenure, with the likes of Lisandro Lopez, Michel Bastos and Dejan Lovren all heading through the exit door.

    Those departures and lack of spending has meant that Garde has had to build a side around players that have come almost predominantly from Lyon's impressive youth academy.

    Fortunately those players have performed well this season, helping keep Lyon in the hunt for a place in next season's Champions League.

    Garde has been tipped as a potential successor to Arsene Wenger, and given his early achievements with a large group of young players, it is a comparison that seems to have some credence.

     

Laurent Blanc

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc may have been blessed with the best squad in Ligue 1, but his achievements this season have been mightily impressive.

    The defending champions have so far successfully held off the challenge of Monaco, secured a place in the Coupe de la Ligue final and effectively sealed their spot in the last eight of the Champions League with a 4-0 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of the last 16.

    Blanc already had considerable pedigree before taking over at PSG, winning the double at Bordeaux in 2009 before taking over as France boss in 2010.

    PSG's performances this season have only furthered the reputation of the man known as "Le President," however, with Blanc only on a two-year contract, it remains to be seen how long the 48-year-old will be at the Parc des Princes.

    Still, should Blanc leave PSG in the near future, he can expect no shortage of offers from other European clubs.

Christophe Galtier

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    David Vincent/Associated Press

    Undoubtedly one of the most promising coaches in Ligue 1, the turnaround Christophe Galtier has inspired has been nothing short of superb.

    Since taking over in December 2009, Galtier has transformed Saint-Etienne from sleeping giants fighting against relegation to a side that regularly contends for places in European competition.

    Saint-Etienne won the Coupe de la Ligue last season and, despite losing star talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the summer, Les Verts look to have improved and are in the mix for a place in next season's Champions League.

    With 13 games to go, Saint-Etienne are only three points adrift of Lille, who occupy the third and final Champions League spot.

    Saint-Etienne will understandably want Galtier to continue should the club finish in the top three, but no one would blame the 47-year-old if he was to accept an offer for a bigger position elsewhere.

Antoine Kombouare

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    Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

    Okay, so Antoine Kombouare is not currently a Ligue 1 manager, but if Lens continue in the same vein of form they have displayed this season, then the former PSG boss will soon be back in the French top flight.

    Kombouare was cruelly sacked by PSG in December 2011 with the club top of the table in the same year that he had led them to the Coupe de France final.

    However, after a stint in Saudi Arabia with Al-Hilal, Kombouare is reinvigorating a side that has long been mired in the doldrums.

    Lens have spent the last two seasons in the second tier following relegation in 2011 but finally appear set for a return to Ligue 1 under the guidance of Kombouare.

    The Stade Felix Bollaert club are four points below Ligue 2 leaders Metz and occupy the final promotion spot.

    Kombouare will likely stay in northern France should Lens win promotion back to the top flight. Still, there can be no doubt that he has the credentials to manage at a higher level.

Rene Girard

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    A surprise title winner with Montpellier and now enjoying an excellent season with Lille, Rene Girard is a manager adept at getting the best out of his players.

    The 59-year-old has already been linked with a move abroad in his career, although reports of supposed interest from Newcastle United at the end of last season proved to be little more than speculation.

    Instead Girard took over from Rudi Garcia at the Stade Pierre Mauroy and has a Lille team bereft of top-quality talent in the running for a place in the top three.

    Girard's legacy has already been cemented by Montpellier's stunning title win in 2011-12, but his standing in the French game will only grow if he guides Lille back to Europe's premier club competition.

    The former Strasbourg boss is hardly a household name outside of France, however, if European clubs are looking for a manager adept at working on a budget, then Girard would be a fine choice.