Firing Squad: Barcelona's Martino and Spurs' Sherwood Facing Uncertain Summer
Over the past few weeks, we’ve used this space to highlight managers facing uncertain summers at their current clubs.
With so few weeks remaining on the European football calendar, it’s unlikely the roster of managers in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will change much between now and the end of the month, although uncomfortable conversations could be awaiting more than a few of them before the summer.
The next five slides will rank those managers in Europe’s top five leagues who could be cleaning out their offices in a month’s time.
5. Juan Antonio Pizzi, Valencia
Valencia’s Cinderella run in the Europa League ended Thursday with a Stephane M’Bia header as Sevilla progressed to the final on away goals.
The defeat leaves Los Che with only a mid-table position to play for over the three rounds remaining on the Primera Division schedule, and manager Juan Antonio Pizzi’s assignment will be to hold off Rayo Vallecano, Celta Vigo and Levante and nail down eighth place in the standings.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter where Valencia finish. They will likely appoint a new manager ahead of a 2014-15 campaign in which they’ll have no European commitments.
4. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal
Arsenal look a good bet to finish fourth in the Premier League and qualify for next season’s Champions League, and they just might win the FA Cup as well.
Manager Arsene Wenger, who has been with the club since 1996, is out of contract this spring and would love to see it out with a trophy—especially if he chooses to leave the club.
The Frenchman almost certainly won’t be sacked from his Arsenal post. If he departs, it will be of his own volition.
3. Walter Mazzarri, Inter Milan
Inter Milan’s modest winning streak came to an end at home to Napoli last weekend, and in their next two matches, the Nerazzurri’s Europa League fate will be decided.
First up is Sunday’s local derby against AC Milan, who could pull to within three points of fifth-place Inter with a win.
After that, they’ll face Lazio, who could potentially leapfrog Inter in the standings if Milan win on Sunday.
It’s a scenario that doesn’t bode well for manager Walter Mazzarri, especially as Inter had expected to be comfortably among the Champions League spots at this point in the season.
2. Tim Sherwood, Tottenham Hotspur
Thursday’s Daily Mail report that Tottenham Hotspur target Louis van Gaal will shortly be appointed manager of Manchester United means there is even more uncertainty concerning the future of Tim Sherwood.
The current Spurs boss was destined for the sack just a few weeks ago, but a slight uptick in results combined with Van Gaal’s expected move to Old Trafford means he likely won’t get the boot until a successor is in place.
At this point, that man looks to be Frank de Boer, who has said per The Independent that he’d entertain an offer from Spurs.
1. Tata Martino, Barcelona
They’ve long been out of the Champions League; they lost to Real Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey.
Unless Atletico Madrid go off the rails—which is highly unlikely—Barcelona will complete the 2013-14 season without a single piece of silverware.
The Catalan giants have also been criticised for their style over the past few months, and manager Tata Martino will likely pay the price for that in the next few weeks.
Not that he’ll be all that disappointed.
Camp Nou has been a virtual soap opera at times this season, and no doubt Martino will welcome an escape from it.