10 Managers Unlikely to Remain in the Same Job This Time Next Season
Football management is a career that some may rightly deem one of the most undesirable in the sport, over the years becoming a cauldron of pressure increasingly influenced by fans, club owners and the media.
As spectators, we revel in the successes of a tactician, with Diego Simeone a most prevalent example of how a tactician can earn the appreciation of the masses with their knowledge of the game.
However, it's also a sad truth that those mighty falls from grace garner massive attention in the daily news cycle, with each and every minute of a manager's career critiqued with a fine comb of analysis.
As we near the climax of the 2013-14 campaign, we take a look at some of those managers unlikely to still find themselves in their current position 12 months from now, be it due to their failings, interest from other outfits or other influencing factors.
1. Claudio Ranieri, Monaco
Despite Monaco's success in taking Paris Saint-Germain into Ligue 1 title contention this season, the money-fuelled French franchise could see a change in helmsman this summer.
The official Ligue 1 website (h/t Goal.com's Matthew Rogerson) this week reported that the former Chelsea boss is set for talks with club officials, and Ranieri has commented on the rumours claiming that he will leave his current post:
I think that this week there will be a meeting. Now that we've stitched up second place, things should move more quickly.
The more time that passes, the surer I become of one thing. But I'm keeping that thing to myself for now. The only thing that's for sure is that I will be coach next season. Our plan is in place.
While the 62-year-old remains confident in where his future lies, any failure to move on from the second place that his side have attained this term may be seen as failure by the Monaco board.
The hundreds of millions of pounds invested in transfer fees alone over recent years mean that the French Riviera giants aren't willing to settle for second best in the long run.
As such, should the rumours regarding Ranieri's self-imposed exit be false, he may instead have a dismissal thrust upon him before the 2014-15 season is through.
2. Bernd Schuster, Malaga
It's been a topsy-turvy couple of years at Malaga, with the financial situation of the club affecting their ability to retain any status as top-four contenders, of which manager Bernd Schuster is well aware.
The club are set to finish their 2013-14 season in the bottom half of La Liga, having won just six of their league fixtures in 2014, rounding off a disappointing term under the German's command.
Per Inside Spanish Football, Schuster recently noted that his future at the club could rest on a clause in his contract, which states that a finish of 10th or higher is required for his deal to be renewed:
It depends on our position in La Liga, if it’s automatically renewed. We have to finish 10th or higher.
It’s not a matter of whether I deserve to or not. We have to take account of everything at the end of the season, we have to analyse perfectly how the season has gone, how we've done things. If it were that simple, there wouldn't be an issue, but we have this clause there and we’ll have to see what happens. Our work has to be evaluated and I'm not just here to be a pretty face.
Inside Spanish Football also report that former Real Betis manager Pepe Mel, currently at the helm of West Brom, has been contacted about the role, which may well become vacant this summer.
Even if Malaga were to obtain a finish of 10th or higher, it wouldn't instantly eradicate the doubts that have arisen over the course of the past nine months, meaning next season will still be a slippery slope that he'll find it hard to contend with.
3. Francesco Guidolin, Udinese
Like Malaga, Udinese are a club whose season has been a miserable one when compared with the campaigns of years gone by and could see them finish in Serie A's bottom half for the first time since 2010.
Francesco Guidolin will undoubtedly be thanked for all that he's done in moulding the team since being appointed as manager four years ago, but a plummet to their current position of 13th may not be deemed acceptable.
Following three terms in which the Bianconeri have consecutively finished among the top five, it's a sorry twist on Guidolin's project, but the Italian has refused to comment on what his future holds, per Football Italia:
We only need two more points to average 60 points over the last three seasons. For a club like Udinese that is very important.
Regrets? It would be pointless to have any; we deserve to be where we are in the table. As far as my future goes, I’m not discussing it. You will know everything at the end of the season.
It would be an enamouring show of faith for the Udine side to repay their leader with a grant of extra time in which to turn things around, but Udinese's is a problem which won't be solved overnight and could well be out of Guidolin's hands.
4. Felix Magath, Fulham
Fulham have had a disappointing string of management figures lately, and it's unfortunate that Felix Magath will be remembered as the man who guided them back down to the Championship this season.
After things ended poorly in his previous coaching job at Wolfsburg, the 60-year-old—renowned for taking a strict approach in some aspects of his career—hasn't seen his luck improve at Craven Cottage.
Sky Sports recently reported that Fulham would be sticking with Magath in England's second tier next season, but an aged squad is just one of the tactician's concerns:
I was not only brought in until the end of the season with the primary target of keeping Fulham in the Premier League, but to build a team that can compete in the top flight. My commitment and desire to Fulham remains.
During the summer months there most certainly will be many changes within the club. We obviously need to improve and redefine our playing staff, and we have in our academy team some talented, young and hungry players.
I have experienced on many occasions, through working and developing youth team players, that they have the possibility to become top professionals. I am looking forward to the task ahead and to a successful future for all of us.
Bounce-back promotion to the Premier League will be what's expected of Magath, but three wins during his first three months in the role isn't the most encouraging sign that synchronisation is being developed between him and his players.
The West Londoners have begun to show some promise of improvement in their end-of-season run-in, but Magath will have a modest budget in attempting to get out of a division he's close to unfamiliar with, and it's a big ask of his credentials.
Former club owner Mohamed Al-Fayed believes his successor, Shahid Khan, was foolish in allowing the Michael Jackson statue at Craven Cottage to be removed, per BBC Sport, and who's to say if there's any truth in the superstition?
5. Mirko Slomka, Hamburg
Mirko Slomka is another manager still settling into his current surroundings, but the pressure resting on his shoulders is already a heavy cross to bear, which could well prove crushing in the year to come.
It's only been three months since the ex-Hannover boss took over from Bert van Marwijk, who was similarly unsuccessful in leading the Dinosaur to any consistency.
Losing eight of his 15 Bundesliga fixtures since arriving at the IMTech Arena, it's another damning turn on Hamburg's recent managerial success, or lack thereof, that Slomka has failed to improve things at the club.
With just one game left in their 2013-14 league calendar, Slomka will be sizing up those opponents he may come up against in his relegation play-off, set to finish 16th or lower in the German top flight, with relegation potentially providing the nail in his coffin.
6. Gerardo Martino, Barcelona
There was so much anticipation surrounding the decision to place Gerardo Martino in the Barcelona hot seat, stepping into the gargantuan shoes left by the then-Bayern Munich-bound Pep Guardiola.
However, those shoes have ultimately proved a little too spacious as far as La Blaugrana will be concerned, with the club needing to win both their remaining two league fixtures if they're to have a chance at salvaging any silverware.
Martino is at least humble in his failings, however, quoted by Goal.com's Ryan Benson as recently voicing his admission in not living up to the standards expected at the Camp Nou:
It is not the desired end, is not a good season from a personal point of view, obviously neither for Barcelona, because it isn't what they are used to. It has been a difficult season, with many problems off the pitch. We have tried to get over them with football and we were alive [in the title race], until today.
It [a poor season] wasn't what we expected. There was the chance of not reaching the goals, but not due to our own mistakes. Even less after the two previous games in which we had to make comebacks.
Sometimes the chances are asked when one believes he deserves to reclaim them. And sometimes one feels that his job wasn't good enough and is not necessary to ask for a new chance, because he doesn't deserve it.
The Argentine strategist has failed to squeeze the most out of €57.1 million man Neymar, and he was unfortunate in seeing Lionel Messi injured for so much of his maiden season at the club.
Those excuses will only run so far, however, and it would seem to be a matter of "when" and not "if" the Catalan giants usher in a new helmsman.
7. Clarence Seedorf, Milan
Italian football can often prove to be one of the most precarious paths for any European-based manager to tread, and Clarence Seedorf is learning of the exact impact that politics can have in Serie A.
For despite the Rossoneri's resurgent form of late, which has seen them claim six wins in their last seven outings under Seedorf, club CEO Adriano Galliani is quoted by Football Italia as still reserving his judgement on the former player's San Siro future:
Now we are very focused on the end of the campaign. As Seedorf said yesterday, he has two years on his contract. I want to compliment Juventus on their third consecutive Scudetto, however, I keep hearing people say all three were dominated by the Bianconeri.
I’d like to remind people that two years ago Milan were top of the table until April, so it was hardly dominated by Juventus.
Clearly looking for an even greater return of his investment, Galliani's influence on the managerial appointments of Milan is great.
Milan's fall from Serie A title contenders to mid-table hopefuls in the space of two years has led to many on-pitch problems, and former Milan star Marco van Basten is quoted by Sky Italy (h/t Mark Doyle of Goal.com) as saying a more seasoned mind is needed:
The Rossoneri need a more experienced coach. Donadoni, for example, is perfect because he has been training for 15 years.
Milan need experience, but there's also a coach of great talent like [Primavera coach Pippo] Inzaghi. If they decide to give him the bench, he would need the necessary time.
Seedorf has obstacles emerging in front of him from both on the pitch and off of it, and it seems likely that the Dutch icon won't be Milan's only managerial change of 2014, following the sacking of Massimiliano Allegri.
8. Tim Sherwood, Tottenham Hotspur
In the first senior management role of his career, Tim Sherwood has strived to give Tottenham some semblance of a stable outfit, aimed at piecing together the transfer jigsaw that materialised last summer.
With a flood of new names on the teamsheet, previous manager Andre Villas-Boas struggled in that regard, and Sherwood has come upon his own difficulties chasing the same target.
At times, it's seemed like the former Spurs player may have what's required to lead the club against their fellow top-four competitors, but ultimately, it's foreseeable that chairman Daniel Levy will seek to lure in a bigger name.
According to the Telegraph's Gerry Cox, Ajax's Frank de Boer and Mauricio Pochettino of Southampton are the top priorities on Tottenham's list of potential replacements, with Sherwood likely to be shown the door come the end of this campaign.
9. Frank De Boer, Ajax
Of course, to take over the management position at White Hart Lane, Frank de Boer would have to leave his current setting in Amsterdam.
I have never talked with Inter Milan, but I prefer the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga. Italian football is very much in decline. Juventus did not play badly but they often expect that the two forwards need to create something. It's not my football.
I would not go to Barcelona. It is very difficult to be a coach there. What can you teach players like Messi and Iniesta? Probably they need a manager rather than a coach, but I'm a coach rather than a manager.
Tottenham talked informally with Ajax of my contract. I think they are quite happy with Tim Sherwood, but it is normal that they take information about a possible successor, as did Liverpool in the past.
That time, I said I wanted to stay at Ajax. I'm very happy here. But if it came from a club with an interesting perspective and a good team, I would consider the proposal. I want to understand what contribution I can give.
With those comments, it would seem De Boer's future as manager of the Godenzonen isn't cemented, and in Tottenham the Dutchman could well have the promising project he so desperately requires.
A club on the cusp of greater things, should they find the right mind to lead them; De Boer has a bounty of options after winning this season's Eredivisie title, and Spurs would appear to tick plenty of his boxes.
10. Dmitri Gunko, Spartak Moscow
Having been handed the job on an interim basis in mid-March, Dmitri Gunko took on a pile of pressure in accepting Spartak Moscow's permanent managerial position just a fortnight later.
The capital giants are sixth in the Russian top flight with just a couple of fixtures left in their 2013-14 campaign, and the misfortunes that were occurring prior to Gunko's appointment to the role haven't stopped in its wake.
Winning just one of their last 10 matches across all competitions, Spartak may already be regretting the decision to put their faith in the club's former youth coach, deviating from their regular pattern of placing higher-profile names in the hot seat.
Considering Gunko was handed the reins so close to the end of the season, it's likely he'll get his chance at rebuilding the squad before giving it another crack next term, but a serious lack of first-team management experience means he's probably bitten off more than he can chew.