World Football

World Football Transfers: The 13 Shrewdest Owners and Club Managers

Vince SapienzaCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2011

World Football Transfers: The 13 Shrewdest Owners and Club Managers

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    MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 26:  Head coach of Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho answers a question during a press conference at Valdebebas training ground ahead of their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match against Barcelona on April 26, 2011 in Madrid, S
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    In the world of football, as my Europeans fans would call it, fans come across owners and managers who give the media the cold shoulder. There are many managers and owners who are adamant about keeping information to themselves, and don't share much with the public. Then, there are some managers who don't care as much about privacy.

    At the end of the day, it's the owners and management making the shrewd decisions and landing in the headlines. They're some of the most notable figures in the world of football. They receive the most attention during transfer windows, when major signings and transactions are what make the headlines.

    It's always interesting to see managers say "this player isn't for sale, not at any price", but then, right before the window closes, a deal somehow gets done.

    It's always fun watching owners and managers try to compete during the transfer window.

13. Leo Beenhakker

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    DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Leo Beenhakker, the coach of Poland looks on prior to the international friendly match between the Republic of Ireland and Poland at Croke Park on November 19, 2008 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    The former Dutch football manager, now the technical director at Feyenoord, was one of the shrewdest managers in the history of the game. 

    Beenhakker just has a shrewd look about him, and it's no surprise that he earned the reputation he did.

    In recent years, Beenhakker managed Poland, leading the team to qualify for their first ever European Cup. If played for one of his teams, I'd certainly be motivated, just to avoid a look like he's giving in the picture above.

12. Roberto Mancini

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Roberto Mancini smiles after his Manchester City team won the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Final match between Manchester City and Stoke City at Wembley Stadium on May 14, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Image
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Now, I put Roberto Mancini on this list by association. Mancini's freewheeling attitude and the deep pockets of his team's owner make him a shrewd buyer, as he has the means to outbid anyone he wants for players during transfer windows.

    His owners group, led by Sheik Mansour, give Mancini the freedom to get almost any players he wants to add to the squad twice a year.

    Mancini puts on a happy-go-lucky face, but it's easy to see he doesn't have to put too much thought into his transfer moves.

11. Guus Hiddink

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30:  Chelsea Manager Guus Hiddink lifts the trophy after the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Final match between Chelsea and Everton at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Guus Hiddink, first things first, what a name. The Turkey National team manager is a cool customer in front of the camera, but when deals need to be made and tactics need to be drawn up, call the Guus. 

    He led Chelsea to the F.A. Cup in 2009 and was able to lead Russia to a very respectable run in Euro 2008. An experienced manager, Hiddink knows what it takes to win and knows what kind of players are necessary in a winning side. He has won six Dutch titles and a UEFA Champions League title in his torrid career as manager.

10. Roman Abramovich

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09:  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge on May 9, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    From the Guus to the man who sacked Guus, Roman Abramovich. Now I will be one of the first to say, Abramovich did not give Guus his due when he was head man for Chelsea, but Abramovich wants titles and the FA Cup just wasn't enough for him. 

    A main reason why Guus got the Russian job, close was just not close enough for Abramovich. A cold-blooded owner, he knows what the fans at Stamford Bridge want, and that is titles. Just ask Carlo Ancelotti.

9. Rafa Benitez

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 20:  Liverpool manager Rafael Benetiz smiles as he faces the press at the press conference ahead of their UEFA Champions league match against Barcelona tomorrow night, at the Nou Camp Stadium on February 20, 2007 in Barcelona,
    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    The currently unemployed Rafa is waiting by the phone for a team to say, "come on over". Once voted football's Manager of the Year,  the former UEFA Champions League winner and storied Liverpool frontman was once dynamo, signing major players and putting up serious results.

    After faltering in his last few years with Liverpool, he tried his luck with Italian giants Inter Milan. That short-lived stint cost him his job, and has been a main reason why no one has come calling.

8. Kenny Dalglish

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish applauds the home fans following the final whistle during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on May 15, 2011 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    The current Liverpool boss has been making quite a splash with his new club, making some key signings already in the summer transfer window. He has definitely been the busiest, but looks to have already taken a huge step by replacing Fernando Torres with Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. 

    Dalglish will without a doubt continue to make cold, businesslike decisions for Liverpool, and do whatever he needs to do in order to bring Anfield some hardware. 

7. Josep Guardiola

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Josep Guardiola manager of FC Barcelona lifts the trophy after victory in the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Maso
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Josep Guardiola, once a player, now the manager for mighty Barcelona, is a strategic tactician who loves the game. Many believe that he is lucky with the players that he comes across or is able to afford. 

    However, his shrewd, businesslike approach (the man wears a suit to every game) makes him one of the most successful managers in all of football. It also doesn't hurt to have Lionel Messi on the team, I guess.

6. Malcolm Glazer

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Owner Malcolm Glazer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stands on the sideline during the game with the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2006 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 27-13 to win the
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Let me just say Mr. Glazer, that is a tremendous beard, and brings the word shrewd to a whole new level. The owner of NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and EPL team Manchester United, Glazer has some cash.

    This transfer window he has not been shy about spending some money, and most notably he appears to be just days away from snagging midfielder Ashley Young from Aston Villa. A businessman who knows what he wants and what his team needs, Glazer is a checkbook machine. 

5. Massimo Moratti

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    ROME, ITALY - MAY 29:  FC Internazionale Milano President Massimo Moratti celebrates after victory in the Tim Cup final during the Tim Cup final between FC Internazionale Milano and US Citta di Palermo at Olimpico Stadium on May 29, 2011 in Rome, Italy.
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Internazionale owner Massimo Moratti is a shrewd operator to say the least. A man who is not shy from the media and/or public, Moratti speaks his mind with complete confidence, regardless of consequence. 

    Internazionale will be spending the summer searching for their third manager in under a year, but Moratti isn't bothered at all, and is ready to spend or deal players himself if necessary. 

4. Harry Redknapp

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    HERNING, DENMARK - JUNE 12:  Harry Redknapp manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group B match between England and Spain at the Herning Stadium on June 12, 2011 in Herning, Denmark.  (Photo by Michael Steele
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    The Tottenham Hotspur chief is anything but average. Redknapp speaks more about players who won't be leaving than the ones that might be out the door (i.e. Luka Modric). A very charismatic manager, Redknapp is considered a media dreamboat. 

    His tactical mind help Tottenham contend with the top four clips in England even without the superstar names that load teams like Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, and Arsenal. Redknapp is a terrific manager who knows what it takes to win, but needs certain pieces in order to make that dream a reality. 

3. Sir Alex Ferguson

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Sir Alex Ferguson manager of Manchester United shows his dejection after the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Gr
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    When it comes to Sir Alex Ferguson,  there isn't much to say that most of you don't already know.

    Ferguson was knighted by the Queen herself, and I think that goes to show what kind of person he is. Ferguson is a legendary manager, and a ruthless bidding machine when when the transfer window rolls around.

    A consistent competitor for every title in England, Fergie also took the Red Devils all the way to the Champions League Final this past year. They came up short against Barcelona, but Ferguson showed he isn't afraid to shake up his squad to keep things fresh and give his team its best chance to win.

2. Jose Mourinho

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 21: Head Coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid waves to fans after his team beat UD Almeria 8-1  in the La Liga match at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 21, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Jose Mourinho. The man won trophies with Porto and Chelsea, and just swept three major titles in a historic season with Internazionale just a year ago. Mourinho is now hard at work on his Spanish trophy case with Real Madrid, and it shouldn't take to long for the wins to start piling up. 

    Mourinho supposedly doesn't sleep, and lives on the practice fields and in the film room. He's constantly looking for the missing piece to the puzzle, the last foot to add to the club. He's of the shrewdest in the business, but not the number one man.

    Who is it?

1. LeBron James

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    HOLLYWOOD - JULY 12:  Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James arrives at the 2006 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre on July 12, 2006 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
    Vince Bucci/Getty Images

    Okay, okay, now my European friends are probably very angry at how much I'm making light of this story, but hey, he does fit the title. 

    LeBron James is a minority stakeholder in Liverpool FC. Yes, it's true. One of the shrewdest owners, (and athletes) on this planet, James takes the cake. LeBron may have made The Decision, but now he owns a part of Anfield. How happy are the Reds? 

    LeBron does bring success, or at least after this season, he's proven he can get close.

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