Every follower of the round leather game would agree that the game is now competitive more than it has ever been, and while the competition in the game would only get tougher, every club would go to any length to sustain their relevance in the class of top football clubs even if they have to hire and fire managers.
Over the years, excretable performances from top football clubs have engendered sack for decent and top managers in the football world. And it’s somehow bizarre that till date, most of them are jobless.
With the 2020/2021 season underway, these managers may remain clubless unless something happens.
Below are the top managers who are currently without a job.
- Massimiliano Allegri (Italy) – Last Club Managed: Juventus (2019)
Given that football could be cruel at times, Max Allegri was relieved of his duties at Juve for perhaps the most ridiculous reason. His inability to play fancy football with the Old Ladies got him axed by the Juve hierarchy.
Upon his arrival at the Bianconerri in 2014, Allegri being an intelligent tactician was able to build effectively on Antonio Conte’s successful tactics and winning mentality.
Unlike Antonio Conte who would usually set up in an abrasive manner, Allegri’s Juve side became slightly less rough and intense in their pressing off the ball.
While their playing style focused on making use of the ball the most, exploring their opponent aerially, and gaining a territorial advantage in order to conserve energy.
Allegri’s five years stay at Juve begat 5 SerieA titles for the Turin giants, 4 Coppa Italia, 2 Super Coppa Italia titles as well as 2 silver medals from the UEFA Champions League having emerged runner-up on two occasions (2015 & 2017).
The former AC Milan boss has been on the lookout for a new club to manage since last year, hoping to land a job with some of the elite clubs in Europe.
- Mauricio Pochettino (Argentina) – Last Club Managed: Tottenham Hotspur (2019)
Pochettino has been turning the page right from his days at Espanyol to when he had the opportunity of managing Southampton up until when he got his last job at Spurs.
The Argentine kick-started his managerial career at Espanyol in 2009, impressing the club with a scintillating performance to ensure the club didn’t relegate into the Spanish Segunda Division.
In spite of that, his contract was terminated on mutual consent by Espanyol in 2012. Two months thereafter, Pochettino landed at St Mary’s Stadium to begin his reign as Southampton boss.
His stint with the Saints was a laudable one. In his first full season in English Football, Southampton while recording their highest points tally since 1992/1993, ended the season as the eighth-placed team which was their highest league position since 2002/2003.
His exploits caught the attention of Tottenham chairman (Daniel Levy) and were snatched from the Saints in 2014 just after a year. He led Spurs to top-three finishes in three of his first four seasons.
As well as leading the North Londoners to the Champions League final for the first time in the club’s history in 2019 which they lost to Liverpool by 2 goals to nothing.
Pochettino’s focus as a manager is to develop young players from the clubs’ youth academies and his willingness to promote them, a very high-pressing attacking style of football and his astute man-management guidance and approach.
These attributes have really made name for the Argentine tactician and it could only get better.
After his sack at Tottenham last November, Pochettino has been linked with top jobs in England and Europe and it’s quite sure that his next job would be the biggest in his career as a manager so far.
- Ernesto Valverde (Spain) – Last Club Managed: Barcelona (2020)
Barcelona’s movement towards the stage of bedlam in the past nine months is connected with the mysterious sacking of Ernesto Valverde.
The former Athletic Bilbao boss was axed by Barcelona having won the league in the two full seasons he spent at Camp Nou, losing only two of the 28 games he managed in the UEFA Champions League, he also won a Copa Del Rey title and lost another final of the competition to Valencia and his Barca side was topping the table as of when he was sacked.
On the premise of these records in just two years, the decision to have him sacked was truly a farcical one.
Valverde was accused of playing “mechanic football” which was in contradiction to the club’s tikitaka style of play. The board and a certain set of Barca fans believed that Valverde’s mechanical style of play couldn’t land the club their most coveted title hunt, the UEFA Champions League.
But the bitter truth these fans and the board failed to accept is that in Valverde’s two-year tenure at the club, Barcelona were consistent league winners and if given time, they would’ve won the Champions League.
He was sacked on January 13, 2020, after losing to Atlético Madrid in the Supercopa de España by 3 goals to 2. He’s since January been resting and definitely would be anticipating another big job.
- Maurizio Sarri (Italy) – Last Club Managed: Juventus (2020)
Sarri might not have played professional football, but his philosophy is a beautiful one, quite intelligent, and plays an attractive, exciting, and attacking-minded brand of football – he’s just been unlucky as a manager.
He’s had a tepid experience as a manager after kick-starting his managerial career quite early than most managers (1990). But when he won promotion to Serie A in 2014 with Empoli and preserving their place in the Italian top-flight league, he was hired by Napoli. And every of his performance since then has been noteworthy.
From a tactical point of view, Sarri has an amazing style of play that focuses on retaining possession, diminutive movement off the ball, and distribution of quick, short passes on the ground.
Other key elements of Sarri’s line-up are the presence of a “regista” who dictates play in front of the back-line, such as Jorginho and overlapping attacking full-backs, in order to provide attacking fluid to his team’s frontline.
This fantabulous trademark won him several individual accolades at Napoli and also made his side the league runners-up in the 2017/2018 season. He spent one year at Chelsea, winning the UEFA Europa League, and returned to Italy in 2019 to replace Max Allegri at Juventus.
He spent one season at Juve too and he went on to win the 2019/2020 Serie A title, becoming the oldest manager to ever win the league.
Nonetheless, the manner at which he won the league at Juve cost him his job; despite having Ronaldo, his Juve side finished by a point above second-placed Inter Milan and recorded the lowest point tally (83 points) since the 2011/2012 season.
- Laurent Blanc (France) – Last Club Managed: Paris Saint Germain (2016)
It’s quite unbelievable that this French World Cup Winner has gone four years without staying on the dugout of any club. Maybe he’s not so respected.
Unlike Sarri, Blanc played professional football for numerous and notable club sides, the biggest of them includes Manchester United, Barcelona, and Inter Milan; no disrespect to Montpellier, Napoli, and Marseille. He’s also a former French international.
His managerial career started on a bright note. At Bordeaux in 2007, Blanc won domestic honors including the 2008/2009 Ligue 1 title. He left Bordeaux in 2010 to replace Raymond Domenech as the French National team manager. He guided Les Bleus to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Euro in 2012 and landed the PSG job in 2013.
Laurent Blanc attacks virtually, he relies on using long passes to penetrate space mainly by making use of sharp, pacy, and strong central forwards with fast and athletic wingers to implement his philosophy.
Blanc and his assistant, Jean-Louis Gasset left Paris Saint Germain in 2016 by mutual agreement leaving behind a substantial record in the history of PSG.
He’s been waiting to have another job since then, all he’s been getting are links with top clubs and none have materialized thus far.
He was linked recently with the Barcelona job following the sack of Quique Setién.
- Quique Setién (Spain) – Last Club Managed: Barcelona (2020)
Thankfully for Barcelona, a colossal disaster was averted when Setién was sacked three days after the end of the 2019/2020 LaLiga season.
The former Real Betis boss was appointed on January 13, 2020, in the wake of Valverde’s dismissal from the Blaugrana club to help them salvage a season which was never poised to be a failed season until Valverde’s sack.
Recall that Valverde was accused of not playing “the Barcelona way” and constant criticisms from pundits and a cross-section of Barcelona fans because of the consecutive ouster from the Champions League necessitated his sack.
Initially, settling for a manager who has not won a cipher in his 20-year career was suicidal and deservedly, Barca paid greatly for it. For the first time since 2007, the Catalan giants finished the season trophyless.
As if that wasn’t enough, Quique Setién added salt to the injury of Barca fans when he led his side to face a free-scoring Bayern Munich side and ended consuming 8 goals in the space of 90 minutes.
Whatever damage Valverde might have done when he capitulated in the champions league, Quique Setién did worse by losing the league to Real Madrid.
Previous Barca managers enjoyed historic moments on the Barcelona job and also used the Barca job to increase the value of their CV, the reverse was the case for Setién.
He’s still longing for another job since his sack, but his chance of landing a top job looks murky.
- Marcelino (Spain) – Last Club Managed: Valencia (2019)
Marcelino sets up with an extremely compact defense, as such, he would deploy a positionally-orientated defensive system that allows the players to move in unison across the pitch depending on the positions of their teammates, the ball, space, and lastly their opponents.
While he banks on rapid counter-attacks by creating chances from his players’ passing and combination play.
Marcelino’s Valencia also took advantage of Barcelona’s decline in 2019 when they faced off in the finals of the Spanish Copa Del Rey in Seville.
But before then, he has diligently been working his way up the coaching ladder right from his hometown in Asturias with impressive performances at Sporting Gijon, Recreativo De Huelva, and Racing Santander before a stint he’d forget so soon at Real Zaragoza.
He then had another spell at Racing before moving to Sevilla which was nothing to write about. He couldn’t refuse the offer from Villarreal, thus going them he led them to promotion back to the Spanish LaLiga before leading the club to three successive top-six finishes as well as the 2015/2015 Europa League Semi-finals.
Some form of a fallout between himself and the club management ensured that Marcelino bowed out of the club and was then appointed at Valencia in May 2017.
Shortly after the victory over Barcelona in the 2019/2020 edition for the Spanish Copa Del Rey, he was dismissed as Valencia’s boss and has been out of a job since then.
- Luciano Spalleti (Italy) – Last Club Managed: Inter Milan (2019)
Spalletti is definitely one of the best Italian coaches for the past two decades, but more than that, he’s one of the most influential managers since the evolution of Italian football from 11 to 12 years ago.
The Tuscan coach prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation and modifies his ideas in such a way that the individual qualities of his players are exhibited to the optimal level.
Spalletti’s early career in management led him to struggle with Empoli, where he was head coach between July 1993 and June 1998.
But much of his success came when he was at the helm of Roma in the Italian capital where he won 2 Italian Cups, also losing one, one Italian Supercup, and finished three times second(one due to the Calciopoli scandal).
He achieved these with a far inferior budget to that of the two Milanese sides which in the same period were buying players such as Vieira and Ibrahimovic.
When he was at Zenit in Russia, he won the Russian Premier League twice (2010, 2011–12), the Russian Cup in 2010, and the Russian Super Cup in 2011.
He returned to Roma in January 2016 and during this period, the team qualified for the Champions League for two consecutive seasons. Spalletti joined Internazionale in the summer of 2017 and stayed up until May 2019 when he was sacked following speculations of his future.
- Leonardo Jardim (Portugual) – Last Club Managed: Monaco (2019)
The Portuguese manager has managed at some notable club sides across Europe, namely Braga, Olympiacos, Sporting CP, and Monaco.
Jardim is passionate about the game from a viewer’s and academic standpoint. The Venezuelan-born coach has made a brilliant manager despite the fact that he’s never played professional football.
He started coaching at the age of 22, training modest youths of the Portuguese island of Madeira, and switching these roles with spells as an assistant coach too.
His first top coaching gig was at Camacha, a third-tier Portuguese side, and from there he did wonders by clinching successive promotions at Chaves and Beira-Mar (from the third to the second division and from the second to the first one, respectively).
However, the club at which he managed where he shown like a million stars was at Monaco in France. His notorious duo of Radamel Falcao and French prodigy, Kylian Mbappe displayed ultra attacking football to win Monaco’s first league title in 17 years.
The side also reached the semi-finals in both the UEFA Champions League and the Coupe de France and lost the final of the Coupe de la Ligue to Paris Saint-Germain FC.
By and large, Leonardo Jardim tutored Monaco sides took the football world by surprise.
In early June 2017, having lost one of his attackers (Mbappe) to PSG, Jardim agreed to a new deal until 2020. But following a poor start to the season which included two losses in two Champions League games, he was left off the hook and Thierry Henry took over.
It never got any better under Henry and Jardim was reappointed again but this time, Monaco had been in a more precarious situation and was sacked again. Jardim has been clubless since then.
- Sam Allardyce
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)