12 unemployed football managers worth hiring this summer – Zidane, Gattuso, Fonseca…

One thing you can be sure of as summer approaches is a string of managerial and coaching changes across Europe.

For backers, this is an exciting time with new opportunities. It’s also a scary time because you can’t help but be scared of club owners doing stupid stuff.

That said, there are currently a wealth of respected and excellent non-club managers who are well worth having. To prove it, here are 12 of them.

Joachim Löw

Joachim Löw is one of those great unknowns who still enjoys a great reputation. Low is available after ending a 15-year tenure as Germany coach during which he became world champion coach.

He was also a club manager once, and a pretty good one at that. He was successful at Stuttgart in the late 1990s, ran reasonably well at Fenerbahce and won the Austrian title with Tirol Innsbruck.

Is there a risk of a return to club coaching at the age of 62? It’s up to him, of course, but you can guess that he won’t be short of opportunities.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

How do you rate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching career? How do you separate his performance from Manchester United’s demise? Was he a cause of it or just another victim of it?

What even Solskjaer’s biggest critics would have to accept is that barring a poor 30-game spell at Cardiff, he has a 57% career win rate in 400+ games. Admittedly, more than half of those games took place in Norway, but you won’t stay at Manchester United for more than 150 games if you have nothing to offer.

Solskjaer’s reputation among fans has almost certainly taken a hit, but he’s likely gained a lot of respect within the game and someone will end up with a very good manager if they decide the time has come to return.

Ernesto Valverde

Aside from two hugely successful appearances in Greece at Olympiakos, Ernesto Valverde has never left La Liga.

He is a highly experienced coach having coached Athletic Bilbao (twice), Espanyol, Villarreal, Valencia and Barcelona, ​​winning the title twice with the latter. He was also runner-up in the UEFA Cup with Espanyol.

It may be that Valverde has no real interest in coaching outside of La Liga and feels he has almost nothing left to prove. If someone could lure him back, he would get a coach with a brilliant pedigree.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane with sons Enzo, Luka, Theo and Elyaz

There is no doubt that Zinedine Zidane is the number one candidate for any elite club currently looking for a new manager.

Zidane won the lot in two very successful tenures as Real Madrid manager and players like Manchester United have been consistently linked with him in the past.

However, all indications are that he is waiting to see if the post-World Cup post-World Cup post-France job is on the agenda before moving elsewhere.

Laurent Blanc

If the post in France becomes vacant, Zidane could find himself competing with his former Les Bleus team-mate Laurent Blanc.

Blanc has been unemployed since leaving Al-Rayyan earlier this year but this adventure in Qatar was the first failure of a great managerial career. He’s just 56 and won Ligue 1 with Bordeaux to prove he’s not a pure checkbook manager.

If Blanc is still motivated to make it and there’s no reason to believe he isn’t, you can’t imagine him staying out of the game for long.

Nuno Espírito Santo

Nuno Espirito Santo 21.08

Okay, it didn’t work out for Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham but he is far from an exhausted force. And despite what we at Spurs say, “It didn’t work out,” he still left the team with a 47% win rate.

In fairness, Nuno’s CV lacks any real credits but he has always been an extremely solid manager, even at big clubs like Porto and Valencia.

Nuno’s greatest achievement was establishing Wolves as a Premier League club and bringing them to Europe. He’s a safe pair of hands with a record building so expect him to be back in football soon.

Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso is one of those coaches who rose to the top due to his reputation as a player and has since built a certain reputation as an almost-man.

His first job at AC Milan saw him miss qualifying for the Champions League by a single point, then it happened again at Napoli.

However, his motivation to re-engage is the big question mark over Gattuso. He agreed to take over at Fiorentina last summer before leaving the club after just 23 days. This was reportedly due to disagreements over transfer budgets. So if a club wants to try and lure Gattuso back into football, they better be prepared to spend some cash.

Rafael Benitez

Rafa Benitez Newcastle manager

Rafael Benitez is absolutely brilliant – a true football genius – if you ask any Liverpool or Newcastle fans. However, ask Everton, Real Madrid and Inter supporters and they will tell you he is absolutely hopeless.

There is no doubt that Benitez used to be a top manager but those days seem a long time ago now. He may still be a good one, but his performance at Everton hasn’t exactly helped his reputation.

However, that could mean his next club get a particularly motivated manager who is desperate to repair his image and legacy, so he may have one last big job left.

Paulo Fonseca

In many ways, it’s surprising that Paulo Fonseca is still available. The Mozambique-born Portuguese was heavily linked with roles for Tottenham and Newcastle last season but failed to land either.

However, he is definitely a coach with real pedigree, having found success in Portugal with Porto and Braga and in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Fonseca’s last job was at Roma, where he finished fifth. For context, that was one place higher than Jose Mourinho this season.

Marcelo Bielsa

Artist Irek Jasutowicz works on a new mural of Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa near Hyde Park in Leeds.  The West Yorkshire club celebrate their return to the Premier League after a 16-year wait with a trip to champions Liverpool on Saturday.

It felt like British clubs feared Marcelo Bielsa and all that comes with him for years before Leeds took the plunge in 2018.

In many ways it’s hard to say whether his time at Elland Road has proved his critics right or wrong, but ultimately he left Leeds in a much better position than he found them.

Does he want to do everything again at the age of 66? Probably, and if he can find a club and a group of supporters who can match his unrelenting energy, they’ll be lucky to have him.

Sean Dych

Sean Dych

Sean Dyche is a textbook example of how statistics in football can be incredibly misleading. A career win record of 35% in nearly 500 games is unlikely to blow anyone’s mind.

However, Dyche was something of a victim of his own loyalty to Burnley. He was there for almost ten years – itself a remarkable feat in modern times – and he has done wonders to keep them in the Premier League for so long. We’ll never know if he would have stuck it out again this season.

Burnley’s sacking has stripped him of that loyalty and it’s only a matter of time before he resurfaces in football. If he does, it will be fascinating to see what he can accomplish with hopefully a lot more resources.

Marco Rosa

Did Marco Rose achieve too little at Borussia Dortmund last season? They finished second in the Bundesliga despite Erling Haaland, failed early in the Champions League and then failed in the Europa League. The club directors obviously thought he did after they sacked him after just a year.

Before that, Rose certainly didn’t miss out at Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he guided them to the Champions League and then to the Round of 16. He also didn’t miss out at RB Salzburg, where he won the double.

It won’t be long before Rose returns to management and many will be happy to have him.

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