• Some decorated managers are on the market at the moment

  • Serial winners Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane are the best available football managers

  • The presence of such head coaching talents puts extra pressure on those in top jobs

Hiring an elite manager can swing the football odds. Clubs make changes in the dugout more than ever before, with managers only a short losing streak away from being handed their P-45.

Success doesn’t guarantee job security long-term. Managers losing their jobs is a sports betting market of its own, such is the turnover at even the world’s biggest clubs. Only a handful will leave a club on their own terms.

Football management has evolved greatly. They no longer have full say over transfers, and their relationship with players has altered.

Just as players need to adapt, managers have had to go through the same process in recent years. With just weeks until the start of the 2021/22 season, here are 10 of the best available football managers…

Antonio Conte

Links with Tottenham never went anywhere. The same was the case with Real Madrid.

Antonio Conte is not a long-term manager, but he’s a victorious one. The Italian set the foundations for a dominant period at Juventus, he led Chelsea to an improbable Premier League win, and he ended Inter’s Scudetto drought.

It seems like Conte will wait for the first big club to hit a crisis next season.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has been a very successful football manager. He has not earned the same admiration as Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte or Pep Guardiola, but his achievements cannot be downplayed.

After winning three Champions Leagues and two league titles as Real Madrid manager, there’s not exactly a step up Zidane can take. His return for a second spell did not end quite as the Bernabeu faithful would have hoped.

He might be out of work, but it’s unclear how available Zidane really is. How many jobs would he even consider taking?

Frank Lampard

One year at Derby was followed by 18 months or so at Chelsea for Frank Lampard. Back as a pundit for Euro 2020, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer is still on the search for more managerial work.

Such a sharp career arc leaves Lampard in a peculiar position. He’s not going to get a job like Chelsea, but he still seems like a risky appointment for a mid-table team.

Linked with the Crystal Palace vacancy before the Eagles hired Patrick Vieira, it’s going to be interesting to see what comes next for the former England international.

Andre Villas-Boas

It’s wild to think that Andre Villas-Boas is still only 43. Breaking through with a treble as Porto boss around a decade ago, Villas-Boas has also won everything in Russia with Zenit following two turbulent spells in London.

He’s since managed in China and France, but it was a messy end to his time with Marseille after he publicly criticised the club’s recruitment.

While clearly possessing a great football brain, few would risk predicting what comes next for Villas-Boas.

Vincenzo Montella

They say never go back. Vincenzo Montella did that by returning to Fiorentina in 2019 and it didn’t work out. He won just six of his 27 matches, following on from a difficult spell in Seville.

The former Italy international really rose to prominence as a manager in his first stint with Fiorentina. There were positive signs at Milan, too, although those two spells sandwiched a terrible few months with Sampdoria.

His possession-based play will appeal to many clubs, but he might have to accept a lower job to get back into work.

Lucien Favre

It ended in ugly fashion in Dortmund, but the lure of Lucien Favre remains. His teams play exhilarating football. On top of the fun, there’s plenty of substance too, with his teams often exceeding expectations.

Neutrals will be hoping to see Favre in Premier League predictions before long. Football is better when Favre has a strong team, and his knack for bringing the best out of players has helped develop some big names already.

With experience in Switzerland, Germany and France, perhaps it’s time for an English club to take a chance on Favre.

Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe is controversial. His achievements at Bournemouth were often qualified, and there’s a sense he might have missed his chance at a top job following the Cherries’ demise at the end of his tenure.

Howe is still being linked with top flight jobs, though it’s unclear where would be a good fit for him.

Quique Setien

Sporting the frankly awesome nickname of ‘El Maestro’ as a player, Quique Setien has had an eventful managerial career.

He managed Equatorial Guinea and worked in the lower Spanish divisions before making his name with Las Palmas and Real Betis.

A short and underwhelming stint at Barcelona followed. The historic 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich was his final match in charge, and it’s unclear if Setien will return to the hot seat any time soon.

Paulo Fonseca

Despite managing Porto and Braga, Paulo Fonseca is best known for his work with Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma. He led Shakhtar as the dominant force in Ukraine, playing scintillating fast-break football.

He departed Roma in May of this year. Having won around half his matches in charge of the club, Fonseca is a man-in-demand across Europe.

Like some other names on this list, he was believed to be a frontrunner for the Tottenham job, but the deal fell through.

Rudi Garcia

Named French Manager of the Year on three occasions, Rudi Garcia has edged toward journeyman territory since winning Ligue 1 with Lille a decade ago. He has enjoyed good moments in his stints with Roma, Marseille and Lyon.

Any club which considers hiring Garcia knows what they are getting. His teams tend to like a lot of possession, and like many modern managers, he demands an incredible work ethic from his squad.

Previously linked with Tottenham, it won’t be long before we are seeing Garcia in football prediction articles again.

*Credit for the main photo belongs to Tim Ireland / AP Photo*


FIRST PUBLISHED: 13th July 2021

About the Author
Sam Cox

Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.