However, if we fail to finish even as high as our pitiful 8th last season then it’s possible that Brendan will not keep his job. In the event we are looking for a new manager at the end of the season (rather than in the middle of it) one man who will have finished his sabbatical is Pep Guardiola.
Pep will only consider a club of a certain size and stature. He’ll also prefer one of the top leagues (English, Spanish, German, or Italian). He won’t go back to La Liga, and the language barrier in Germany, and Bayern (8 points clear at the top at the time of writing) & Dortmund (Klopp is King) not looking like they’ll lose their managers, makes the Bundesliga unlikely as well.
Pep has said many times he wants a project. He’ll want somewhere he can grow a group of younger players and build a new legacy. He is a man of integrity and he would have viewed the dismissals of esteemed managers like Scolari and Ancelloti with concern. He’s already turned down Chelsea twice (according to Guillem Balague) and it would seem to go against his principles if he went to Stamford Bridge.
Roberto Mancini has done a terrific job at City. Regardless of the £100’s of millions spent on players, the facts show that Mancini delivered their first trophy since 1976 and followed it up with the Title soon after. They are challenging again for top honours and, despite consistent disappointments in the Champions League, Mancini is adored by City fans so he will most likely still be in charge at the beginning of next season.
Fergie has said only an experienced manager should succeed him when he retires and he recently had dinner with Pep in New York. Fergie hasn’t indicated he’s retiring at the end of the season but as they lead the table again and are looking strong in the Champions League, if he were to win both, or even one, he may well be happy to pass on the mantle. The smart money though is on Fergie hanging around for a couple more years at least.
A distinct possibility. A great club with great history, going through a difficult time (sound familiar?). They have lost (and are losing) reliable old timers and are putting their faith in talented youngsters like Al Shaarawy. Improving (including an excellent win against Juve) after an awful start to the season, if they don’t make the Champions League (or even if they do), they may make a change. Berlusconi may not be the Chairman you’d want, but Galliani is vastly experienced and the most successful CEO in European football.
Have struggled since Mourinho left in tears for Madrid. Five managers in the intervening time indicates that little time is given to rebuilding the horribly aged & spent (physically and mentally) squad Jose left behind. A tough job in tough circumstances but Pep may fancy it. Chances are though he won’t want to go where the Special One has trod before.
Doing very well, the Old Lady is unlikely to change even if they don’t win the league (which they are still favourites for).
Shalke, Roma, Napoli, Fiorentina, Lazio
I believe Pep will consider these to be in a second group of teams he may look at. Their sides may be stronger than ours at present but they cannot be compared to us in terms of fan base or pedigree.
That leaves Liverpool
• The magic that is Anfield and the great supporters
• The most successful English club in European competition
• A stable and improving financial situation with little debt burden, even if he won’t have a great deal to spend.
• The best group of young players of any Premier League club – our Under 21’s are the only undefeated team in top level U21 competition in England, and that’s without the likes of Sterling, Suso, Wisdom, Shelvey et al even playing!
• A real challenge (or ‘project’ as it is now called) to bring Liverpool back to the top
• More time than he would be given at Chelsea, City, either Milan clubs or Man United
• World Class players like Suarez, Gerrard and Reina plus other very talented players like Agger, Johnson and Lucas
• A Barcelona style methodology of pass and move that has been in place (more or less) since the 70’s, but has been especially prevalent since Rafa Benitez brought Pep Segura and Rodolfo Borrell to work with the youth teams.
• If Brendan does fail then he will nevertheless have left a team that is trying to play football in the right manner
I hope Brendan succeeds. I hope our team comes together sooner rather than later to turn draws into wins and climb the table. I hope we are able to close that 7 point gap to fourth and by the end of the season qualify for Europe’s elite competition (bearing in mind we may have to finish 3rd to do so).
But if we don’t, and Brendan doesn’t stay, then I think Pep Guardiola could do a lot worse than taking up the Anfield helm.
You can catch more from me on my own blog: http://taintlessred.blogspot.co.uk/