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5 of the best available football managers in the world

Watford becoming the first Premier League team to change their manager this season is perhaps the least surprising sports story of the year. It is often the case that one team sacking a manager gets others thinking about whether they should do the same, so there could soon be a ripple effect. Struggling managers will also be aware that there is an unusually high number of top-class coaches who are out of work right now. Here are some of the best available managers in world football.


5 of the best available football managers in the world


Antonio Conte

Conte remains a free agent having left Inter after leading them to the Serie A title last season. The 52-year-old is regarded as a ferocious taskmaster but there is no doubt his methods work.

Having won Serie A five times as a player with Juventus, he added three more in as many years when he took charge of the Bianconeri. A switch to Chelsea was also successful, delivering the FA Cup as well as the 2016-17 Premier League title to Stamford Bridge.

But it was his work at Inter that will be particularly eye-catching for chairmen at elite clubs around the world. Juve’s long run of titles was ended as Conte’s tactical acuity, coupled with the goals of star striker Romelu Lukaku, fired Inter to a long-awaited Scudetto.

Conte is very demanding and this could be off-putting for executives who prefer to work with a more amenable manager who does not demand a large transfer budget to spend on players. But anyone who is serious about challenging for titles will have to consider Conte before he gets snapped up by one of their rivals as he in one of the available managers who will surely find work easily.


Lucien Favre

Favre was supposedly very close to being appointed by Crystal Palace in the summer before the Swiss coach had a late change of heart about succeeding Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.

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The 62-year-old remains available despite an envious body of work including successful stints in a number of countries, though his time at last club Borussia Dortmund was a rare failure.

Favre previously led Nice to Champions League qualification in Ligue 1 against the odds, while he led Zurich to successive Swiss Super League titles earlier in his managerial career. With his attacking style of play particularly easy on the eye, Favre’s tactics will appeal to many.


Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona had won back-to-back La Liga titles under his leadership and were top of the table on goal difference and on track for a third when they sacked Valverde back in January 2020. Surpringly, he remains one of the football managers currently available and waiting for a new job.

In hindsight, perhaps they should have stuck with the 57-year-old Spaniard, who has yet to take another job and has not yet even been fully paid up by Barca, who are now in a full-blown crisis.

Disappointing European results were among the reasons Barca disposed of Valverde but he is deserving of another opportunity to lead another big club. He was one of many elite coaches to hold talks with Tottenham over the summer before they opted for Nuno Espirito Santo.


Paulo Fonseca

Another coach linked with Spurs, Fonseca has been out of work since leaving Roma this year.

After a string of jobs in his homeland, the Portuguese coach moved to Ukraine to take charge of Shakhtar Donetsk. He won the league and cup double in each of his three seasons at Shakhtar, who also beat Manchester City in the Champions League during his time in charge.

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The 48-year-old had a more mixed time at Roma, finishing fifth in Serie A and reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League before he was replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Fonseca made headlines recently when he claimed in an interview that Spurs did not appoint him as they wanted to get a manager with a more defensive style than his attacking tactics.


Andre Villas-Boas

Fonseca and Mourinho’s compatriot Villas-Boas is one of football’s most fascinating characters. A managerial prodigy who led Porto to an undefeated season and the treble in his first big job, Villas-Boas was snapped up by Chelsea but he lasted just a few months at Stamford Bridge.

A move to Tottenham saw the club set a record points tally in his first Premier League season but, after Gareth Bale was sold to Real Madrid, Villas-Boas failed to maintain that momentum.

He rebuilt his reputation by leading Zenit Saint Petersburg to the Russian Premier League title and taking them into the knockout rounds of the Champions League. A surprising switch to China then saw ‘AVB’ take Shanghai SIPG to second place in the league and the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League and he then got behind the wheel to join the 2018 Dakar Rally.

Villas-Boas returned to management in Ligue 1, leading Marseille to Champions League qualification, before quitting following a row over the signing of Celtic player Olivier Ntcham. While Villas-Boas does not tend to stay at clubs long, his short stints tend to be memorable and therefore he could be one of the more interesting available managers on the list.



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