Five managers in European football we can’t wait to see in action this season
As many of the top-flight European leagues get back underway, we bring you five managers that we can’t wait to see in action during the 2021/22 season. They all face different challenges in their new jobs and in some cases new leagues; each offering elements of intrigue and excitement...
Jesse Marsch (RB Leipzig)
The Bundesliga managerial arena may encompass many of the same names as last season, albeit with a slight twist, as many of the main protagonists have switched dugouts, including Julian Nagelsmann, Marco Rose, Adi Hütter, and Oliver Glasner. However, one new addition to the scene is Jesse Marsch.
He’s the man tasked with succeeding Nagelsmann at RB Leipzig. A big ask, but one Marsch will welcome with open arms. He’s well accustomed to the Red Bull way; he was an assistant to Ralf Rangnick at Leipzig, was crowned MLS Coach of the Year when at New York Red Bulls, then most recently won back-to-back league and cup doubles in Austria with RB Salzburg. “It’s the perfect fit”, the man said himself.
The Bundesliga represents another step up the managerial ladder for the exciting American coach. His Leipzig side are out at 16/1 to win a title that is widely expected to stay in Munich for the tenth successive season, but don’t rule out Marsch and his high-press, high-energy style. It’s going to be an enjoyable ride.
Bet: RB Leipzig to win the Bundesliga @ 16/1 with Paddy Power
Christophe Galtier (Nice)
It’s not often a manager leaves a club he’s just won the title with in order to join another club in the same league that finished 31 points and eight places adrift of his side. Well, that’s exactly what happened in France this summer when Christophe Galtier swapped Lille for Nice.
As we’ve said many times now, Galtier winning Ligue 1 with Lille represents one of the best managerial achievements in recent years. It was a fantastic feat and one that will long be remembered. Unfortunately for the defending champs they’ve lost an excellent boss, and one who has already come back to haunt them in an emphatic manner.
Over the weekend, Galtier rocked up at his old stomping ground with his new employers and cooked up a 4-0 spanking, which was his first victory in charge of Nice. There’s a real buzz around Nice’s new-look side who have invested in new players and appointed a title-winning manager in the hope that he can sprinkle his magic in the French Riviera.
We’re not trying to suggest that the Frenchman can repeat his miraculous feat this season - Lionel Messi’s PSG are already priced at 1/20 for the title, while Nice are 66/1 outsiders - but the early signs are very promising.
Bet: Nice to win Ligue 1 @ 66/1 with William Hill
Arne Slot (Feyenoord)
Stepping away from Europe’s top-five leagues for a moment, we head over to the Eredivisie where new boss Arne Slot has enjoyed a spectacular debut in charge of Feyenoord. His side thumped Willem II in their league opener, which followed three wins and a draw in the Europa League Conference.
Appointed in July, Slot caught Feyenoord’s attention during his time at Louis van Gaal’s former side AZ Alkmaar. His brand of attacking football elevated AZ into title challengers during the 2019/20 season, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. At the time Slot’s side were 2nd to Ajax on goal difference with nine games left to play.
In December 2020 Feyenoord revealed that Dick Advocaat would be stepping aside at the end of the season, leading to strong rumours that Slot would take his place. Slot spoke to the club about the upcoming vacancy, much to the fury of AZ who subsequently sacked him.
Slot, 42, is regarded as an exciting young talent in the managerial arena whose use of inverted fullbacks caught the eye at AZ. He now has the chance to prove himself at one of Holland’s top clubs, albeit a club that has faded this century with just the one league title since 1999.
Plus, any boss who can laugh in the face of an extremely angry Diego Simeone instantly gets our respect…
Bet: Feyenoord to win the Eredivisie @ 12/1 with Bet365
Jose Mourinho (Roma)
Come on, we can’t ignore Jose Mourinho. Love him or loathe him he commands attention. As we’ve so often seen, he’s currently charming everyone in sight in his new surroundings. But, can he rediscover his managerial mojo in the Eternal City?
The Portuguese coach has not won silverware since the 2016/17 season and back in England he was largely overshadowed by the exploits of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. It would come as a surprise to see him mount a title challenge this season - although Serie A does look delightfully open - but expected Mourinho to target domestic cups and of course a top-four finish, something which eluded Roma’s former incumbent Paolo Fonseca.
“We will take on one thing at a time”, he said. Whatever the outcome, it will be a fascinating watch. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day...
Bet: Roma to win Serie A @ 18/1 with Bet365
Jose Bordalas (Valencia)
After five successful years at Getafe, whom he led into La Liga and later finished 5th, Jose Bordalas sought out a new challenge this summer as he bids to rejuvenate Valencia. It’s a tough gig. He’s at a club where pressure and expectations are high, but transfer funds are low. They’ve finished 9th and 13th in the last two seasons, while only one player has come in so far this summer.
However, this won’t bother Bordalas, at least publicly. While Valencia frequently lose their best players, they have recruited an excellent manager who thrives in difficult circumstances. His journey to Valencia has been an eventful one spanning 18 years, mainly in the lower leagues, during which he's showcased his fighting spirit and intensity.
“We want Valencia CF to regain its football status in La Liga, that is my goal,” Bordalas said upon his appointment. "We start from scratch. I will put all my knowledge at the service of Valencia CF and I want to get the fans excited again.”
Funnily enough he faced Getafe in his first game last weekend, recovering from a third minute red card to seal a 1-0 win.
Bet: Valencia to finish in the top-four @ 50/1 with 888Sport