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Five managers set to dominate the summer headlines

Summer is often about the transfer market in world football, but it might just be managers dominating the headlines at the end of the campaign.

A number of Europe’s leading clubs are preparing for change in the dugout this summer, which could spark a carousel of coaching changes at the top sides.

Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are all confirmed to be searching for new coaches, while rumours continue to surround potential changes at Manchester United and Chelsea.

There’s arguably never before been a summer when so many of Europe’s elite are competing for coaches and we’ve profiled five managers set to be in high demand.

Five managers set to dominate the summer headlines:

Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso might just be the hottest coaching property in the game right now with Liverpool and Bayern Munich understood to have made their former player a top target.

Alonso has overseen a transformation of Bayer Leverkusen that has the German side closing in on a historic Bundesliga crown. Leverkusen have never before been crowned champions in Germany, earning the unwanted ‘Neverkusen’ moniker after a series of near misses in major competitions and five runners-up finishes in the Bundesliga.

Momentum appears with Leverkusen, however, who have opened up a 10-point lead over Bayern Munich. Alonso’s side are unbeaten across all competitions this season and are targeting treble success with a place in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals and Europa League last-16 tie with Qarabağ still to come.

An attractive brand of football has increased the demand for Alonso, who having worked under some of football’s greatest minds in Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, and Carlo Ancelotti during his playing career, appears to have had fine tuition.

Leverkusen will be desperate to retain the services of the Spaniard, but face a fight to keep Alonso given the size of – and past allegiances to – the clubs interested in his services.

Roberto De Zerbi

Roberto De Zerbi is another name who continues to be linked with top sides around Europe, following his achievements at Brighton. De Zerbi’s adventurous football had earned him cult standing during spells at Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk, a reputation he has built upon at the Amex Stadium.

Last season, the 44-year-old led Brighton to their best-ever top-flight finish of sixth, securing the Seagulls a place in European competition for the first time. Brighton topped the Premier League for shots per game (16.1) in 2022/23, ranked fourth for goals (72), third for average possession (60.5%) and second for average pass completion (85.9%).

Those metrics appear transferrable to a side with greater talent than what is available at the Amex Stadium and De Zerbi has hinted at frustration with the club’s continual sale policy. Having sold Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo for large fees, the Italian suggested this week that Brighton did not replace that duo with the required experience. It has contributed to a mixed second season that has seen Brighton keep just three clean sheets.

Ruben Amorim

Perhaps the most coveted coach outside of Europe’s top leagues, Ruben Amorim has been placed on the shortlist of several sides searching for new direction this summer.

The 39-year-old has excelled since taking charge of Sporting Lisbon, who he led to a first Primeira Liga title during his first full season in 2020/21. Amorim has injected energy into a Sporting side who set up in a 3-4-3, a system which has proven adaptable, dependent on the strength of opponents.

Sporting currently sit on top of the Primeira Liga table again and are producing possibly the best football of Amorim’s reign so far, scoring freely with Viktor Gyokeres having been a big hit since his summer arrival from Coventry.

A point ahead of Benfica in the title race, with a game in hand, Amorim could search for a new challenge should he lead Sporting to a second league crown this season.

Julian Nagelsmann

Julian Nagelsmann’s immediate focus is on preparing Germany for Euro 2024, having accepted a short-term deal to lead the national side at a home European Championship in the summer.

Nagelsmann’s stock has fallen since he first emerged as Europe’s brightest young coach, having led both Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig to Champions League football before his move to Bayern Munich.

Just three Bayern bosses, Pep Guardiola, Hansi Flick and Carlo Ancelotti, averaged more Bundesliga points per game than Nagelsmann, who departed the Bavarians with a Bundesliga title and a 71.4% win rate. However, disappointing performances in Europe, including a quarter-final exit to Villarreal in 2021/22, saw the German dismissed last season.

Still just 36, Nagelsmann has a wealth of experience at the top level and will become a free agent when his contract with the German national team expires in July.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has taken a patient approach to returning to management, with the Frenchman having been out of work since leaving Real Madrid in 2021.

Zidane is something of a managerial enigma, boasting a track record of trophies comparable to almost any coach, but remaining unproven outside of Real Madrid.

His two spells in charge of the Spanish giants saw the 51-year-old win 12 trophies, including becoming the first-ever coach to win three consecutive European Cups and the first to win back-to-back titles in the Champions League era.

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Bayern Munich have been named as admirers, while former club Juventus have also been linked with a potential move to appoint Zidane.

However, former Real Madrid teammate Thomas Gravesen has said Zidane informed him of the only three roles he would consider.

“I spoke to Zidane in Madrid two years ago and he told me that there are only three roles that he would like to accept,” Gravesen told Discovery+ about a conversation he had with Zidane.

“And they are Marseille, Real Madrid and the French team. We were in Madrid two years ago and he told me exactly that.”

Read – Five of the best chips in Champions League history

See more – Five of the worst teams in Premier League history

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