Following a weekend of increased tension and pressure, the future of four Premier League managers is in the balance. However, when clubs are looking to replace their existing manager, they face the same problem – who is a viable alternative? Who can they realistically get, or afford, if they want to make a long-term change?
Bookies only add to the pressure of a Premier League manager who is struggling to find wins by compiling odds on which one will be dismissed first. Currently, the top four are Marco Silva at Everton, Unai Emery at Arsenal, Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham, and Quique Sanchez Flores at Watford. All have short odds to be sacked, which may come as a relief to the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man United, and Ralph Hasenhuttl at Southampton, who themselves are coming under increasing pressure to start delivering results on a consistent basis.
Clubs like Everton, Arsenal, and West Ham have spent the money and now think they should have strong enough squads to be competing higher up the table and not be in the predicament they find themselves.
Arsenal told Emery he had to deliver Champions League football for next season, whilst Everton and West Ham’s aim was to be competing for a top six finish. None are looking likely to achieve their aims at the moment, whilst Watford hoped to be in the top 10.
The problem for these clubs is what do they do next? Should they hold their nerve, trust the manager they appointed, and hope fortunes alter; or do they change the managerial team? Mauricio Pochettino is now available following his sacking from Tottenham, but realistically, can he be hired? Although Pochettino likes the Premier League, he is expected to move to Bayern Munich.
There are candidates out there, but most are at clubs already, so to get them out of their current contract is regarded as just too expensive. This does seem strange in a sport where clubs don’t blink at paying £15million for a left-back who might not cut it in England, but employing a manager is becoming increasingly expensive. Look at West Ham, Manuel Pellegrini is earning £7million per annum, which is at least twice as much as any of his predecessors. The going rate appears to be rising gradually.
Once clubs would look down the divisions at managers doing well at other clubs, but that hardly happens these days. In fact, last summer was a bit of an anomaly, which saw Frank Lampard leave Derby County for Chelsea; Graham Potter leave Swansea City to take over at Brighton, and Steve Bruce make the move from Sheffield Wednesday to Newcastle United.
In England the approach tends to be to hire a manager from abroad or go with experience, but in both cases the club will try not to pay any compensation.
There is a fear that if they do not deliver a recognisable ‘name’ to their fans, the board will face a supporter backlash, but they don’t like to be seen as the bad guys and would rather the focus be on the manager in the dug-out.
Are the clubs trying to hold their nerve and hope things get better being admirable, or are they just not wanting to risk the money?