Hansi Flick has revealed that he wants to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, meaning one of the top jobs in European football will be up for grabs.
Flick, who is pretty much nailed on to become the new Germany manager, made the announcement on Saturday although his public statement was swiftly condemned by Bayern who criticised his “unilateral communications”. Whatever that means.
The German giants are seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with five games remaining, should they triumph the title will be Flick’s seventh trophy of a truly spectacular 18-month tenure.
But, with Flick now set for a new venture in the international arena, who could replace him in the Bavarian dugout?
Here are seven potential candidates to become the next Bayern Munich manager...
Julian Nagelsmann: 4/6
It’s no surprise to see Julian Nagelsmann stamped to the top of the betting market, at 4/6 with William Hill.
He fits the bill, almost perfectly.
Nagelsmann favours a high-tempo, attacking brand of football. He’s one of the game’s rising managerial stars. He’s originally from the outskirts of Munich, has stated Bayern is in his heart, and has accrued Bundesliga and Champions League experience.
Tottenham are also believed to be courting the 33-year-old, who is a 9/2 shot to become the next Spurs manager following Jose Mourinho’s exit on Monday.
RB Leipzig will put up one hell of a fight to keep him, although with two top European clubs eager for his services they may well be left managerless in a few months time. If that’s the case, they are - at least - expected to pocket £17m in compensation.
Watching Nagelmann test himself in an elite environment where he’ll oversee Bayern’s current crop of superstars would make for compelling viewing.
But, given the timing of Flick’s announcement, it’s no surprise that Nagelsmann has said this on the subject: "There are and were no discussions and no offer. That's why I don't know what Bayern's wish is. I have said I don’t want to start a war with my employers - that's still the case."
Expect his stance to change come the summer.
Should he stay or should he go?
Jurgen Klopp: 15/8
Such is the nature of football, it’s the managers and players who will be thrust in front of the media and be expected to answer an avalanche of questions on the controversial new European Super League proposal.
Not the owners, who hide away in the shadows.
Jurgen Klopp is a man of the people and a man of principle. On the inside, the German will be in-tune with the appalled reaction of Liverpool supporters, after all back in 2019 he said the league should never happen. But publicly he’s been put in a tough and uncomfortable position, while he said his feelings hadn’t changed anyone who watched Monday’s interview knew straight away that Klopp was unable to say everything he wanted to on the contentious subject.
However, he did say: “If I’m a problem I go, if I’m not I stay. I feel responsible for this club. I’m here as a football coach and a manager. I heard the situation that I would resign, if times get even tougher, it makes me more sticky that I stay here.”
Klopp’s previously batted away speculation that he’ll take charge of his native Germany when Joachim Low departs this summer. It’s difficult to see him leaving Liverpool at the moment, although things can change quickly of course.
If Klopp did exit Anfield, expect his long-time admirers Bayern - who have stated that they will not be involved in the European Super League - to be straight on the phone to the former Borussia Dortmund manager who is surprisingly short at just 15/8. He previously managed Robert Lewandowski, and recently said he’s the best player he’s ever coached.
But in truth, it’s best looking elsewhere in the market.
Max Allegri: 8/1
It’s almost incomprehensible to think that it’s been two years since Max Allegri left Juventus. He’s still not returned to the dugout, despite being linked with a number of high-profile jobs.
That’s a long time in football.
Allegri certainly has the CV. He oversaw a dominant Juventus side for five years during which they won most competitions they entered, which included five straight Serie A titles. He’s also managed AC Milan, who tasted Scudetto success under his watch.
The Premier League appears to be his preferred next port of call and it will be interesting to see what happens in Tottenham’s pursuit of Jose Mourinho’s successor, with Allegri a tempting 14/1 shot with Paddy Power.
It’s fair to say that Allegri’s more pragmatic style contrasts with Bayern’s ultra-aggressive and attacking approach under Flick. He’s probably not the vibrant, attacking, high-tempo coach Bayern fans crave, but his attention to detail, tactical knowledge and proven record of getting the best out of talented superstars at top European clubs means he should at least be under consideration.
Erik ten Hag: 16/1
Erik ten Hag’s attractive and attacking style of play could make him a more suitable candidate for the Bayern job.
Since taking charge of Ajax in 2017, the Dutchman has won the league and a few domestic cups - he’s set to add another title to his collection this term - and he memorably led his troops to within a whisker of the Champions League final in 2019; a journey which produced scintillating wins over the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus.
His work with young talents has been well documented, Ten Hag has also drawn comparisons to Pep Guardiola, whom he previously worked with at Bayern Munich.
He managed the club’s second team between 2013 and 2015 and won the Regionalliga Bayern in his first season.
The 51-year-old was later linked with the top job in 2019 after Niko Kovac left, but stated his commitment to Ajax although he did say that the German club would always be in his heart. According to BILD, he’s on Bayern’s managerial shortlist once again.
With respect to Ajax, it could now be the ideal time for Ten Hag to make the step up the managerial ladder.
Zinedine Zidane: 20/1
It would be fascinating to see if Zinedine Zidane, who still gets criticised, could replicate his immense success at Real Madrid somewhere else.
Yes, the iconic Frenchman has had the luxury of managing some of the best players on the planet, but you don’t win three successive Champions League trophies and a couple of league titles if you don’t know a thing or two about elite leadership and management.
Zidane, in his second spell at Real Madrid, is currently bidding to become the first manager in history to win the Champions League on four occasions.
His rejuvenated Los Blancos side are also just three points off the top of La Liga with seven games to go.
Zidane’s social capital is his key strength. He’s proved to be an expert at managing egos and superstar talent, meaning he could be an ideal candidate for Bayern’s blockbuster squad. However, his contract doesn’t expire until next summer, and Real are unlikely to let him leave for a European rival.
At 20/1, it’s an intriguing one to contemplate though.
Brendan Rodgers: 20/1
Like a couple of other managers in this article, Brendan Rodgers also features in the mix for the Tottenham job. His odds are longer for Bayern, 20/1, and while a Brit in charge of an elite team abroad is unfortunately an extremely rare occurrence, someone of Rodgers’ ilk could break down the barrier.
“It’s something I would consider,” Rodgers said in 2016 when asked if he would ever manage outside of the UK. “I’ve had a few offers since I’ve been out, to go abroad and also at home.”
Jose Mourinho: 20/1
Has he still got what it takes?
Jose Mourinho’s reputation may have dissolved somewhat over the last few years, yet he’s not exactly lacking on the confidence front, meaning he’ll feel that he still has what it takes to manage at the very top of the game.
He’s won titles and cups in England, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, so it’s only logical that he’ll want to taste success in Germany too.
Whether Bayern view the wounded Mourinho as a viable candidate is highly unlikely. His combustible manner certainly doesn’t paint him in a positive light.