Six managers we want to see back in the Premier League

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 23 March 2020, 11:53

Over the years we’ve seen an assortment of managers hop on-and-off the Premier League carousel. 

A select minority have got their mitts on the famous trophy, many have achieved success relative to the club they joined, others have been sent packing in the blink of an eye, while many bosses that have come-and-gone in recent times will still feel they have unfinished business in England’s top-flight.

The Premier League is of course currently paused. 30th April has been tentatively booked in for a restart, although a date in May, June or even further afield looks more likely at this moment in time.

It’s difficult to envision any of the 20 top-flight incumbents leaving their posts anytime soon, but looking ahead we’ve picked out six managers we’d like to see back in the Premier League dugout sometime in the future…

(all statistics relate to each manager’s time in the Premier League only)

Mauricio Pochettino

Southampton raised more than a few eyebrows when they unveiled Mauricio Pochettino as the surprise successor to Nigel Adkins in the early days of 2013. Back then Pochettino was best known - in England at least - as being the Argentinian defender who gave away the penalty in which David Beckham thundered into the back of the net during the 2002 World Cup.

At St Mary’s, Pochettino swatted away the doubters by orchestrating wins over Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea en-route to steering the Saints to safety, which was followed by a then-club-record 8th-place finish. 

This subsequently caught the eye of Spurs, with whom Pochettino elevated into the top-bracket of Premier League clubs, while he also conjured up an incredible journey through to the Champions League final.

Critics will always find fault with Pochettino due to the fact he was unable to win any silverware but nothing can take away from the way in which he transformed both Saints and Spurs; propelling each club to the next level without simply throwing money at players, instead opting to blood young English talent.

As soon as a top job becomes available Pochettino will be linked, in fact being linked with clubs regardless of their managerial situation. If we can be biased for a moment, we’d simply love to see him back in the Premier League dugout with a third team - or who knows, maybe he’ll return to North London one day…

Clubs: Southampton & Tottenham

Matches: 256

Win Rate: 52.3%

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Could Gareth Southgate be tempted by a return to the Premier League one day?

Gareth Southgate

Long before he rejuvenated an entire a nation and helped soar the sales of waistcoats, Gareth Southgate was learning the managerial ropes at Middlesbrough; a post he held between 2006 and 2009.

In his first home game as a manager the former Boro captain stunned Jose Mourinho and defending champions Chelsea, and would finish 12th come the end of the campaign, followed by 13th, with the future England manager hammering the former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson - then at Man City - 8-1 on the final day of his second season.

However, Boro dropped out of the top-flight in his third season, and while Southgate clung onto his job over the summer, he was sacked a few months into the club’s Championship campaign. In truth, it was a harsh dismissal considering that Southgate had taken his troops to within one point of the summit.

Given that he’s likely to have another European Championship and World Cup at the helm of England, a return to the Premier League hot-seat is unlikely to happen anytime soon, however it’s something that many are intrigued to see occur at some point down the line.

Clubs: Middlesbrough

Matches: 114

Win Rate: 25.4%

Andre Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas (AVB) may have already overseen two Premier League clubs but you still get the feeling that the Portuguese coach, who is unbelievably still only 42, has unfinished business in England.

At Chelsea, AVB arrived brimming with optimism and confidence on the back of a stunning quadruple at Porto, yet left the Bridge broken and battered after a torrid nine-month tenure. 

Four months later and he was back in London with Tottenham where he lasted 18 months in total. A certain Gareth Bale thrived under AVB’ tutorship but once the Welsh wizard was seduced by Spain, Spurs failed to recover, although the manager did leave his post having won 53.7% of his league games, which at the time was the highest of any Spurs manager in the Premier League era.

AVB has since managed in both Russia and China, and dabbled in motor sports, while he’s now restoring his reputation at Marseille who are currently the ‘best of the rest’ behind PSG in Ligue 1.

While still only 42, the Marseille job was viewed by many as AVB’s last chance to really prove he has what it takes in Europe’s top-leagues, and he’s doing just that, so if he continues on this upwards trajectory a return to England could well be on the cards.

Clubs: Chelsea & Tottenham

Matches: 81

Win Rate: 51.8

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Andre Villas-Boas has already managed in Portugal, England, Russia, China and France

Sam Allardyce

Have we seen the last of Sam Allardyce in the Premier League?

No manager has accumulated more Premier League spells than Big Sam, who counts Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton as his former employers, while he’s nestled in an exclusive six-man band of bosses that have in excess of 500 Premier League matches under their belts.

It’s approaching two years since Allardyce’s stint at Everton came to a swift end, and while his name has since been connected with just about every bottom-half of the table vacancy that has arisen, the former England boss has not yet been tempted back into the managerial arena.

Watch this space.

Clubs: Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace & Everton

Matches: 512

Win Rate: 33.9%

David Wagner

Taken in isolation, David Wagner’s Premier League win rate (18.3%) makes for unflattering viewing. However, with context, his achievements at Huddersfield were more than commendable.

Not only did the German-American inspire an incredible first-ever promotion into the Premier League, he then proceeded to keep the Terriers in the Promised Land courtesy of an against-the-odds 16th-placed finish. He also conjured up a memorable win over Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd.

The managerial magic dust ran out the following season and Wagner left by mutual consent shortly into the New Year, and later cited it was his need to take a break and educate himself.

However, his reputation was firmly in-tact and he’s since returned to Germany with Schalke who are currently 6th in the Bundesliga, and Wagner’s the only boss to come away from Julian Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig with three points this season. 

All fingers point to an exciting future at Schalke, however he’s previously stated that he’d be keen to manage in England once again and should - with no disrespect to Huddersfield - he have more resources at his disposal then expect him to make a real impact at his next destination.

Clubs: Huddersfield

Matches: 60

Win Rate: 18.3%

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David Wagner is now back in Germany with Schalke

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte is currently being tasked with transforming Inter Milan back into a footballing force, both in Italy and on the continent. The Italian has enjoyed an impressive start in his new San Siro surroundings too, and providing the Serie A season resumes, he has an outside chance of securing a fourth Scudetto.

History tells us that the fiery boss doesn’t tend to stick around for too long in one place, given that in six of his past seven managerial spells he’s spent two seasons or less at the helm, with Juventus the only exception (three years). 

He’ll no doubt want to test himself in Spain at some point, but should he leave his homeland his availability would undoubtedly attract attention from Premier League clubs.

Conte has already lifted the Premier League title with Chelsea back in the first of his two contrasting campaigns at the Bridge (2016/17), however the chance to become the first manager to win the coveted trophy with two clubs could potentially appeal to the born-winner.

His animated touchline presence, tactical astuteness and occasionally volcanic nature means it would be a welcome return at that.

Clubs: Chelsea

Matches: 51

Win Rate: 67.1%

Other shout-outs

Before we leave you, here are a cluster of other managers we’d like to see return to the Premier League; from Maurizio Sarri and Roberto Martinez to Arsene Wenger and Slavisa Jokanovic, while we’ll chuck in a real curveball at the end: Paolo Di Canio.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough
(Burton Albion)
18th May
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