It’s that time of year again where Everton fans pose the question: “Well if you want him gone, who do you want instead?”
The correct response to this is of course: “I’m not on the Everton board, it’s not my job to know the managerial market.”
Let’s face facts, fact fans. Everton clearly doesn’t know the managerial market either as evidenced by the shenanigans since David Moyes left.
But we have a Director of Football now don’t we.
Hailed as a Messiah until a few weeks ago when we started getting beat again after another wodge of summer spending, he’s now started being hailed as a possible Pariah.
You have to assume that next time (should there be one) picking the manager will be entirely on him. Don’t mess it up, Marcel.
I’ve written before about boards of football clubs needing to have a better handle on the market. Instead of starting from scratch once a manager has been sacked, and panicking to get the job sorted quickly, a better approach might be…data!
Football clubs have a load of data. They don’t use most of it. And the bits they do use, they mostly use badly.
This is often because it’s been packaged up like a last minute Christmas present when you’ve run out of wrap, by those dastardly data providers who know said club hasn’t got the time, expertise or patience to do work with the data inside.
So that original question of “Who next?” has been asked of me by several Evertonian’s on twitter. I haven’t got time to watch hundreds of games over the last year or so, but I know one or two databases that have.
When I say “watched” I of course mean in the digital sense of “recording every important touch of the football” that’s happened in the top European Leagues. As I say, every Premier League club has a way to do the same. They just don’t.
When I’ve been asked the question about who Everton should be after, I ask for criteria. General first replies are along the lines of “a manager that wants to press the ball high,” as a starting point.
This is understandable, as we all now Blues fans love a player that puts a shift in and leaves it all on the pitch. It’s also how Marco Silva has us playing now. In fact, Everton are the highest pressing team of all the high pressy teams in the top European leagues this season.
For comparison here’s a little viz comparing Everton to Guardiola’s Manchester City side:
I’ve got my database handy for this year’s Premier League and last season for La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga. How long does it take to churn out names of teams that press anywhere near like Everton do over the middle and final thirds of the pitch? Seconds.
Let’s start with current Premier League teams who are remotely near the pressing mark that Everton get to.
Brighton. Graham Potter. Trendy name amongst football hipsters after deeds in Sweden and now on these shores after stabilising Swansea in the Championship last year. Only just become manager of the Seagulls, so maybe an unlikely appointment, but could be tempted.
Manchester City. Pep Guardiola. Not coming. The end.
Southampton. Ralph Hassenhuttl. Another hipster choice having been manager at RB Leipzig in Germany. Only just become manager of the Saints, so maybe an unlikely appointment, but could be tempted.
Bournemouth. Eddie Howe. Perennially linked with the hotseat at Goodison. One imagines he would eagerly take the step up.
Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp. Not coming. The end.
Chelsea. Frank Lampard. Not coming. The end.
Leicester. Brendan Rodgers. Only just become manager of Leicester, and previously manager of Liverpool (shudder). Highly, unlikely he’d move at this stage.
Basically, from the Premier League, you’re looking at Howe as the most realistic candidate here to take charge of a high pressing Everton. Shall we move on?
Why? Because it’s the easiest one to sort.
Why? Because they don’t press the ball anywhere near like they do in the other top leagues over there. There’s one team:
Eibar. Jose Luis Mendilibar. You may have heard us talking about Eibar on the pod. A stick out team in La Liga to watch. Mendilibar’s biggest gig was at Athletic Bilbao in 2005, where he lasted about 5 minutes. Since then he’s been flitting about the top two leagues in Spain with smaller clubs.
Mendilibar would bite someone’s hand off to join a team like Everton, so that’s him and Howe after going through two top leagues…
Germany is swamped with teams that press high. Who’ve we got then?
Bayern. Niko Kovac. Won the double last year. Not coming. The end.
RB Leipzig. Ralph Rangnick. Flitting between Sporting Director role and Manager role over the last couple of years it’s difficult to see Rangnick leaving the Red Bull stable to work under a relative snot-nose DoF. Not coming.
Leverkusen. Peter Bosz. The Dutchman has some decent clubs in his CV in recent years having taken the reigns at Ajax and Dortmund. Flopped at the latter but in the job less than a year at Leverkusen and doing a decent job. In the Champions League. Not coming.
Eintracht Frankfurt. Adi Hutter. An interesting one, and would likely come. A third one for our shortlist.
Wolfsburg. Bruno Labbadia. Bit of a Bundesliga merry-go-round manager and could probably be tempted. I’ll add him to the list but would you really want to go there?
Hertha Berlin. Pal Dardai. Managed Hertha for several seasons before being relegated back to youth team coach this year. I’ll add him to the list but would you really want to go there?
Dortmund. Lucien Favre. Linked previously to Everton. Second with Dortmund last year, still in the mix for top finish again this year. In the Champions League. File under not coming.
Mainz. Sandro Schwarz. Just 40 years old. Mainz are a bottom half Bundesliga side. I’ll add him to the list but would you really want to go there?
Plenty of choice there in Germany as we can see. But the decent, more high profile choices are unlikely to come right now.
Torino. Walter Mazzarri. A merry-go-round manager in Serie A. Lasted a year at Watford. I’ll add him to the list but would you really want to go there?
Atalanta. Gian Piero Gasperini. A merry-go-round manager in Serie A before settling with Atalanta and has enjoyed 3-4 yrs of good league finishes and European football. Yep, worth a look.
Roma. Claudio Ranieri. Loveable man who’s had more clubs than Tony Jacklin. Roma got rid and hired Paulo Fonseca (again a previous Everton link) in the summer. He meets the criteria so he’s got to go on the list.
Inter. Luciano Spalletti. Sacked by Inter in the summer so available. Huge amount of experience at various big teams. One for the list.
Sampdoria. Marco Giampaolo. Snapped up by Milan in the summer. Not coming.
Fiorentina. Stefano Pioli. Another merry-go-round Serie A manager. Resigned in the spring and available. I’ll add him to the list but would you really want to go there?
Napoli. Carlo Ancelotti. Not coming. End of.
Lyon. Bruno Genesio. Just signed for Beijing Guoan in China so likely on a huge contract. Not coming.
Marseille. Rudi Garcia. Available after being released. Previous experience at Lille and Roma. One for the list.
Amiens. Christophe Pelissier. Joined Ligue 2 Lorient in the summer after getting binned by Amiens.
Toulouse. Alain Casanova. Previously managed Lens.
The ‘shortlist’ of managers setting their teams up to press high up the pitch in Europe’s top 5 leagues that Everton could realistically get:
Howe, Mendilibar, Hutter, Labbadia, Dardai, Schwarz, Mazzarri, Gasperini, Ranieri, Spaletti, Pioli, Garcia, Pelissier and Casanova.
We’ve not even wheedled out for style on the ball yet.
You could maybe add Potter and Hassenhuttl to the list. But you’re still not excited are you?
Would you start to maybe forget the stipulation that the manager must press high, or widen the net to lesser leagues and be more pragmatic?