Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off season managerial merry go round - let the games begin

The off season has started to creep on us with England, France, Holland, Italy and Germany having their seasons over - only Spain remains with 2 more fixtures and real dog fight at the top of the table left to sort out.

But with the off season transfers, Euro qualifiers and managerial moves will consume our time. So let us look at the later since this has started in earnest with the departure of Deschamps from Juventus and Houllier from Lyon.

Deschamps did an admirable job taking a legendary club like Juventus, mired in disgrace and ensured its stay in Serie B be short. Winning Serie B with ease, Juventus will find themselves back where they belong next season, without their former player and coach. I think that Deschamps was at odds with the administration and quite honestly I think that neither side wanted the former holding midfielder to be at the helm past this season. He was using them as much as they were using his talents. Deschamps was able to motivate a bunch of players used to being at the top of Serie A as well as challenging for European trophies every season. Even with the relegation and point deduction, the Old Lady held on to many talented players, players that were more talented than 98% of those in Serie B. But Deschamps was able to ensure the motivation and concentration was strong the entire season. Managing in Serie A was a different story all together.....and for that I think Juve looks to their old manager - Capello.....all signs indicate that his stint at Real Madrid are short lived, irregardless of if he wins the Spanish title. I think Capello will want to return to the club where he was disgraced by the match fixing controversy and show everyone he can win Italian titles again.

And Real Madrid are turning soft eyes to the Special Whiner - Mourinho....the Portugese whine of war has been in an open spat with his Russian bank roller who appears to want to insert Hiddink as manager of Chelsea to allow his "toys" such as Ballack and Sheva to actually see the pitch...whether or not they will do anything on the pitch still remains to be seen. Mourinho had 3 seasons with the Russian billions and an all star team but could not get the title the London club wanted - Champions League glory.

Finally, Deschamps seems destined for a club like Lyon. Lyon has won 6 straight titles but is also chasing confirmation in the form of European glory. Deschamps was able to lead a surprise Monaco team to the Champions League finals 4 years ago, might he be the one to take on the Lyon squad and see if he can duplicate and better that feat? I think Deschamps is one of the few managers that would take on that challenge. He knows French football about as well as anyone in the game, he is well respected as a former player (one who has World Cup, European Cup and Champions League winner's trophies to point to) and he has demonstrated an ability to manage in Europe with Monaco. Lyon may also go a large change this off season (Malouda - rumored to Liverpool, Abidal, Juniho, to name a few) However they still have the largest coffers in France and a solid base to build on.

So all the pieces fall into place - Capello from Real Madrid back to Juventus, Mourinho from Chelsea to Real Madrid, Hiddink from Russian national team to Chelsea, Deschamps from Juventus to Lyon, Houllier from Lyon to French National Team (that should be interesting due to his public spat with French national team manager Domenech!) . . . then again all this gets thrown out the window when Wenger and Henry decide to go to Real Madrid, Mourinho quits to take on the Manchester City job saying he wants a real challenge, plus he can rent a room from SAF, and Houllier and Deschamps take over as co-managers of the US National team after Bradley gets sacked because the US losses to Guatemala.

Let the games begin!

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