The Special Ones (manager talk)

coremiller

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I get that it's a big step up for Kompany, and it's hard to turn down, but it's kind of a strange move given his management style per DH. There's no chance to build anything at Bayern, no matter how well he does. Bayern haven't had a manager make it through two full seasons since Pep left in 2016, and they haven't had a manager last three full seasons since Ottmar Hitzfeld in 1998-04. If Kompany thinks he needs time to implement his philosophy and playing style, he's not going to get it at Bayern. It could work out, but he seems much more likely to fail spectacularly.

Personally, I think this is all part of God's plan to ensure that Harry Kane never wins any trophies. Keep rolling that rock up the hill, Harry.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There is a not-entirely-implausible scenario in which United hire McKenna, Chelsea hire Maresca, and between those two and Kompany we end up with three of the biggest clubs in the world managed by guys whose main managerial achievement is securing promotion out of the Championship.
 

rguilmar

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Big ups to Gasperini for his first trophy.
Is Atalanta under Gasperini the best run club in the world? They’ve banked over a half billion Euros in sales- Hojlund, Romero, Kessie, Bastoni, Gosens, Bastoni and so on- while being a fixture in Europe. Almost always one of the top scoring clubs in the big five European leagues, they set the record for most goals in a season in Serie A history. The squad is almost always made up of youngsters you’ve never heard of and reclamation projects you forgot played the game. Eight seasons in a row recording a profit while playing extremely entertaining soccer.

"I am hugely proud for all of Italy because it was a cursed trophy," said Gasperini's at full time. "Having won it with Atalanta is perhaps one of those footballing fairytales that rarely crop up. It gives hope for meritocracy. It doesn't come down to Super Leagues. You can show faith in other teams without big bills and budgets. Let's try to savour this win before thinking about how far we can go next season. This team has grown with results. We've done so while making sure we balance the books or turn a profit and that's the most exceptional element of this club."
 

wonderland

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Napoli, up until this year, could make that claim too. They’ve sold a number of players for nice profits - Higuain, Allan, Jorginho, Min-jae to name a few - while keeping the team mostly in the champions league and a Serie A title.
 

Kliq

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I'd argue Inter, which has retooled under Inzaghi and ran away with Serie A this season, is also in the mix. For as comical as the finances have been in Serie A, the league has been really competitive since Juventus fell from the top.
 

wonderland

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But their ownership just changed hands because the owner couldn’t meet its debt payment. On the field, they’ve been impressive though.
 

rguilmar

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All of those clubs are impressive but have a much higher payroll, significantly larger fan bases, and often operate in debt. Atalanta punch well above their weight and make loads of cash. But you’re right Seria A post-Juve dynasty is chaotic fun.

Speaking of chaos, La Liga managers are dropping like flies. I somehow missed that Javier Aguirre is not returning to Mallorca. He’s done a great job there and is well liked. I can see him finding a new place in La Liga. Former Osasuna manager Jagoba Arrasate will replace Aguirre. Arrásate did a wonderful job in Pamplona, but the stress of leading his hometown club took its toll. Hopefully life on the island treats him well. He’s one of the genuinely nice man in soccer, a rare breed. Pimienta had a great start to the season at Las Palmas and was even rumored to be on Barca’s list of Xavi replacements. Rumors are that he is off to Sevilla next season.

View: https://twitter.com/sidlowe/status/1793673582826127454?s=46&t=XvGOrrWIyL-5CHVVL_0JYQ


Xavi’s position at Barca is still unclear and Flick is the rumored replacement.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Plymouth looking to enjoy league one again apparently.

I'm very fond of the Flick move because word out of Sheffield is that Danny Rohl is about to ink a 3 year deal with Wednesday (thank Jobu because Rohl has a vision and Chansiri committing to him hopefully means he's ready to move into the 21st century)...Rohl is very close with Hansi Flick (he took in a couple of games at Hillsborough this year) so maybe some loans from Barca?

edit: official
https://x.com/swfc/status/1793982815119253604?s=46&t=Sgf7OJGkZ5_XzhqtYsGdmw
 
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bosox4283

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Xavi sacked. Flick in.

I was never much of a Xavi fan, but his treatment by the club has been deplorable. I hope an all time great can find something he enjoys. I don’t think being the manager at Barcelona was ever something he liked doing.
Either AS or Marca was attempting to make the case that, because Xavi promised the club that he would not be a problem, there is a chance that he would waive the buy-out that he and his staff are owed. Right...
 

rguilmar

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Either AS or Marca was attempting to make the case that, because Xavi promised the club that he would not be a problem, there is a chance that he would waive the buy-out that he and his staff are owed. Right...
When he initially announced that he was stepped down after the season, Xavi agreed to waive everything.

Then they begged him to stay and fired him a month later.

View: https://twitter.com/fabrizioromano/status/1793982056721973729?s=46&t=XvGOrrWIyL-5CHVVL_0JYQ
 

rguilmar

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Barca really wanted to pay him not to coach them when they could have just let him walk away for free.
Assuming the reporting is accurate and that Laporta was enraged by Xavi when the manager cautioned that the club didn’t have the money to be very busy over the summer, this would be the ultimate flex. Not only do we have the money to be busy in the transfer window, but we can even pay you when we didn’t have to.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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There is a not-entirely-implausible scenario in which United hire McKenna, Chelsea hire Maresca, and between those two and Kompany we end up with three of the biggest clubs in the world managed by guys whose main managerial achievement is securing promotion out of the Championship.
Multiple reports of ETH being sacked by ManU after the FA Cup final. I perversely hope they win it just to spite the board’s handling of the whole ETH saga.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I know Leicester played a very patient possession style that did struggle to break down teams that larked the bus. I think Maresca is a very tactical coach, kind of Pep-like in his preparation. Seemed the consensus was he did a good job, albeit with maybe the most talented team in the division.

current internet scuttlebutt suggests that McKenna is likely to sign a new deal to stay with Ipswich and that Brighton is now leaning towards…Graham Potter
 

the1andonly3003

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What now for Roberto De Zerbi? - The Athletic (nytimes.com)

Those close to De Zerbi say this reflects the character of a man who is motivated chiefly by football rather than the monetary rewards it brings. And while the Italian can be as animated behind the scenes as he is on the touchline, the tensions he creates are natural in football — if not always in English football.
When De Zerbi first arrived in September 2022, his training sessions were “baffling”, according to Brighton captain Lewis Dunk.

“The first meeting when he went in, I was so confused — who to look at, what to listen to — but you slowly pick up. Basically, don’t listen to the manager, wait for the translator to speak and you get there in the end,” he reflected earlier this season.

“Training changed dramatically, we worked on a lot of different stuff and the first couple of weeks were a really hard transition. We were fourth in the league when Graham (Potter, De Zerbi’s predecessor) left and we were flying with him and it was a strange time for him to go, and then Roberto came in and it was a carnage two weeks.”

Dunk ended up seeing football “in a completely different way” and other players were also impressed with what De Zerbi taught them. The result was a style of play that brought admiration from his peers.
Could see RDZ succeed Pep
 

Zososoxfan

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Re Barca's treatment of Xavi:

83249

Bigly. The guy has been a punching bag for the club during hard times, he graciously bows out, gets begged to stay, then they can him anyway? WTF?

Xavi was one of the best and most memorable players ever, but he's not a particularly good manager yet. That's not his fault--he's a young manager! That said, Flick is much more experienced and should get more out of the squad, even if it doesn't change much this summer.

The other person on a hot seat right now in Catalunya is Deco. Barca's transfer business hasn't been that good since he took over, and Laporta isn't going to take Ls for him. That said, Laporta is now facing down a crucial year or two before the Board starts thinking about calling for votes.
 

bosox4283

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Xavi was one of the best and most memorable players ever, but he's not a particularly good manager yet. That's not his fault--he's a young manager! That said, Flick is much more experienced and should get more out of the squad, even if it doesn't change much this summer.
I didn't follow closely Xavi's success with tactics and game-planning, so maybe Flick will indeed do more there. Instead, from afar, I thought Xavi's strength was giving young players a chance, building their confidence, and creating the foundation for the future. He seems to have truly launched a handful of careers, and some players into potential stardom. So, perhaps Flick now needs to build on individual talent and create a better team?
 

rguilmar

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Apparently Barca are only going to reimburse his exit fee that he paid the SA club out of pocket, and his backroom staff.
This was something Xavi agreed to back in January and in a press conference this weekend he said he would honor. If I was in his shoes, I’d be collecting my salary next season too because of what they put him through.

I didn't follow closely Xavi's success with tactics and game-planning, so maybe Flick will indeed do more there. Instead, from afar, I thought Xavi's strength was giving young players a chance, building their confidence, and creating the foundation for the future. He seems to have truly launched a handful of careers, and some players into potential stardom. So, perhaps Flick now needs to build on individual talent and create a better team?
I’ll let Zoso answer more thoroughly on tactics, but it always seemed like Xavi had a hard time getting players to execute the that he wanted them to. He would say how he wants his teams to play, but the reality of what we saw on the pitch never matched his vision. I’ve been more than a little critical of Xavi as a manager, and I think in the end moving on was the right decision. It’s more how the club handled it all that bugs me (and everyone else).

I also don’t understand why Deco seems to be getting a free pass here from the club. The club have spent tons of money and mortgaged the future in the process, and they really haven’t brought in the talent to justify these expenses. The way I look at it, when Barca recover and are great again- and I firmly believe this possible in their near term future- who will be on that team? All of the names I can think of either come from La Masia or predate Deco with maybe Vitor Roque involved. I understand the limitations and that the club was likely looking to bridge the gap until the Nou Camp Nou is ready (I hate that Xavi called it that), but Deco spent his time recruiting aging players that share the same agent. Laporta has either hitched his wagon to Deco or has him prepped as the fall guy if things don’t get better soon. Or both.
 

67YAZ

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Word is Chelsea have agreed to a £10m fee with Leciester, now it's down to the contact with Maresca. I've even seen suggestions that Chelsea will give him 5 years. Gotta amortize that feed.

Tricky moment for Leciester to find a new manager. I'm a big Jon Rudkin fan, think he's among the finest directors in the sport. I'm sure he has a strong list of candidates lined up, will be interesting to see where they go.

In tangential news, Claudio Ranieri is hanging up his whistle at age 72. He took over Cagliari mid-last-seaon and got them promoted via the Serie B playoffs. And then he kept the club up this season by a single point. This is a nice bookend for Ranieri - he made his name by guiding Cagliari to consecutive promotions from Serie C to the top flight from 1988-1990. He ends his career with 912 matches managed across the Big 5 leagues. And an EPL trophy on his shelf.
 

SocrManiac

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I've even seen suggestions that Chelsea will give him 5 years.
Chelsea handing out a five year managerial deaT… there must be a German word for “Contract everybody knows is fake but we’re going to pretend it’s not.”
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Word is Chelsea have agreed to a £10m fee with Leciester, now it's down to the contact with Maresca. I've even seen suggestions that Chelsea will give him 5 years. Gotta amortize that feed.

Tricky moment for Leciester to find a new manager. I'm a big Jon Rudkin fan, think he's among the finest directors in the sport. I'm sure he has a strong list of candidates lined up, will be interesting to see where they go.

In tangential news, Claudio Ranieri is hanging up his whistle at age 72. He took over Cagliari mid-last-seaon and got them promoted via the Serie B playoffs. And then he kept the club up this season by a single point. This is a nice bookend for Ranieri - he made his name by guiding Cagliari to consecutive promotions from Serie C to the top flight from 1988-1990. He ends his career with 912 matches managed across the Big 5 leagues. And an EPL trophy on his shelf.
To draw that tangential connection a little closer, the last Chelsea manager to make it past 2.5 full seasons in charge of the club was....Claudio Ranieri from 2000-2004.

I'm not sure what Boehly et al are up to with that five year contract, maybe backloading the payments in order to help with PSR calculations in the near term. That kind of thing sounds good in theory until you're sacking Graham Potter seven months into a five year deal and negotiating severance.
 

rguilmar

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Garcia Pimienta will be the next manager at Sevilla. In January he was on the list of potential Xavi replacements at Barcelona. His Las Palmas were flying then. Now not so much.

Turning over an aging squad at the city’s second biggest club is only part of the challenge. A demanding fan base just coming out of their glory years poses another challenge. But dealing with the most dysfunctional boardroom in La Liga is the real problem.

View: https://twitter.com/fabrizioromano/status/1796127415787254116?s=46&t=XvGOrrWIyL-5CHVVL_0JYQ
 

OilCanMDS

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Jumping in a few days late on the Xavi stuff, I agree that he was inadequate at times as a manager but I think he was really hurt by the roster construction. Last season, the team looked much better with a true CDM and I would say the best setup he had was Dembele at RW taking guys off the dribble with Pedri or Gavi at LW with those two and FDJ rotating around frequently. The ball moved well, solid chances were created and the defense looked sturdy. I am not sure what's Xavi's ultimate vision was of the team this season, but the LW position never looked good until Raphinha started excelling there later in the season, and the midfield defense was kind of awful. Without a forward that could consistently open up defenses, I think Xavi had hoped that fast ball movement and guys like Gavi, Pedri, Frenkie, Gundogan, Lewa, Fermin, Cancelo, etc moving around in the middle of the field would create openings, but the attack always looked a little out of sorts. I think the attacking numbers at the end of the season were solid overall in terms of stuff like chances created and expected goals, but it felt like in most matches the team would go through long lulls of ineffective ball movement followed by 10 minutes where they would score multiple goals. The team really needed a veteran wing that could create off the dribble and a CDM that could help with the press and protecting passing lanes in the center of the pitch, which in turn would help with the attack if possession could be won back in the opponent's half. Ultimately, I think Xavi prioritized playing safe and covering up Barca's weaknesses versus aggressively going at other team's weaknesses. Was that a philosophy thing? Personnel issue? Could he just not properly find the weaknesses in the opponent and implement a plan to exploit them? I really don't know, but after 2.5 seasons I am inclined to believe the latter option because it always felt like the team was set up to not fail rather than go for knockout blows.

As for Flick, I guess I'm interested to see a new take on this team, but it's hard to get excited about a guy with his history. He has 1 1/2 years of coaching a top club, including one year where he won 6 trophies. However, that year was the season that covid ruined, and he has virtually no success outside of that season. His Germany team looked awful, and he hasn't worked since he was fired from there. I'm trying to convince myself to just focus on the one great year on his resume, but this sure looks like a guy that's going to be fired within the next year. It's giving me Tata Martino vibes where the team basically said let's just bring in an outsider to shake things up, and everything he did fell flat.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The ultimate wind up merchant walking into the midst of the fiercest club rivalries in all of football?

This will be great theater as long as he doesn't end up stabbed in an Istanbul back alley by a Trabzonspor ultra.
 

rguilmar

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Per Fab, deal is done. Matches there are so fiery hot that away fans aren’t even allowed in the stadiums.

Fenerbahce had 99 points this season, the only problem being that arch rivals Galatasaray got 102. Add Mourinho to this, and that away match at Galatasaray is going to a powder keg.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Per Fab, deal is done. Matches there are so fiery hot that away fans aren’t even allowed in the stadiums.

Fenerbahce had 99 points this season, the only problem being that arch rivals Galatasaray got 102. Add Mourinho to this, and that away match at Galatasaray is going to a powder keg.
For while Fener-Galatasaray is the classic derby, for whatever reason their rivalry with Trabzonspor has been even wilder in recent years.

Imagine Mourinho as the ringleader of this mad circus.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoRotWeO_Mw
 

rguilmar

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For while Fener-Galatasaray is the classic derby, for whatever reason their rivalry with Trabzonspor has been even wilder in recent years.

Imagine Mourinho as the ringleader of this mad circus.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoRotWeO_Mw
They’ve always been rivals of sorts because the two cities are rivals. Trabzonspor’s extreme hate for Fener goes back like ten years or so when the two clubs ended up tied on points for the championship but Fenerbahce won on GD. There were some controversial decisions in a late season game between the two clubs that favored Fener, and Trabzonspor fans have felt cheated ever since.

I don’t follow Turkish soccer much, but their fans make an interesting sideshow. They’re like the Florida Man of club soccer to me. Most of what I know about Trabzonspor comes from this show, where at one point they discuss how the fans sued the club because rooting for Trabzonspor was so stressful that it was bad for their health:

View: https://youtu.be/6MIVFzQ59HA?si=BnW93CVPps-eoDcb
 

Jettisoned

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Get the guy a DM under 30 and a right footed centre back who can pass the ball and he'll go places. They were awful this year because Martinez and Shaw were injured for most of the season and as a result their most frequently used CB's were Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans, who, if you'll recall, were Leicester City's preferred CB pairing 6 years ago (they finished 9th).

Bonus points if they dump Sancho and replace Rashford with someone who doesn't take every other season off.
 

the1andonly3003

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Get the guy a DM under 30 and a right footed centre back who can pass the ball and he'll go places. They were awful this year because Martinez and Shaw were injured for most of the season and as a result their most frequently used CB's were Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans, who, if you'll recall, were Leicester City's preferred CB pairing 6 years ago (they finished 9th).

Bonus points if they dump Sancho and replace Rashford with someone who doesn't take every other season off.
Sounds like Rashford is due for a good season!
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Get the guy a DM under 30 and a right footed centre back who can pass the ball and he'll go places. They were awful this year because Martinez and Shaw were injured for most of the season and as a result their most frequently used CB's were Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans, who, if you'll recall, were Leicester City's preferred CB pairing 6 years ago (they finished 9th).

Bonus points if they dump Sancho and replace Rashford with someone who doesn't take every other season off.
Injuries were bad but ETH spent 400m. It was his squad. He was the guy who blew a king’s ransom on players like Antony and Mount while going cheap on defenders like Evan’s and Malacia.

Also, this side wasn’t just ordinary bad. They finished 95th out of 96 sides across the top leagues in shots conceded. By XG differential they were easily the worst big six side of the last ten years in England.
 

rguilmar

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Injuries were bad but ETH spent 400m. It was his squad. He was the guy who blew a king’s ransom on players like Antony and Mount while going cheap on defenders like Evan’s and Malacia.

Also, this side wasn’t just ordinary bad. They finished 95th out of 96 sides across the top leagues in shots conceded. By XG differential they were easily the worst big six side of the last ten years in England.
Isn’t this a reason to keep him around? Unless you have another manager lined up who uses players in a similar way, you will need to drop another £400 million on players for the new manager?

The Chelsea Method
 

teddykgb

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They also loaned Amrabat to be a DM under 30 and that didn’t do much good. They’d have been better with their first choice CB but ETHs transfer choices have been largely putrid
 

Jettisoned

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Injuries were bad but ETH spent 400m. It was his squad. He was the guy who blew a king’s ransom on players like Antony and Mount while going cheap on defenders like Evan’s and Malacia.
400m is not enough to fix a shitty mid-table squad loaded with overrated malcontents, let alone over 2 seasons. What's the average spend for the giant European clubs over a full calendar year now, 120m or so? Chelsea spent over 1 billion pounds over the same time period and they only really figured things out in the second half of this season. When Ten Hag got there, Bruno was the only reliable, talented player in the squad. The rest are mediocre, or weak-willed quitters, or both. I mean look at this play from Rashford, he was like this all season:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOq9sO7rO0A



They went cheap on Malacia because they already had Luke Shaw. The problem is that Shaw gets fat and plays lazily unless he's got competition for his starting spot, so spending the big club equivalent of couch change on Malacia is actually a pretty good move. They'd have been much better off if he'd been fit this season. Antony's been a flop but every big club has flubbed a big transfer for a left footed RW in the past 5-10 years, so I don't know why it's used as an indication that ETH specifically is not fit to manage a big club.

Sacking this guy now under these circumstances is basically admitting that fixing United is impossible. You'd have to run the table with a summer transfer window getting at least 4 high quality starters and get them playing aesthetically pleasing football with title challenge results in under a month, or everyone starts calling for your job. You'd also have to do that with a useless front office who offers no insight into decent transfer targets and way overpays for everyone you ask them to get. Oh yeah, plus a medical team that clears all your players too early causing multiple rehab setbacks so they miss the entire season. Malacia, Shaw, Martinez and Mount all re-aggravated injuries because they were cleared to play again too early.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Isn’t this a reason to keep him around? Unless you have another manager lined up who uses players in a similar way, you will need to drop another £400 million on players for the new manager?

The Chelsea Method
I think they're trying to change that in the long term by having a more sporting director led recruitment model, as many clubs seemingly want to do. Much easier said than done but that's the idea.

In the short term, I believe INEOS likely views this year as one in which the most important things are not what's happening on the pitch. Its about getting their CEO and sporting director into place, instituting a new scouing, recruitment, and data operation, getting a real start on big picture issues like the stadium and facilities, etc. So I think keeping ETH around makes sense in that its likely to be a somewhat rough year anyway. If he really exceeds expectations, great. But if its a rocky or sort of middling year, then he can take the fall, and next summer the new sporting director and CEO can bring in the manager they really want, with a plan to seriously back him in the market but to do it in a way that aligns with their new recruitment model and vision.
 

coremiller

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I think they're trying to change that in the long term by having a more sporting director led recruitment model, as many clubs seemingly want to do. Much easier said than done but that's the idea.

In the short term, I believe INEOS likely views this year as one in which the most important things are not what's happening on the pitch. Its about getting their CEO and sporting director into place, instituting a new scouing, recruitment, and data operation, getting a real start on big picture issues like the stadium and facilities, etc. So I think keeping ETH around makes sense in that its likely to be a somewhat rough year anyway. If he really exceeds expectations, great. But if its a rocky or sort of middling year, then he can take the fall, and next summer the new sporting director and CEO can bring in the manager they really want, with a plan to seriously back him in the market but to do it in a way that aligns with their new recruitment model and vision.
Also, since they recognize they're probably not going to be good next year anyway no matter what they do, and they're building for the long term, there's no point in taking the hit of paying off ETH's contract to get rid of him for a marginal short term improvement.
 

the1andonly3003

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I think they're trying to change that in the long term by having a more sporting director led recruitment model, as many clubs seemingly want to do. Much easier said than done but that's the idea.

In the short term, I believe INEOS likely views this year as one in which the most important things are not what's happening on the pitch. Its about getting their CEO and sporting director into place, instituting a new scouing, recruitment, and data operation, getting a real start on big picture issues like the stadium and facilities, etc. So I think keeping ETH around makes sense in that its likely to be a somewhat rough year anyway. If he really exceeds expectations, great. But if its a rocky or sort of middling year, then he can take the fall, and next summer the new sporting director and CEO can bring in the manager they really want, with a plan to seriously back him in the market but to do it in a way that aligns with their new recruitment model and vision.
ending their WFH/hybrid policy was their first step *eyeroll*
 

rguilmar

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Terzic is out at Dortmund. Gio time!

edit: now having read the story I should not have been that enthusiastic.
 
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