What Next For The Four Old Men? (Hiddink 69, Wenger 66, Van Gaal 64, Pellegrini 62)

Posted: January 7, 2016 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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If we are to believe everything that we read, which we don’t, then all four of the above mentioned managers could be out of their jobs at the end of the season.

Guus Hiddink is an interim manager at Chelsea. He may do very well and be offered the job on a longer term basis. The question is, does he want it? He seems to be quite happy to flit in and out of jobs for short periods of time. He has also expressed a desire to spend more time fishing, which a short term contract would allow him to do at virtually anytime he wished.

Since his unsuccessful flirtations with Russia and the Netherlands national sides, Guus may feel that he is getting a little past it for the big stage. Although international management does not carry the day to day pressures of a domestic team, the whole weight of a country is on the shoulders of the coach when attempting to qualify for a tournament or even win one, so it is no surprise he has not leapt straight back into that side of the game. With Chelsea, he can walk away should he so decide. I think he will.

Arsene Wenger has a job for life should he so wish. It may be that he retires at the end of this season, particularly if he wins the Premier League. It may be that he decides to carry on for another year. I would imagine that Wenger would have a big say as to who succeeds him so the right person will have to be available for him to retire.

If and when he does hang up his long coat, we can expect him to take the short walk up the stairs at The Emirates to take on a director’s role of some description. The title is actually irrelevant as he would be an adviser on team strategy and transfers and would also take on a Director of Football-type of position.

Louis van Gaal has another year, after this one, on his contract. Whether or not he sees it out is, at the moment, anybody’s guess. It would appear to depend upon results during the second half of the season. He certainly doesn’t appear to be under any immediate threat of job loss as Jose Mourinho seems to have been overlooked again and Pep Guardiola’s journey to Manchester City is to be smooth and United-free.

The only thing, in my mind, that could stop van Gaal seeing out his final year, (other than disastrous results), is if a manager that United see as a long term replacement is available at the end of the season. Someone such as Diego Simeone, who is being linked more strongly each day. If this doesn’t happen, van Gaal will definitely retire to his villa in the Algarve on completion of his current contract.

Manuel Pellegrini is odds-on to leave Manchester City at the end of the season. He is the only one of the four who will, in my opinion, definitely be vacating his position. Not because he is a bad manager but because City, in their own inimitable way, think that the grass walked on by Pep Guardiola is greener than that under the feet of Pellegrini. It is a similar situation to when they decided they wanted Roberto Mancini to replace Mark Hughes. Hughes had done nothing wrong, he just wasn’t the right person for the job in the eyes of the City hierarchy.

Also unlike the other three, he is highly unlikely to retire. There would be clubs in the Premier League, and around Europe, who would be interested in his services . My feeling is that he will return to manage in Spain and don’t be too surprised if he turns up at Valencia. Gary Neville has already said that he doesn’t see his future in management and, if he isn’t successful between now and the end of the season, he could be returning to Sky sooner than expected.

So it could be that we see the end of the four old men when this season finishes and it could be that I am totally wrong and all four stay exactly where they are for another year. I think the answer is somewhere in between the two.

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