The Armchair guide to football transfers returns with a special focus on the crazy carousel of manager movements across the biggest clubs in European football.
Tiki Taka and treble winners
Bayern has [Jupp] Heynckes and it would be disrespectful to speak now about a team who has a coach. I want to return to management next year and that’s what I’ll do, but nothing has been decided.
Pep Guardiola, 7 January 2013
FC Bayern today announces that head coach Jupp Heynckes has decided to retire when his current contract expires on 30 June 2013. In his place, the club has appointed Pep Guardiola as head coach for three years from 1 July 2013.
FC Bayern Munich official statement, 16 January 2013
From as far back as January this year the news was released that former-treble winning Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola would be replacing Jupp Heynckes in Munich. This added an extra dimension to the mouth-watering clash when the two clubs met in the semi-final of the Champions League.
After defeating Barca with a convincing 7-0 thrashing, Bayern proceeded to win the Champions League, German Bundesliga and German Cup. Which made many wonder if the German Champions needed Guardiola at all, and if the forced retirement of Jupp Heynckes was perhaps a little unfair. Not only has their manager switched clubs, but it seems the title of ‘best club in Europe’ may have as well, with Bayern winning another clash between the two clubs in a recent 2-0 friendly.
But perhaps this isn’t the best time to judge which club is better, with Barcelona manager Tito Villanova stepping down last week to focus on his health problems. It was announced a short time later that Barcelona’s new manager would be Argentine Gerardo Martino. There may not be much known about the South American in European Football, but he has an impressive résumé.
Curriculum Vitae of Gerardo Daniel Martino
Born: 20 November 1962, Rosario, Argentina
2002-03 Club Libertad Paraguayan Primera Division 2002, 2003
2003-04 Cerro Porteno Paraguayan Primera Division 2004
2005-06 Club Libertad Paraguayan Primera Division 2006
2006-11 Paraguay National Team 2010 World Cup CONMEBOL Qualifiers First Place
2010 World Cup Quarterfinalists
2012-13 Newell’s Old Boys Argentine Preimera Division 2012-13
Gerardo Martino has a tough job ahead of him, as he challenges Real Madrid for the Spanish title and Bayern Munich for the European title. And the rivalry between the two clubs has continued, with Guardiola getting the signature of 22 year-old Thiago from Barcelona.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s chairman claimed that Thiago was ‘the biggest wish of our new coach Pep Guardiola. We’re delighted we’ve successfully negotiated this major transfer…Only recently, Thiago was named best player at the Under-21 European Championship. He’s a fantastic player with huge potential, and he will make FC Bayern stronger.”
The Manchester effect
Sir Alex Fergusson to retire as Manchester United Manager
BBC Sport 8 May 2013
One of the biggest sports stories of the year, the decision of Sir Alex Fergusson to finally retire after 26 year at Manchester United would have ramifications across the world of football. Replacing Sir Alex at Old Trafford was David Moyes, formerly of Everton. FA Cup winning manager with Wigan Athletic Roberto Martinez would take over at Everton.
After failing to keep up with Sir Alex and his team in the 2012-13 Premier League, as well as losing the FA Cup final to Wigan, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was led to the door by angry Oil-Sheiks. Former Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini replaced Mancini, with Bernd Schuster, previously from Real Madrid, taking over in Malaga.
United’s only addition, so far, has been 20 year-old Uruguayan Guillermo Varela. While Pellegrini has been much busier in the Blue half of Manchester, recently signing Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina and Alvaro Negredo from Sevilla.
Rumours coming out of Old Trafford suggest Moyes is after 26 year-old midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona. However, there are no confirmations, as yet, that the Spanish international will make a return to the Premier League, where he previously played with Arsenal.
Other reports claim that Wayne Rooney, once the Golden Boy of the Red Devils has become angry at being second-choice to Robin van Persie. Rumours link the English international with moves to Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The big money movers
Inter: Stramaccioni out, Mazzarri in
Napoli: Mazzarri out, Benitez in
Chelsea: Benitez out, Mourinho in
Real Madrid: Mourinho out, Ancelotti in
PSG: Ancelotti out, Blanc in
Walter Mazzarri is the new coach of Inter. The club thanks Andrea Stramaccioni for his efforts.
Inter Milan club statement, 24 May 2013
After a disappointing season under Stramaccioni, Inter Milan signed Walter Mazzarri from Napoli. The once-proud Italian club will hope Mazzarri can do well, having steered Napoli to a second place finish in the 2012-13 Serie A.
Benitez to succeed Walter Mazzarri at Napoli
27 May 2013, Goal.com
Replacing Mazzarri at Napoli, is former Inter manager Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard may have a difficult time after losing star striker Edinson Cavani to PSG for a reported 64 million euros. But Rafa has replaced the Urugyan with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain. Joining Higuain from Real Madrdid will be defender Raul Albiolo. Rafa has also brought Pepe Reina from former club Liverpool to Naples on a season-long loan spell.
Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Jose Mourinho as First Team Manager.
Chelsea FC club statement, 3 June 2013
The departure of Rafa from his interim-management position at Chelsea left the door wide open for the return of the Special One. Jose Mourinho claims that all previous issues with owner Roman Abromvich have been put to the side, and he is now looking to strengthen Chelsea ahead of a tough Premier League season.
Mourinho’s latest acquisition is 18 year-old Chilean defender Cristian Cuevas from the Chilean Primera Division. This signing, along with 20 year-old Dutchman van Ginkel and 22 year-old German Schurrle, shows that Mourinho is building and planning a team for the future. This can only be good for the Blues, with Chelsea legends Frank Lampard (35), John Terry (32) and Ashley Cole (32) close to retirement.
Chelsea have been rumoured to be interested in a number of players, including Wayne Rooney from Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic from PSG, and Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund. The fact that most of these rumours are for strikers may not bode well for Fernando Torres, who has been linked with moves to AC Milan, Fiorentina, and even back to former club Atletico Madrid.
Official: Real Madrid confirm Ancelotti signing
25 June 2013, Goal.com
Replacing Mourinho at Real Madrid is former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti was previously managing at PSG, where Laurent Blanc has now taken over. A number of high profile players from across Europe have been linked with possible moves to Los Blancos.
In stark contrast to Mourinho, Ancelotti’s comments on transfers at Real Madrid have been quite tame, even somewhat boring. Tottenham’s star striker Gareth Bale has been linked with moves to Madrid and United. Ancelotti didn’t have much to say on the 24 year-old: “I do not want to talk about Bale. Everyone knows what a great player he is but out of respect for those who are here I don’t want to talk about him.”
After one season at PSG, his club is already getting sick of him, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with transfers to Chelsea, Manchester City, and Real Madrid. Ancelotti let us know what he thinks of Zlatan, “Ibrahimovic is a fantastic player. He can play anywhere in the world”…before letting us know his current club situation, “but today he is not a Real Madrid player.”
Even on one of the big talking points in Spanish Football, the possible departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ancelotti didn’t have much to say, “Everybody knows he is a phenomenon and a great player…Renewing his contract is not my job but it won’t be a problem.” Thanks for that Carlo.
With a number of big manager changes across European football, expect some big player transfers to follow. Be sure to keep an eye out for further Armchair guide to transfer season articles to stay on top of all transfer news and rumours.