Who will take over as the next Real Madrid manager now that Zinedine Zidane has shockingly stepped aside? Well, it’s very early to speculate, as the dust has barely even settled on the Frenchman’s surprise news conference. Then again the betting market has already set odds on who could be the next man to lead the Reyes del Europa, so I guess it’s actually not too soon to assess the pros and cons of all the leading candidates.
Here are six individuals who are receiving the most favorable odds from the sports books and how they might fit in at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Germany national team manager Joachim Low
He has emerged as the early favorite, as he’s the man who fits the sweet spot of biggest name/most accomplished while also being the most realistically obtainable. He was also considered an early favorite for the Arsenal job, and his name will be tossed out first whenever any other big job comes open this summer.
Youth-team manager and former player Guti
Of course an in-house candidate is likely to be in the mix, and Guti stands out among those that fit this bill. After all, staying within the program is always a safe option, especially at a place like Great White, where they literally didn’t even have room in their trophy case for their 13th European Cup.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte
He’s not officially available….yet….but it’s pretty obvious that Roman Abramovich wouldn’t put up much of a fight in letting the Italian move on. What a great result it would be for Conte too! You got to feel for him, at least a little bit, as the press has spent the entire season printing stories about his inevitable sacking…which still hasn’t happened yet.
Tottenham Hotspur Manager Mauricio Pochettino
While this perfectly fits the “next logical step up” motif, and many are tossing this name around, obviously this transaction would prove very difficult. The Argentinian signed a new five-year deal to stay at White Hart Lane just last week. Still when Madrid comes calling, no matter what point in your life that is, you got to accept the charges.
Former Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger
While this may not be the most popular choice among Madristas, he does have a proven track record of winning, he is available, and he’s a man who absolutely lives for managing. Also, he already has a history of considering the gig.
“Real Madrid, I think I turned them down two or three times,” Wenger said during an interview with beIN Sports, which was published yesterday, before Zidane’s shocking announcement today.
“It’s one of the teams I loved when I was a kid. I just felt that it was a very sensitive period for Arsenal Football Club. When we built the [Emirates] stadium, the banks asked for me to commit for five years. And the first time [Madrid made an approach] it was inside the five years, and I thought: ‘no I cannot do that. That would be to betray my club.’”
Juventus Manager Max Allegri
While the trio of managers who led giant London clubs this past season will likely grab all the manager search headlines, at least for now, Allegri might be the best fit of all. He was plugged into an already established, winning program, and kept the consistency and winning going. That’s exactly what Madrid should want and need.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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