After two years in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world, Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Real Madrid. Despite winning the clubs 10th European title last season, Ancelotti has failed to deliver La Liga on two occasions, something that Real president Florentino Perez has deemed as unacceptable. During a press conference on Monday, Perez announced Ancelotti’s departure with immediate effect stating that they need a manager who can take them to the next level. That man looks likely to be Rafa Benitez with the former Liverpool and Valencia manager due to leave Napoli after Sunday’s final Serie A game against Lazio. Benitez has an established pedigree in La Liga having won it twice during his spell as Valencia boss and has shown that he can win trophies regardless of what team he manages. The appointment will not be universally welcomed with several players and fan groups disappointed with Ancelotti’s sacking. They see the removal of Ancelotti as a mistake as the Italian still had a lot to offer to the club. Real’s loss could however be Derby gain as they hunt for their new manager. However the East Midlands club is not interested in Ancelotti, but instead his faithful assistant at Real Madrid, Paul Clement.
Clement is not a name that was widely known three years ago when he was hired by Ancelotti to be part of his backroom staff at Paris Saint Germain. Having worked with the Englishman at Chelsea, the Italian has forged a strong bond with Clement and has entrusted him with key roles at both PSG and Real Madrid which has helped pull Clement into the media spotlight. The Derby job is available after the Rams fired Steve McLaren as their manager after a dismal end to the season. It looked a certainty that Derby would gain promotion back to the Premiership after a seven year absence with the club sitting top of the Championship at the end of February. However in the last 13 games of the season, Derby only won twice sliding down the table and out of the promotion places. Many believed that McLaren head had been turned by persistent rumours about interest from Newcastle for his services. McLarens failure to come out publically when the rumours first started and commit himself to Derby long term has ultimately led to his downfall. McLaren was sacked by the Derby board after the final game of the season, yet another defeat this time to Reading.
After McLaren rejected Mike Ashley’s SOS call last month when Newcastle were in real danger of relegation, the owner has now decided to look elsewhere leaving McLaren in managerial limbo. It will be a bitter blow for McLaren who saw his stock on the rise again after difficult spells at Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest. Newcastle has been linked with several managers and head coaches over the past six months since Alan Pardew left for Crystal Palace. With the bumbling John Carver due to leave the club, Newcastle are exploring their options with Ajax’s Frank De Boer, Lyon’s Remi Garde and Lekhwiya’s Michael Laudrup as the front runners. However the availability of Roberto Di Matteo, who quit Schalke today will throw a spanner in the works for Newcastle’s hiring committee with the Italian’s reputation and past success in the Premiership perhaps making him a safer option.
Di Matteo’s seven and a half month spell in Germany did not quite go as planned. Picking up where Jens Keller left off, Di Matteo inherited one of the Bundesliga’s brightest squads with the talented young trio of Julian Draxler, Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka leading the way. Despite a promising start which saw Schalke climb up the table into third, results have not gone Di Matteo’s way in recent weeks with the club sliding back down the table and away from the Champions League places. This summer was meant to be a transitional period for the club with Di Matteo looking to strengthen his side with several new faces. However a disagreement over the forward vision of the club between Di Matteo and the clubs sporting director, Horst Heldt has led to the former Chelsea and West Brom boss handing in his resignation. The relationship between the two has not been great over his time at Schalke with rumours persisting that Di Matteo was never the first choice. He is said to have landed the Schalke job back in October 2014 after the club had an approach for the out of work Thomas Tuchel turned down by the 41 year old. Tuchel, who left Mainz in April 2014 decided against joining Schalke at that stage in the season, instead deciding to hold out until the new season to see what other options presented themselves. That approach has worked wonderfully for Tuchel as he has now been appointed as Jürgen Klopp’s successor at Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool has not had the best of seasons, failing to emulate the success they found last year when they finished second in the Premiership. Manager Brendan Rodgers has faced a lot of criticism in recent months with several pundits claiming that Liverpool have gone backwards this season with Rodgers being one of the key reasons. The club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group have to dated backed their under fire boss but with several high profile managers available this summer, Rodgers position is anything but safe. Top of that list is the charismatic Klopp who is available after a seven year spell in charge of Dortmund. One of the most highly rated coaches in the game today; Klopp is in high demand but will be looking for a club that can offer him regular champion’s league football. Despite finishing 6th this season, Liverpool has the squad and the potential to offer this to him unlike other English sides like Newcastle, West Ham or Brentford with the latter already making an audacious approach to land the German. Brentford, who sacked their manager Mark Warbutton despite finishing in the Championship playoff spots, made the approach early last week only to be turned down. The ambitious club has not been deterred and news that another top coach has been released from his contract was greeted with enthusiasm by The Bees. Whether or not Ancelotti will trade the Bernabeau for Griffin Park is yet to be seen.