The first moves in the coaching carousel that will determine what teams rule Europe for the next five years have been made with Carlo Ancelotti set to replace Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich next season.
Next year will be unprecedented in football as five of the six richest clubs in the world could be looking for a new manager.
According to the Spanish newspaper MARCA, Pep Guardiola has decided to leave Bayern at the end of the season with the Premier League and Manchester City his likely destination.
On December 15 Guardiola told German broadcaster ARD that he will announce his future next week, amid speculation linking him with a move to Manchester City.
“Tonight I have no answer. Next week you will know the answer. Next week there will be clarity,” he said.
Marca later reported that the former Barcelona boss had decided against renewing his stay in Germany due to a
“fundamental disconnect between his footballing philosophy and the club’s ethos”.
The Spanish publication believes that Guardiola informed Bayern of his intentions last week, as the German champions moved quickly to sign the best available manager in Ancelotti and his introduction is expected to be made official next week.
So with Pep heading to Manchester City and Ancelotti heading to Bayern, where does that leave Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United?
Real are expected to replace Rafa Benitez with Zinedine Zidane as soon as next week. Chelsea are struggling to find someone to take over from Jose Mourinho until the summer where they will probably target Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone or Italy boss Antonio Conte. Simeone will be a great fit for Chelsea, while Conte is not as attractive as he will spend the summer managing Italy at Euro 2016, which does not end until July 10.
The odd team out here looks like Manchester United. United might be stuck with van Gaal for another season simply because there is not another world class manager to replace him. With The the best manager in world football heading to Eastlands, and the prospect of van Gaal returning must give United fans nightmares.
The winners of this coaching carousel have to be Man City and Bayern Munich. City get the best manager in the world, while Bayern gets a proven winner who will not rock the boat.
For Chelsea it depends on who replaces Mourinho. I really like Simeone and Conte and either would do a good job at Stamford Bridge.
The losers here appear to be Real Madrid and Man United. For all the negative headlines in MARCA, Zidane is not an improvement over Benitez.
And it is clear that van Gaal is not the answer at United. But with the prospect of Guardiola and City, Simeone at Chelsea, Wenger at Arsenal and Klopp at Liverpool, United could possibly have at best the fifth best manager in the Premier League. And ranking LVG fifth might be generous. When was the last time that was true?