As many football analysts say, “coaches are hired to be fired” it sounds tough, but the reality is not far from that phrase. Gone are the days when football was more rewarding in terms of the longevity of managers and loyalty.
Jurgen Klopp is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League; he has spent eight years at Liverpool since joining in 2015. In La Liga, it’s Diego Simeone who has spent twelve years at Atletico Madrid
Nowadays, football managers leave when the ovation is loudest and sometimes relieved of their job if they don’t meet expectations despite financial support.
It is not surprising to see football clubs having up to four different managers in a season, as is the case with Valencia in La Liga, and Chelsea have had three different coaches this season in the Premier League, among many other examples.
Despite this, some brilliant coaches are without a job in 2023, some for the lack of interest from clubs, and some for the lack of appropriate coaching jobs that suit their profile as top-class coaches.
There are also some who started very young but failed to live up to expectations, although they could still have more in their bags for football.
Whichever bracket they fall into, let’s take a look at 10 top managers in football who are currently jobless either by choice or by lack of chances.
Top 10 Football Coaches Who Are Currently Free Agents (2023)
Here are the top 10 best football coaches who are currently free agents.
10. Andre Villas-Boas
Despite his relatively young age, the Portuguese coach has coached quite a huge number of sides.
The 45-year-old has built up an incredible list of teams he has coached, including FC Porto, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Olympique Marseille.
Take out his stint in the Premier League, Andre Villas-Boas would stand as one of the most underrated and exciting managers to look out for in football.
In his mid-30s, he was league champion in Portugal with Porto in 2010/2011, doing it unbeaten.
He may have a trophyless stint with Chelsea and Tottenham, but his period at North London was one that showed his brilliance more than at Stamford Bridge, breaking records.
However, the pressure was intense in England, and he left for Russia, where he did wonders with Zenit.
That probably ignited a return to Europe’s mainstream after a stint in China, but his time at Olympique Marseille was short but dramatic; earning a rare win against PSG and returned them to the UEFA Champions League but was suspended just after he tendered his resignation in 2021.
He has been off a job since then but continues to be linked with big jobs, and a return with a big bang is definitely imminent.
Did you know? Andre Villas-Boas is one of the few coaches who never played football.
9. Rafael Benítez
It’s hard to wonder why Rafael Benítez is out of a job looking at how far he has come and some of his achievements with Liverpool, where he led them to the UEFA Champions League final twice, winning one and losing the other in the mid-2000s.
Perhaps his problem is the inability to stay long at a club.
The Spanish manager is a journeyman who has handled a dozen clubs in his career across Spain, Italy, China, and England.
His time at Valencia gave them two La Liga titles, and he has managed to win at least one trophy at Chelsea, Inter Milan, Napoli, and even Newcastle, but never at Real Madrid despite coaching them in 2015/2016.
Benitez may return soon but don’t rule out a big club as a destination, even though his most successful periods weren’t at the biggest clubs.
8. Marcelo Bielsa
Marcelo Bielsa is a man who always lined up with the finest of managers to have ever been in this game.
His most recent job was at Leeds United, and he left a good impression until it went awry.
He returned them to the Premier League with the big boys and had them play like the big boys before inconsistencies and injuries sabotaged him.
Expect a team to make a gamble on him soon, and it definitely will be a good stake.
7. Graham Potter
Graham Potter wasn’t ripe for the big stage before his move to Chelsea, but he has shown with time, his profile can rise.
His first big achievement was winning the Swedish cup Oosterunds and also leading them to the Europa League.
He got them promoted in 2015 and guided them to eight on the log that season before going to do something similar at Brighton a few seasons later.
Moreover, his time at Swansea and Brighton were exceptional, earning a move to Chelsea, which many deemed premature to his CV.
He didn’t last a year on his Chelsea contract and has been replaced by Frank Lampard, who may feature on this list at the end of his interim deal.
6. Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers burst into the limelight with Celtic, having led them to an Invincible season in 2016/2017 in Scotland and winning a local treble.
Leicester City deemed him fit to continue from where Claudio Ranieri stopped after their groundbreaking Premier League win in 2016. Obviously, there was no one better to take charge than Brendan Rodgers.
While at Liverpool, he was a nearly man, but he did take Leicester City to places they only dreamt of previously prior to their 2016 league title triumph.
He qualified them for consecutive UEFA Europa League places and won them the FA Cup as well as the community shield.
He left the job in 2023 after the Foxes failed to improve on their Premier League standing as they currently stare at relegation.
Rodgers shouldn’t be one to stay out of a job for long; North London may be his next destination, though.
5. Luis Enrique
He may not have led Spain further enough at the last world cup, and he may not even be the fanciest of names on the list, but clubs won’t mind having Luis Enrique as their coach.
But why is he still jobless long enough to make this list? His last job was with Spain at the World Cup, although his second stint at the national team was not expected to end disappointingly the way it did.
However, his La Liga and UEFA Champions League success at Barcelona as their manager is enough to entice a club needing a head coach, and the Premier League beckons.
4. Julian Nagelsmann
Julian Nagelsmann’s sacking at Bayern Munich was shocking, to say the least, he may have emerged in 2016 with Hoffenheim, but he has built a steady reputation since then.
He led Hoffenheim to the Champions League for the first time, and he did that as the youngest manager ever at 31 before moving to RB Leipzig, where he constantly featured in the UEFA Champions League also got to his first semi-final in 2020, losing to PSG.
It’s hard not to win the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, and he did win the league in his first season in Bavaria after Bayern Munich paid €25m to take Nagelsmann away from Leipzig.
His second season was already going as planned until evil shockingly sacked after the World Cup when Bayern Munich said that his performances fluctuated prior to this.
The Bundesliga Giants had not lost in the UEFA Champions League game all season and had lost their quarter-final first leg game against Manchester City’s 3-0, sacking Nagelsmann will definitely look like a mistake.
Even if he stays jobless till the end of the season, he would likely not start next season without a managerial position.
Did you know? Julian Nagelsmann is one of the youngest football coaches in the world.
3. Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino broke into the limelight as a manager with Southampton in the Premier League and only spent a year there before moving to Tottenham Hotspur.
There, he led them to two different finals, the league cup and the UEFA Champions League final in different seasons.
However, despite the obvious change in the performance of the North London club, he was looked down on for his inability to win a title.
With French giants Paris Saint-Germain, he eventually won a title in the French League and the French Super Cup.
However, the UEFA Champions League continues to remain the priority in Paris, and his failure to win it sent him out of a job.
His name continues to be linked with Tottenham, but it is left to be seen where next he will go.
2. Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte only spent one year and 4 months in charge of Tottenham Hotspur despite his profile as a serial winner, having won league titles with Juve, Inter, and Chelsea.
He was seen as the best possible chance to break Spurs’s trophy draught, but it didn’t quite work out.
A lot have talked about his profile not being complimented by the attitude and quality of players in North London.
In his final days at the club, Conte criticized his players and even Daniel Levy, the chairman of the club, for the club’s trophyless situation, a sign of a manager who knows his worth and as a neutral who knows Conte’s pedigree, he should be back winning soon.
1. Zinedine Zidane
French legend Zinedine Zidane didn’t take too long to register his name as a coaching legend.
His three UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid, a break in between, and then a return to winning his second La Liga title, others like two Copa Del Rey and two FIFA Club World Cup sealed his profile as a world-class manager in less than 5 years.
Since leaving the job at Santiago Bernabeu in 2021, it has become increasingly likely that Zidane would return to a managerial position but definitely not as Real Madrid.
His absence In the dugout is due to a personal preference to take the job as the head coach of the French national team rather than with any team.
However, Didier Deschamps is still in charge and doing the lord’s work; Zidane may have to test club football again, and he wouldn’t be short of suitors if he does so.
It’s only a matter of time till the managerial merry-go-round starts turning in Europe yet again, and there is no manager out there who can boast a CV as decorated as Zinedine Zidane. The World Cup winner is one of the best football coaches in the world.
He will be the sought-after name whenever big vacancies come up, but he is smart enough to pick the right job that will allow him to best flex his man-management muscles.
Other top football coaches who are free agents:
- Marcelo Gallardo
- Patrick Vieira
- Steven Gerrard
- Jesse Marsch
- Frank de Boer
- Joachim Löw
- Gennaro Gattuso
- Alfred Schreuder
- Scott Parker
- Gerardo Martino.