A brief leadership vacuum emerged in the Premier League’s upper echelon at season’s end. But even though Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City and Manchester United moved swiftly to fill the void with Jose Mourinho, Roberto Martinez, Manuel Pellegrini and David Moyes respectively, each manager steps into a precarious position.
Can Roberto Martinez deliver Champions League football to Everton as he promised? Everton’s finances, and thus its league position, are perennially precarious. Martinez will be up against it just to keep Everton near the big boys with another threadbare squad that may lack several of his predecessor’s best players.
Will the Jose Mourinho sequel surpass the original? Chelsea achieved everything save the Champions League under his first reign. His inability to bring Europe’s greatest prize back to the Bernabeu caused his most recent departure. If Mourinho doesn’t parade “Big Ears” for Stamford Bridge like he did for Porto and Inter, then Roman Abramovich may once again feel that familiar itch in his trigger finger.
Manuel Pellegrini faces similar pressure at Manchester City. Winning the Premier League, FA Cup and wearing a scarf with aplomb were not enough for Roberto Mancini. Pellegrini will not be afforded much time to conquer the continent with City’s star-studded squad.
David Moyes faces the toughest task of the four. He must replace one of the greatest managers in world football history while continuing to attract the best talent in the world to maintain Manchester United’s place at the pinnacle of English and European football. Sir Alex Ferguson gave Manchester United a unique appeal amongst the many clubs with the means to pay for the world’s best players. Moyes may have the least length of leash with which to find his way, as the club never finished below third place under Ferguson in the Premier League era.
So which club made the best hire in light of each’s circumstances? That’s for you to decide.