The Madness of the Manager Merry-Go-Round

Five clubs will have appointed new managers before the new season begins. How many more by the time it ends is anyone’s guess
Arsenal FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Everton FC - Premier League / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Manager turnover in the Premier League has never particularly been the point of pride for what is often proclaimed to be the ‘best league in the world’.

For much of its history, it used to be Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Arsène Wenger at Arsenal who represented beacons of stability with their long tenures. David Moyes, during his eleven [11] year stint at Everton, was the one exception among the rest who did his best to emulate the two legends.

Over the past decade, or most of it at least, the burden of stability and longevity has been carried by Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola. But Klopp has now left, after nearly nine [9] seasons at Liverpool, leaving his great rival Pep to be the longest-serving manager in the league at eight [8] full years come 1st July.

Behind him are Thomas Frank at Brentford [nearly six years at the helm] who might yet take charge elsewhere—Manchester United, perhaps—this summer, and Mikel Arteta with four-and-a-half years at Arsenal.

Yes, it has indeed been that long.

For Mikel Arteta—in the first managerial role of his nascent career, at just 42 years old—to already be the third longest-serving manager illustrates perfectly the sheer madness of the manager merry-go-round in the Premier League.

He might even find himself top of the pile as early as end of next season if, as rumored, Pep Guardiola decides to end his term at Manchester City. And who might challenge him for longevity then?

David Moyes, who joined West Ham one week after Arteta was appointed by Arsenal, has been replaced by Julen Lopetegui. Mauricio Pochettino could have been the contender but Chelsea have already moved from him, per their wont, to Enzo Maresca: their fourth permanent manager in less than two years.

It feels like madness of quite another sort to trust Erik ten Hag, barring some miracle, has any long-term future at Manchester United and while Newcastle have been patient with Eddie Howe this campaign, one feels confident he will be shown the door if the Magpies fail to finish in the top four next season.

The marriage between Ange Postecoglou and Tottenham, for all the whirlwind romance of its early days, feels strained now. Kieran McKenna at Ipswich and Andoni Iraola at Bournemouth both appear destined to be poached by bigger clubs sooner than later if they can manage to maintain their reputations.

So then, what have we left? Liverpool are not trigger-happy, and will give Arne Slot time to settle in and establish himself. Everton might simply not be able to afford sacking Sean Dyche, and why would they given the job he has done keeping them safe from relegation for two seasons now?

Marco Silva could perhaps be expected to spend another couple of seasons at Fulham, and so too might Oliver Glasner at Crystal Palace. The same is rather more difficult to believe of Gary O’Neil at Wolves or Nuno Espírito Santo at Nottingham Forest.

The only incumbent other than Mikel Arteta we might reasonably hope to last something close to the distance, therefore, is fellow countrymen and the recent bane of his existence: Unai Emery. He has taken Aston Villa to the Champions League, signed on for five years, and should continue to prosper in the Premier League for years to come.