Liverpool Club Focus - Decision on new manager needed sooner rather than later
Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, appear to be taking their time over who to name as Kenny Dalglish’s successor in the Anfield hot-seat. A number of names, ranging from Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martinez to former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola have been linked with the job, but it is unclear exactly how many managers have been officially approached, how many will be interviewed and when a decision will be made.
Recent reports suggest that a managerial appointment is just one of the key decisions that principal owner John W Henry will have to make over the coming weeks. In addition to this, Liverpool are also seeking a couple of experienced heads to replace former director of football Damien Comolli, while a whole host of other places at the club must also be filled. A busy summer lies ahead for the Reds.
Young Spanish manager Martinez has been approached by FSG over the vacant position and he will be interviewed this week. The Wigan boss has impressed many people in the football world with the job he has done at the DW Stadium - keeping the Latics in the Premier League on a meagre budget is no easy task. Martinez is viewed as being a vibrant, forward-thinking, pragmatic manager and his name appears to excite the owners. But despite Martinez’s football philosophy, some fans are not convinced that he is the right man to take the Merseysiders forward.
Another man who has been heavily linked with the job is former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. The Portuguese boss enjoyed a hugely successful season with Porto last term, but things did not go to plan at Stamford Bridge and he was duly sacked just a few months ago. FSG must decide whether to take a risk on a man who appeared to alienate some of his key players in the Chelsea dressing room.
While Martinez and Villas-Boas are the frontrunners, other names have also been linked. Brendan Rodgers, Frank de Boer and Jurgen Klopp have all rejected approaches, but Fabio Capello could be on the shortlist. Rafael Benitez has not been contacted by FSG, according to several national newspapers.
Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, would be a popular appointment with many of the fans. However, if FSG are unwilling to speak with the Spaniard, then they may do well to perhaps listen to some of the things he had to say during his last spell at Anfield. Benitez was always of the opinion that Liverpool should do their transfer business early, in order to stop other teams from gazumping any potential deals. The longer Henry and co take to decide who should be the next manager, the further away some of their possible transfer targets could drift.
This does not mean that FSG should rush their decision, indeed Henry may argue that time will be needed to assess exactly who is the right man for the job in what will be such a crucial appointment. But as the owners take their time, some fans may also become impatient. Anfield expects a decision.