Just look at the list of names managing Premier League clubs next season: Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Antonio Conte. That’s quite an impressive list. In terms of star power, it’s hard to find any league in the world beating it. But do big names mean best managers?
The argument over the best league in Europe will always exist, but when it comes to titles in continental competitions, Spain has everyone beat. Spanish clubs have won the last two Champions League final, and we’ll have a second all-Madrid final for the second time in three years. Meanwhile, the Europa League has gone to Sevilla three years in a row, including beating Klopp and Liverpool in the 2016 final.
What the Premier League has in abundance, is money, especially for the lower tier clubs. Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich can compete with anyone, probably, when it comes to spending power. But when you go down the table, it’s impossible to find clubs parallel to the likes of West Ham, Watford and Leicester around Europe. In Spain Barcelona and Real Madrid hardly leave anything for the rest, even if the pie is being shared a bit more fairly now. In Germany no one can compete with Bayern Munich financially, and the same is happening in France with PSG and Italy with Juventus, the only club with a privately owned stadium.
Mauricio Pochettino is a star and seems to be one more season away from either upgrading Tottenham to a force to be reckoned with and not just a passing fad, while Claudio Ranieri is now not just likable, but a champion with the most unlikely winners of all-time. But Unai Emery in Sevilla might not be inferior to any of these names. Luis Enrique has basically done what Guardiola did during his first years at Barcelona. And there are managers that are even further away from the limelight, doing their work with much more modest banking accounts at their disposals: Paulo Sousa at Fiorentina is one name that comes up, but in all likelihood, he’ll probably move to a bigger club before he wins anything in Florence. That’s how thing work, sadly or not.
Maybe next season is the year the Premier League returns to European Prominence. It’s never boring or lacking attention anyway. Guardiola and Mourinho trading jabs on a daily basis is great for headlines and clicks, but to win the Champions League, something that has happened only once in the last eight seasons for an English club, it takes more than big names, and spending lots of money, at least when you’re not Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.