The best football managers out of work

  • There are some top managers who are free agents heading into the summer period
  • Plenty of Champions League-winning coaches are currently without clubs
  • How many will be snapped up this summer and who else will be without a job?
Jose Mourinho is among the elite managers currently jobless
Jose Mourinho is among the elite managers currently jobless / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Being a football manager can be bruising for one's ego.

When results are good and confidence high, it's the best job on the face of the earth. But things can turn ugly pretty swiftly and the coach is the first to be turfed out when performances start to go awry.

That's a reality even some of the world's best managers have to accept, with a number of elite coaches currently out of work for a myriad of reasons. Whether it's outdated tactics, public outbursts or just bad luck, getting back on the ladder isn't always straightforward.

With that in mind, here are the 20 best managers currently out of work.

20. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard - Born 1978
Lampard has struggled in the Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Frank Lampard's return to the Chelsea dugout at the end of the 2022/23 season was an unequivocal disaster, but his first stint at the club showed glimpses of promise and he did save a sorry Everton side from relegation.

However, it will be a brave English club who considers Lampard as their next hire, unless they are fans of meme-worthy post-match interviews.

19. Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso
Gattuso hasn't been as good a manager as he was player / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

Speaking of memes, Gennaro Gattuso's greatest contribution as a manager has arguably been his loud outburst in which he stated that his OFI Crete side were 'sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe s***'.

If that is the kind of motivational speaking club owners appreciate then look no further, but his record at AC Milan, Valencia and Marseille leaves a lot to be desired - although he did win the Coppa Italia with Napoli.

18. Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper
Cooper is still loved by Nottingham Forest supporters / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Nottingham Forest fans begrudgingly accepted the dismissal of Steve Cooper earlier in the 2023/24 season. He was a firm fan favourite for taking the Midlands club back to the Premier League and oversaw an incredible transformation at the City Ground.

The Welshman has significant credit in the bank following his impressive spell with Forest and it likely won't be long until he earns another shot at the English top flight.

17. Lucien Favre

Favre has plenty of experience / UWE KRAFT/GettyImages

Lucien Favre has been a very hit-and-miss figure on the touchline during his career. He achieved great things with Borussia Monchengladbach and during his first spell at Nice, but struggled to live up to expectations after his move to Borussia Dortmund.

A return to Nice was ultimately unsuccessful and lasted just half a season, with Favre having now been out of work for over a year. However, he still has plenty to offer the right club.

16. Rudi Garcia

Rudi Garcia
Things went downhill quickly for Garcia at Napoli / Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Rudi Garcia rose to prominence when winning the French league and cup double with Lille in 2010/11 and has enjoyed some decent spells with the likes of Roma, Marseille and Lyon.

His most recent stint at Napoli was a disaster, however, with his dismissal coming just 16 games after his appointment. Whether his failed return to Italy has put off potential suitors this summer remains to be seen.

15. Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer
Fischer is still adored at Union Berlin / Lars Baron/GettyImages

What Urs Fischer achieved with Union Berlin was truly incredible. He took the German side to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history, subsequently qualifying them for the Champions League ahead of the 2022/23 season after some steady progress in the top flight.

Unfortunately for the iconic Union Berlin coach, a run of poor results at the beginning of the 2023/24 campaign saw him removed from his position, with the club narrowly avoiding relegation back to the second division after his departure.

14. Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez
Benitez was sacked by Celta Vigo / Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Not too many active football managers have as much experience and pedigree as Rafa Benitez, who guided Liverpool to the Champions League in 2005. He has since managed the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Napoli.

After becoming a much-loved figure at Newcastle United, the Spaniard's career has taken a hit since his Tyneside departure. A brief stint in China was followed by unsuccessful spells at Everton and Celta Vigo, with Benitez's tactics no longer as successful as they once were.

13. Niko Kovac

Niko Kovac
Kovac hasn't stayed anywhere too long / Cathrin Mueller/GettyImages

Having done a stellar job with Eintracht Frankfurt between 2016 and 2018, Niko Kovac was offered the increasingly unenviable Bayern Munich job. Despite winning a league and cup double in 2018/19, the Croatian left the club several months into the following season.

After middling spells at Monaco and Wolfsburg, Kovac is available once again and was even briefly linked with the Liverpool job. He will likely have to settle for a post much further down the ladder.

12. Joachim Low

Joachim Loew
Low was in charge of Germany for so long / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Joachim Low spent 15 years as head coach of the German national team, achieving incredible things with them. He famously won them the World Cup in 2014 and reached the Euro 2008 final six years earlier.

However, whether his managerial skills can transfer back to club football remains unknown for now. He's been out of work since 2021 and hasn't taken charge of a club team since 2004.

11. Julen Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui
West Ham have been touted with interest in Lopetegui / Malcolm Couzens/GettyImages

Julen Lopetegui finally graced the Premier League when Wolverhampton Wanderers were able to convince him to take their vacant managerial position in 2022.

The former Real Madrid and Spain manager impressed at Molineux but left his post after just a season in charge due to a lack of financial support in the transfer market. Recent links suggest a return to the top flight with West Ham could be on the cards.

10. David Moyes

David Moyes
Moyes achieved great things with West Ham / Alex Davidson/GettyImages

The man Lopetegui would replace at London Stadium would be David Moyes. Having achieved great things with Everton before a short and unsuccessful spell with Man Utd, the experienced Scot made the move to West Ham in 2017, returning in 2019 having been sacked during his first stint.

Despite not always being a supremely popular figure with West Ham fans, the Irons did produce one of their most famous moments on his watch when lifting the Europa Conference League in 2022/23.

9. Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri
The former Chelsea boss is a free agent / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

The grumbly, tobacco-chewing Italian was adored at Napoli but found life much harder at Chelsea and Juventus despite winning trophies with both clubs.

Maurizio Sarri was appointed Lazio boss in 2021 but resigned in March 2024 amid some questionable form. A man of his experience won't be out of work for too much longer.

8. Graham Potter

Graham Potter
Potter has been linked with jobs across Europe / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Despite Graham Potter succumbing to the curse of the Chelsea job, he remains extremely well respected for his work with Brighton. The Englishman's tactical nous and attention to detail transformed the Seagulls into one of the league's most fun, albeit inconsistent, sides.

Reports suggest he has had plenty of European offers since leaving Stamford Bridge, but he won't have to do too much to rebuild his reputation.

7. Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri
Allegri was dismissed by Juventus despite Coppa Italia glory / Image Photo Agency/GettyImages

Despite a fiery end to his second reign as Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri has achieved great things with the Turin giants. However, his methods have not always been aesthetically pleasing, something that may go against him as he searches for new employment.

Allegri won five Serie A titles and four Coppa Italias over a total of eight years with Juventus, while also winning a scudetto with Milan back in 2011.

6. Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte coach of FC Internazionale looks on during the...
Conte has already interested a number of clubs / Andrea Staccioli/GettyImages

Tottenham and Antonio Conte were never likely to be a good match and so it proved to be. It was hoped the Italian's hunger and winning mentality would rub off on a club without a trophy since 2008, but he quickly became frustrated in north London and left by mutual consent in March 2023.

However, successful spells with Inter and Chelsea mean Conte is still a manger appreciated by Europe's elite, even if his tactical philosophy doesn't inspire sides aiming to play swashbuckling football.

5. Hansi Flick

Hansi Flick
It didn't work out for Flick with Germany / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

Hansi Flick's time with Germany was surprisingly poor. The former Bayern Munich coach, who had guided the club to a famous treble in 2019/20, struggled to take the country to new heights, failing to make an impact at two major tournaments - including a 2022 World Cup exit at the group stage.

However, Flick is still a manager who commands respect for what he achieved in Bavaria and may well be heading back to the Allianz Arena in the relatively near future.

4. Jose Mourinho

Gianluca Mancini, Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho is no longer Roma boss / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Undoubtedly one of the greatest managers of the modern era and perhaps ever, Jose Mourinho's time at the absolute peak of football is surely over. He has coached Real Madrid, Chelsea, Porto, Man Utd, Inter and Spurs with varying degrees of success, most recently endearing himself to Roma supporters with a Europa Conference League title.

However, much like many of the other managers currently jobless, his negative style and combustible manner make him a risky appointment at the top level.

3. Roberto De Zerbi

Roberto De Zerbi
De Zerbi will leave Brighton at the end of the season / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Having been linked with every big job available this summer and seemingly ignored for all of them, Roberto De Zerbi will be a free agent in the coming weeks after it was announced he will leave Brighton at the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

The Italian has earned plenty of plaudits during his time with the Seagulls for his intense and attacking style of play, but the risky nature of his football has sometimes been Brighton's downfall this term - something noted by Europe's elite, perhaps.

2. Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel's time at Bayern has been underwhelming / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Having narrowly secured the Bundesliga title at the end of the 2022/23 campaign with Bayern, Thomas Tuchel's second season in charge of the German giants was remarkably underwhelming.

Bayern were blitzed by Bayer Leverkusen in the league, dumped out by Joselu in the Champions League semi-finals and fell to an embarrassing defeat at the hands of third division Saarburcken in the DFB Pokal.

He will be a free agent this summer after it was announced he and Bayern will part ways, with plenty of clubs likely interested in him for his success pre-Bayern.

1. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane is still out of work / Power Sport Images/GettyImages

With Jurgen Klopp excluded from this list given he has hinted at retirement and clearly stated he will be taking at least a one-year sabbatical, Zidane is arguably the best coach on the market at present.

Surprisingly, the Frenchman is still unattached after his remarkable three-peat with Real Madrid in the Champions League, leaving the Bernabeu for good in 2021 after returning to the capital shortly after his initial departure in 2018.

Supposedly holding out for the France job, it will be interesting to see Zidane's next step in management.