Should football clubs scout for managers just like players?
By Joe Harker
When a football club signs a player they often do so after extensive signing to work out how they operate and discover what exactly they would bring to the team. Quality scouting his uncovered some brilliant bargains and made for some excellent transfer deals. Therefore it stands to reason that when it comes to something as important as appointing a manager a similar process should be followed. Clubs could study a shortlist of different managers and analyse the playing style to judge whether it would fit well with their squad and ambitions.
Southampton have done so in the past with some degree of success. They brought current Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to the Premier League because of his playing style, despite having parted ways with Espanyol after they were bottom of the La Liga table. Most clubs would never have made the decision to appoint a manager from that position but Southampton did and their methods picked a boss who appears to be perfectly suited to the Premier League. They did well in appointing his replacement, Ronald Koeman, but their managerial scouting methods have been less successful with Claude Puel and the jury is still out on Mauricio Pellegrino.
Brentford did it to a rather less successful degree with Marinus Dijkhuizen, who lasted just nine games in which he oversaw just two victories. It also went badly for Crystal Palace this season who believed Frank De Boer was the man to shape their squad and introduce a new playing style. He was sacked after just four Premier League games which appeared to suggest that Palace had misjudged their ability to change their playing style. They may have scouted managers who could play possession football and signed the man for that job, but could have failed to recognise that their squad was not capable of making the change.
When Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare they announced that they wanted to go for a "high profile" manager. Not every decision has to be made after extensive scouting, as high profile managers tend to be well known for a reason. Success breeds renown and successful managers are always going to be in high demand. Of course, Leicester did not sign the big name they were expecting and instead appointed former Southampton boss Puel in a move that surprised their own fans and players. Puel may not be the big name Leicester bosses were hoping for, but if he has been chosen for his style of management then he might end up being a better pick than a more known name.
Should football clubs try and scout managers and their methods before making an appointment, or should they stick to reputation and go with their gut feeling?