WHERE TO NEXT FOR MARADONA?
Following Diego Maradona’s surprise departure from UEFA Champions’ League winners Paris Saint-Germain, a whole host of clubs across Europe are believed to be stepping up their interest in the 53-year-old.
And with the former FIFA World Player of the Year expressing his desire to bounce straight back into management, could these following clubs end up becoming his next destination?
Maradona is currently odds on favourites to takeover at Manchester United
after both David Moyes and Andre Villas-Boas failed to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, leaving ‘The Red Devils’ in 4th place, 35 points behind the top 3 in the Barclays Premier League.
The Man United board are thought to be keen on bringing in the strong-minded figure of Maradona as an attraction to potential signings they missed out on last season.
On top of United’s transfer woes, they also risk losing the likes of Robin Van Persie, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney but they’ll be hoping the arrival of Maradona will again be enough to keep their stars rooted and appease the Stretford End faithful.
Battling it out with United will be their league rivals Tottenham Hotspur
, who part ways with Tim Sherwood after he failed to impress during his one year deal.
With Spurs finishing seventh and missing out on Champions’ League football again, Daniel Levy and co. must ensure they appoint someone capable of guiding ‘The Lilywhites’ back into Europe or else risk the investments made under Villas-Boas, with Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado just two linked with a move away from White Hart Lane.
Also hoping to conclude the arrival of the infamous number 10 is AS Roma
under the ownership of American investor James Pallotta.
Roma finished as low as 14th in Serie A this season, a position that had Rudi Garcia facing the chop and leaving the ‘Giallorossi’ fans furious at the lack of progress made.
With big investments made last season to sign Kevin Strootman and Mehdi Benatia, Roma can see all that financial commitment undone unless that appoint an adequate manager.
Another team that has been less than impressive is Maradona’s former side Napoli
, who under Rafa Benitez finished 11th in the Serie A.
As expected, Benitez too received his marching orders from the club and Napoli are believed to be trying to lure in their club icon in hope of fighting for the title next season.
On the contrary to other clubs reportedly interested in Maradona, Napoli can count on their star players next season such as Marek Hamsik, Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain, who have all pledged their futures to the club.
From one former club to another, Barcelona
could also be eyeing a move for the Argentine after Maradona’s compatriot, Tata Martino, was sacked for finishing 23 points behind La Liga champions Real Madrid in third.
Barcelona finished outside the top two for the first time since 2008, the season Frank Rijkaard stepped down, and hadn’t finished with a total of points as low as 71 since 1995.
Having missed out on the La Liga title, Martino also failed to guide ‘Los Cules’ to Supercopa Espana glory and lost the Champions’ League final to none other than Maradona.
Although Maradona is not believed to be Barcelona’s main option, with Guus Hiddink emerging as favourite, the prospect of the former Barcelona star working with Lionel Messi could be one that swings in his favour when Sandro Rosell makes his choice.
Last but not least, it has been brought to our attention that Schalke 04
is seriously considering Maradona for the job following the sackings of Jens Keller and Lucien Favre.
Keller left the Gelsenkirchen outfit in the relegation zone before being relieved of his duties as former Borussia Monchengladbach boss Favre could only manage to push Schalke up to 13th before the end of the Bundesliga season.
With the likes of Julian Draxler and Joel Matip nearing an exit from the Veltins-Arena, a gamble from Schalke on Maradona may be their last roll of the dice in trying to succeed with their current crop of players before Europe’s elite begin to swoop for their prized assets.