Every year, the period between the conclusion of one Premier League season and the beginning of the next is littered with change. Some exciting, some nerve-wracking.
Now, the transfer window – that’s already brought us huge news on Messi and Mbappe, for example – has plenty to do with fan feelings, like renewed optimism or sinking concern. But new managers transitioning into roles at Premier League clubs provides a new dawn.
And while there aren’t a whole stack of new managers stepping in for the 2023-24 EPL season, they’re certainly high profile acquisitions.
So let’s break down each of the Premier League appointments and unpack what fans can expect of the new managers at the helm.
Which Premier League clubs will have new managers?
Tottenham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace & Bournemouth
Two of those positions have so far been appointed, with Crystal Palace still getting their ducks in a row.
After a Premier League season that saw record carnage (15 in total), it’s surprising to think there are only three fresh faces coming in. But some of those casualties were clubs doubling up — Chelsea and Tottenham both churned through two, for example, and Southampton three. But all three bottom-placed clubs added to the pile last season and won’t be a part of the upcoming EPL season, of course – relegated to the Championship. Others, like Aston Villa, made mid-season pivots and never looked back.
For Chelsea, whose first season under the Todd Boehly-led Clearlake Capital ownership consortium was as dismal and disappointing as any in the club’s storied 118-year history, strong leadership is now pivotal. And the Blues have singled out former Tottenham man Mauricio Pochettino to now assume the Stamford Bridge hot-seat, on a two year deal with the option for a third.
On the north side of London, another heavy-hitting operation entered the new managers race and landed on Australia’s own Ange Postecoglou. He faces the Herculean task of building Tottenham into a club many, including their fans, believe they should be.
And Crystal Palace are yet to announce whether they’ll replace Roy Hodgson or give the former England man a full season at helm, with a reported long list of potential managers linked with the south London club, including Graham Potter and Michael Carrick, should the club hierarchy opt for a Roy-less future.
Premier League teams with new managers for season 2023-24
Ange Postecoglou, Tottenham Hotspur
Australia has their first ever Premier League manager! And there is no more deserving candidate than new Spurs manager, Ange Postecoglou. Fresh of a dominant two seasons with Scottish giants Celtic, which included a domestic treble last season, he was announced as the next manager of the North London club on a four-year deal.
Success has followed ‘big Ange’ everywhere he’s coached; from South Melbourne in the late nineties, Brisbane Roar at the turn of the 2010s, to Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan’s J1. But when he arrived on Glaswegian shores two years ago, he was met with a flood of euro-centric scepticism.
One of his loudest critics was former Celtic striker Chris Sutton. But the impact Ange-ball has had on not just Hoops fans, but Scottish football as a whole, has won over just about everyone. Speaking to Australian publication KeepUp, Sutton insisted “I don’t think anybody could’ve done the job Ange has done at Celtic.
Discussing what he believes has been a shift in Scottish footballing attitudes since the Australian assumed control at Parkhead, the former Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers striker added:
“I think there are other coaches who are looking at Ange Postecoglou thinking ‘yeah, why don’t we try to be more expansive’, inverted full-backs and take the game to the opposition.”
Ange’s style of play involves high-pressing, possession-based, ‘Guardiola-esque’ football with aforementioned inverted fullbacks, wingers getting paint on their boots from hugging the touchline. It’s a far cry from the negative, pragmatic, boring football Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have brought in recent seasons.
Success may initially be hard to come by, especially given the disparity between Conte and Ange’s play styles; Celtic lost three of their opening six games. But given time to implement his system and develop trust within his players, in not only his coaching but their ability, there is potential for the Postecoglou era to deliver the club its first piece of silverware since the 2008 League Cup.
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea
The Argentine is arguably the bravest man in world football for agreeing to what many believe is a poisoned chalice. In a chaotically calamitous season, the London club had four managers – two permanent and two interim. They slumped to 12th and looked like they could hardly buy a goal… even if they splashed nearly $1 billion AUD on incoming players.
Poch, as he is affectionately known, has been out of the game for nearly a year, following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain. He guided the club to the Ligue 1 title, the first league win of his career. In July 2022, it was announced PSG had parted ways with Pochettino.
Upon his return to London, Poch will have to contend with the task of trimming down a bloated squad – a task which may be eased before his arrival. Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Conor Gallagher headline a long list of Chelsea stars that have one foot out the front door. And those problems are seperate to the new manager introducing and implementing his ideas and signings to a squad depleted of confidence for the best part of 12 months.
Throughout his tenure at Southampton and particular Tottenham, Pochettino was renowned for playing a high-pressing, attractive, possession-oriented style of football. Throughout his final full season at the North London club, where he led them to the Champions League final, Pochettino’s Spurs side averaged nearly 60 per cent of possession.
The Argentine linked his coaching philosophy to bravery, once stating; “I don’t know how to play a different way. Always be brave. I like to be brave.”
Aside from an aggressive press and emphasis on possession, typically within Poch’s trademark 4-2-3-1, Chelsea fans can expect several players to improve under the tutelage of the 51-year-old. It was under his tutelage and within this system that current Spurs and England captain Harry Kane burst onto the European footballing season, with Poch’s first full season in charge of Spurs coinciding with the Englishman’s first 20-goal top-flight campaign.
Other rapid improvers under the former PSG man include Dele Alli, who became the hottest property in European football following his 18-goal haul in the 2016-17 season operating as the number-10/second striker behind Kane – expect new recruit Christopher Nkunku to fill similar shoes – current Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen, as well as a host of other stars such as Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, and current City right-back, Kyle Walker.
Chelsea fans can feel thrilled by comments made by Harry Kane regarding their incoming manager following his Spur’s side qualification for the 2018-19 Champions League round of 16:
“You just want to perform for him, work hard for him, win for him. He’s very passionate. You can tell sometimes he wants to be out there himself, putting in tackles, running about,” the striker said.
Andoni Iraola, Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s Gary O’Neil being let go came from nowhere, given their impressive performance last season. So incoming manager Andoni Iraola has big shoes to fill, with O’Neill heralded as a smokey for manager of the season.
In the former Spanish international’s three years at Rayo Vallecano, he dragged Los Franjirrojos from the second division into La Liga’s mid-table.
What does Iraola’s arrival mean for Bournemouth? Well, fans of the Cherries can expect high-octane, intense, pressing football. Few teams in Europe won the ball back in the final third as often as Rayo Vallecano.
How does this style of football fair in the Premier League? Recent history would suggest not incredibly well, but if Iraola can transform Bournemouth into a machine, like Bielsa’s Leeds, as opposed to that of Jesse Marsch, they will become a problem.
Crystal Palace, TBC
A new manager is yet to land in The Eagles nest with the bookies linking several men with the top job at Selhurst Park. Among them is the man who steered the ship following Patrick Vieira’s shock, dubious sacking in March, Roy Hodgson. Prior to the 75 year old’s appointment, Palace hadn’t won in 12 matches, and had only claimed a single victory – on New Years Eve against Bournemouth – after the Premier League’s post-World Cup resumption.
Nearly half (17) of Palace’s 40 Premier League goals last season were scored in Hodgson’s 10 games in charge, and the former England and Inter Milan manager seemed to unlock the attacking flair of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise particularly.
But some may argue Palace’s youthful side requires a young manager with fresh ideas. Enter Graham Potter.
No manager has taken a greater hit to their reputation in a short space of time as Potter did during his disastrous spell at Chelsea.
Despite his time at Stamford Bridge remaining firmly imprinted in the collective minds of global footballing fans, Potter’s time at Brighton, where he was instrumental in developing the side and infrastructure that Roberto De Zerbi would guide to Europe.
At a club like Palace, without the stature and expectations of Chelsea, and therefore, presumably, more time to implement his systems and ideas to a youthful squad brimming with talented players, a punt on Potter may prove fruitful for Steve Parish and the Palace higher ups.
While his Chelsea side couldn’t buy a goal, towards the back end of his tenure there were some strong underlying numbers indicating his complex, possession-centric style of football was beginning to soak into the side.
But football is a fickle sport and Todd Boehly wielded the axe just seven months into his five-year deal. Given time and a squad willing to test themselves the former Swansea manager could be ideal in helping the Eagles soar up the Premier League ladder.