An international team-mate of Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino, Marcelo Gallardo has spent the last seven years building an impressive resume of trophy wins in South America and has restored River Plate as one of that Continent's giants. On the landscape of potential replacements for Marco Silva, the 43-year-old is easily one of the most intriguing and, interestingly, he has leapt into pole position in the betting to be Everton's next manager.
As Marco Silva’s Everton tenure has been unravelling in alarming fashion in recent weeks, the speculation over his future and whether the club might have to act by removing another manager has inevitably been ramping up. Indeed, as the former Hull and Watford boss was booed off the Goodison Park pitch at the final whistle of that dreadful defeat to Norwich, many were wondering if he might be sacked before the evening was out.
Silva has, of course, remained in his post in the 10 days since but another defeat, this time to Leicester — albeit one that saw a much improved performances from the Blues — really has fostered the sense that the 42-year-old is hanging on on a game-by-game basis.
That appears to be as much to do with the fact that there are so few viable and potentially available candidates for the role, a notion that is lent credence by the list of unattractive names being linked with the Goodison Park hot-seat. David Moyes, Mark Hughes, Eddie Howe, Phil Neville, Chris Hughton and Sean Dyche are all in the top 15 most favoured names among the bookies.
They are joined by more attractive (but perhaps less attainable) options like Mauricio Pochettino, Mikel Arteta and Rafael Benitez and Red Bull Salzburg’s Marco Rose but you feel that Farhad Moshiri’s desire to give his pet Portuguese project as long as possible to prove he can make the grade notwithstanding, the only reason why Silva hasn’t been given his marching orders is because there isn’t a manager who would conceivably come that the Board can agree on.
That’s why it’s so interesting that Marcelo Gallardo, the rising managerial star of South American football and the man most often put forward by football purists of an Evertonian persuasion as being their first choice to succeed Silva, has suddenly vaulted to the top of list of the bookies’ most-backed men to be the next Everton manager. The 43-year-old leapt from 50/1 to overwhelming 1/2 favourite with William Hill yesterday, seemingly without any prompting by media speculation.
Of course, football betting is notoriously at the mercy of manipulation and the odds should be taken with a high degree of skepticism but this dramatic shift in the backing of one particular candidate perhaps warrants a closer look at a man who is expected to leave River Plate at any point between now and when his contract there expires in 2021.
Gallardo’s rise to prominence has been a fairly rapid one, although it’s only recently that there has been an explosion of interest in him from abroad now that his list of accomplishments in Argentina are being viewed as a whole.
He began his managerial career at Nacional in Uruguay after being handed the reins shortly after retiring as a player there, a decision that called time on an 18-year playing career that saw him also play for River Plate, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and DC United. He won the Uruguay league title at the end of his first season in 2012 and again the next season before taking over from Ramon Diaz at River Plate, tasked with helping the Argentine giants recover from the stunning blow of their relegation in 2011.
Moulding a side made up of young academy players and some astute acquisitions from outside, he won the Copa Sudamericana in his first season at the helm, River’s first trophy for 15 years. He picked up three major pieces of silverware in a little over a year in charge and six more would follow including two domestic cups, three Recopas and two triumphs in the Copa Libertadores.
He was denied a hat-trick of South America’s most prestigious club competition last month when Flamengo, led by another coach who has been linked with Everton in the form of Jorge Jesus, overturned a 1-0 deficit and won 2-1 with a dramatic late goal.
Gallardo (pronounced “Gazshado”) is credited with instilling River Plate with an attractive brand of attacking football that has made them indisputably the most potent team in Argentina. As described in this recent Tifo video profile, he favours a 4-4-2 line-up with a diamond in midfield but deploys a flexible system whereby the player at the top of the diamond can drop deep and overlapping fullbacks can also carry much of the attacking threat.
Indeed, tactical flexibility appears to be one of his hallmarks. He is not averse to playing 4-3-3 or a three-man central defensive unit as he did to masterful effect in the second leg of last year’s Copa Libertadores final, but the primary focus is on overwhelming the opposition in midfield and Gallardo’s methods have been compared favourably to the famous Dutch “Total Football” approach from the 1970s.
He takes an active and committed role in developing youth, adopting almost a sporting director role in working to ensure that the same style of play and ethos runs through the club from academy to first-team level. And in a move that would prove very useful at Finch Farm, he has employed neuroscientists and sports psychologists to help his players mentally prepare for games at River Plate.
“El Muñeco” (the doll) as he is affectionately known in Argentina, has also had to roll with the heavy turnover of players that is common in South America’s biggest leagues as teams from Europe come hunting for the continent’s best talent. (Everton, of course, prised Ramiro Funes Mori away from Gallardo’s “Millonarios” in 2015.)
The loss of some key players appeared to have compromised him a couple of years ago — he actually had to rebuild his team almost entirely after 2015 — but he came back stronger in 2018, overseeing a triumph over arch enemies Boca Juniors in the Argentine Super Cup and then beat them again in that “Superclasico” Copa Libertadores final.
River are under no illusions about how attractive Gallardo’s success there has made him to potential suitors. Only last month, their sporting director, Enzo Francescoli, who played with him at River in the 1990s, admitted to TYC Sports that, “We need to be prepared for any decision. I'm not thinking about what'll happen in a couple of months because it's not even my decision.”
Gallardo is said to have turned down an approach from his former club from his playing days, Paris St Germain, when they were looking to replace Unai Emery and he has been linked this week with Inter Miami in MLS where he would become that new club’s first ever manager. Most notably, however, Gallardo is being talked more and more about as a potential Barcelona boss, perhaps as soon as this season as questions continue to be raised regarding the future of Ernesto Valverde.
Former Argentina international Claudio Borghi was quoted by Four Four Two as saying that ,“Gallardo will be coach of Barcelona in December. He is one of the best coaches in the world. [River Plate president Rodolfo] D'Onofrio said he'd only leave by quitting his post, but I know this from a direct source."
Gallardo was forced to quash speculation a month ago that he had already held talks with Barcelona’s hierarchy, insisting that he was focused on the Copa Libertadores final and concluding a successful season with River Plate.
Still, some Barça observers aren’t sure that Gallardo’s emphasis on fast-paced, counter-attacking football would fit at the Nou Camp where “tiki-taka” is still the prevailing ethos and they caution that, like Tata Martino before him, he could struggle to make the transition from South American football because he has never played or been coached in the Barcelona way.
If the Blaugrana need to rebuild, they argue, then it should be someone who was immersed in Barcelona’s culture and footballing traditions in the manner of Johann Cruyff or Pepe Guardiola.
Guardiola himself is a big fan of Gallardo, however. “What Gallardo has done in River Plate is incredible,” he recently told TNT Sports. “It seems that Europe is the only place in the world. I can’t believe how Gallardo isn’t nominated as one of the best coaches in the world.”
If there is a knock on Gallardo’s record at River Plate it’s that they have yet to win the Argentina league title under his stewardship, although that appears to have been a consequence of a deliberate focus by that club on winning trophies, particularly prestigious South American ones like the Copa Libertadores. His team selections have often prioritised the cups and that has had inevitable consequences for River’s league form.
That lack of a truly rounded pedigree might give some of Europe’s giants pause when considering plucking from relative obscurity to try his hand in one of the Continent’s big five leagues, as might the fact that he has never been tested outside of South America. That, of course, is raised as an issue by Evertonians who are nervous about the club’s current predicament and who feel that the club need to go for an experienced head coach who has won trophies in Europe.
While that route appears closed off simply because of the aforementioned dearth of available candidates who would likely take the job, it means plumping for a tried, tested but uninspiring old Premier League hands like Moyes or taking a more ambitious leap with someone like Arteta or a hugely promising manager with an impressive winning record like Gallardo as the most likely options.
That latter avenue was the one taken by Espanyol, a club not unlike Everton in terms of stature, 10 years ago when they hired a former Argentina World Cup star by the name of Mauricio Pochettino. An Albicelesti team-mate of Gallardo’s for three years — the two men featured together at the 2002 World Cup alongside Diego Simeone (arguably the pick of that generation to graduate to head coach) but Gallardo earned twice as many caps overall — Pochettino arrived in Spain with no managerial experience and has, of course, gone on to become one of the most highly-regarded managers in Europe.
Could Marcelo Gallardo, a man feted as the next big Argentine managerial star by Lionel Messi, follow the same path as Poch and Simeone, both of whom credit Marcelo Bielsa, under whom Gallardo played for half of his international career, and make it big in Europe? Would he consider the Everton job and has Marcel Brands, with his contacts in Latin America, even broached the subject with his representatives? And why has he suddenly emerged as the hot favourite for the position at Goodison?
It’s not clear but on the landscape of potential replacements for Marco Silva, El Muñeco is easily one of the most intriguing candidates.
Reader Comments (63)
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1 Posted 04/12/2019 at 08:18:42
Yes the examples of Pochettino and Simeone can be brought forward but we have been in similar positions regarding player comparisons over the years and its gone pear shaped.
Any new manager to the league is a risk especially one with no European experience.
For every Pochettino there will be a Pepe Mel.
For every Arsene Wenger there will be a Jacques Santini.
Maybe its all about luck?
Perhaps we are poor at character judgments?
But we never seem to pull off many “little known gems” from far flung places.
Maybe Gallardo will be a great manager in time, but whether hes right for the monumental challenge that the Everton job has become, Im not sure if its the ideal time to try such a off the radar experiment.
2 Posted 04/12/2019 at 08:36:32
3 Posted 04/12/2019 at 09:07:12
4 Posted 04/12/2019 at 09:10:12
We couldn't have Marcel and Marcelo. Is he Brands' little brother ?
5 Posted 04/12/2019 at 09:10:13
Anyway as our resident experts reckon 442 is dead he'd have no chance if that's what he prefers
6 Posted 04/12/2019 at 09:32:14
John, he doesn't play what would we consider 442, he plays a 4222 or a 41212. His 442 is very similar to Silva's 4231 when Sigurdsson pushes alongside the striker and they press high. One of the central two in the midfield sits deep and protects the defence giving a platform for the others to attack. It's a flexible formation.
Sam Hoard was the first to raise Gallardo as a possibility, and since then his profile has only risen. There's a lot being written about him if you want to google it you'll find lots of analysis of him and his management style. There's lots of videos analysing his teams too.
This is definitely a coup for Everton, if we can land him. He will be someone who will attract players, he will be someone our players will be interested to work under, and it's the perfect time to get him in. He's a great age, with trophies and experience in the bank but still young (for a manager) enough to be hungry and have a burning desire to reach the top.
As I said elsewhere, it's great to be linked to him rather than Moyes, or Hughes. If Everton want to reach the top again, we need to gamble on someone like Gallardo, and we need to trust Brands has done his homework and knows what he is doing. If Brands wants Gallardo, let's get him.
7 Posted 04/12/2019 at 09:52:59
It would be a very bold move and he doesn't strike me as the fire fighter we might be needing if we don't hit 20 points by January.
I will enjoy reading this thread before I switch off my phone, laptop and go down into the underground bunker at around 7pm tonight.
8 Posted 04/12/2019 at 09:55:02
9 Posted 04/12/2019 at 10:12:14
10 Posted 04/12/2019 at 11:21:29
11 Posted 04/12/2019 at 11:43:27
12 Posted 04/12/2019 at 11:46:30
That said, I think Barca are now top of La Liga as things are turning around a little for Valverde, so maybe Goodison is the next best after the Camp Nou!
13 Posted 04/12/2019 at 11:49:55
Likes of Allegri, Poch or Simeone are clearly out of reach so not a bad call. Has won something, can work long-term and seemingly not fearful. Do we have guarantee that it will work like a dream? Absolutely not. Never have that guarantee with anyone. This rot has to be stopped now, that's all.
14 Posted 04/12/2019 at 12:07:40
15 Posted 04/12/2019 at 12:19:15
We ve tried managers from Wigan, Southampton, Watford etc and they have not worked out. We cant attract a manager from the existing European elite, so looking to South America's current rising stars makes complete sense.
Barca can pick whoever they want so don't need to gamble and as previously said, prefer managers who have been ingrained in the Barca way.
16 Posted 04/12/2019 at 12:45:34
Anybody really thinking this through? So Simione comes, gets £100million to spend in the January window, a No 9 who will knock in 20 goals in 19 or 20 games, a couple more with steel and we stay up, winning 14 games???
Oh, we beat Liverpool 4-0 in their pigsty, go on to win the FA Cup. Oh, by a bit of luck, we beat them tonight and at home. They rocked to their boots and lose the league cos of us beating the crap out of them.
17 Posted 04/12/2019 at 13:09:08
I think the players will respond to a guy like this but, as Steve Ferns has said many times, the biggest problem this club has is getting rid of some of the players on huge wages who are not giving a 100%, its next to impossible.
Also for all the people who say Premier League experience is vital, Roberto, Koeman, Allardyce and Silva all had Premier League experience, so it is not the be-all and end-all of it.
18 Posted 04/12/2019 at 13:26:01
19 Posted 04/12/2019 at 13:39:21
20 Posted 04/12/2019 at 13:49:40
21 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:00:59
Atletico are sitting in 6th place in the Liga and Simone is talking about the team being in transition, which is not going down well with the fans.
Gallardo is the type of risk Moshiri would take. I can't see a British manager getting the job. They will plough on with Silva until a definite replacement is available.
In my opinion, SIlva was only considered as a manager who would lay foundations and he was expected to maintain Everton in the Premier League and build a squad to play to a certain level in the League and Cups. Next year, a decision would have been taken whether he was the manager to take Everton to the next level.
Silva obviously is not going to fulfil his expected potential, so the decision to rep!ace him will have to be moved forward. Moshiri and Brands will want to continue the plan, so a winning manager will be what is sought to replace Silva, so it is going to take a while.
22 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:07:35
There is only one bloke who would keep us up with 19 games left and us on 17 points if we are lucky. Well, unless we get Diago Costa in, a player to boss the middle, a couple more central defenders, then Simione, or the bloke from Valencia.
Big Sam is the only one who can win 9 games, draw a few, or draw a lot and win a few without signing a great 9 others. What players are going to wanna come to us in January with 14 or 17 points? Let's get real. Big Sam is the only manager who will make the bunch we got play in a way to get 30 points out of what games we got left.
Okay this season 39 might keep you up. But if we only got 17 points with 19 to play, guess what.
Who would you put ya house on to keep us up? Big Sam or let's have some names. Remember ya house is on ya pick. I know where my money goes.
23 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:24:02
I find myself asking this; Should we take the risk? Then a whole bunch of reality smacks me square in the mush. We can't get any worse than what we are right now.
So I'm in the 'fuck it' brigade from now on, bring anyone in, absolutely anyone-apart from his name that shall not be spoken the dirty TGT, and anyone called Howe, or Hughes, or Dyche or .
24 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:28:17
25 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:31:10
We don't want someone who's done it, we want someone who can do it. The two are often not the same. Trying to find the guy is going to be almost impossible, but it doesn't mean we should stop trying or stop looking because we've got it wrong in the past. We hired Brands to change the club and have a long term vision, we have to give him a proper go, and until he has his man in, we cannot really judge him.
If the rumours are true, and the betting surge reflected something, then it shows Brands is prepared to think a little outside the box and try and get the great managers before they become great, in the same way he will go for the young players in South America before anyone else spots them in Europe.
26 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:32:15
I'd love Bielsa. We need someone that can get hold of the place and galvanise a blatantly dispirited dressing room and fanbase. And also being to change the ingrained loser culture and mentality.
Just not Eddie Howe. It has Kenwright written all over it. Another beige load of nothingness from another nothing club that's never won anything. We need heft and know how to arrest this malaise.
27 Posted 04/12/2019 at 14:49:26
I said last season that Leeds would blow up and fail to get promoted and some shot me down for that, but that's what happened. Bielsa would have been brilliant instead of Martinez. He's with Leeds now, and he does not break contracts. He's erratic and you must pander to his eccentricities or if you do not do exactly what he asks, he will walk away. He did it without a game being played at Lazio, complaining the club did not sign the players he asked for. He left Marseille after the first game of the new season, just over 12 months into his reign.
Bielsa was one of the great characters of the game, but our chance with him has past now. I hope he keeps it together and gets Leeds up. It'd be great to see them back in the top flight, particularly with him as manager.
I'd rather have Gallardo though. He's won more than Bielsa in less years as a coach in Argentina and won the same as him in Europe, ie nothing.
28 Posted 04/12/2019 at 15:02:08
You had me at diamond, the perfect set up with the players we have fit and it plays to our strengths.
Ive been calling for a diamond (maybe not as loudly as my polish princess) all season. Give us a holding midfielder, two in the centre that can cover wide, more space for a number 10, and two up top.
Ive just gone all dizzy...
Now its down to Tescos for my derby bottle of whiskey.
29 Posted 04/12/2019 at 15:10:08
Great name too.
30 Posted 04/12/2019 at 15:21:45
This guy doesnt look too bad either.
Wonder when these players are going to click, because its not just our manager thats underperforming.
31 Posted 04/12/2019 at 15:26:52
32 Posted 04/12/2019 at 15:38:16
I got a very blunt Yorkshire response:
33 Posted 04/12/2019 at 16:18:47
"We need someone who speaks English!!!" - Besides that reading like a statement from the Brexit manifesto, I have bad news for you: only 20% of the world speaks English as a primary, and 2/3 of our team are from terrible places like Brazil, Portugal, Nigeria, Italy, Iceland, and France.
"We need someone proven in the EPL!!!" - okay, umm, who? Though, perhaps the bar is so low now that "proven" has become 'can win games in the Championship.'
The definition of insanity <--- I did the hard work for you.
34 Posted 04/12/2019 at 16:29:51
35 Posted 04/12/2019 at 16:32:55
36 Posted 04/12/2019 at 16:38:41
South American football long fell down my priority list in my 20s, fixing fences and putting up shelves rank more exciting nowadays!
Whatever the product is, the violence and the danger around it put me off.
With that lack of opinion I can go in without knowing the outcome. Ive met the last four appointments with a tepid excitement being the very best I could muster. Thats makes me sound arrogant but truthfully weve bungled the last four managers, fishing in ponds that are poor quality. The writing was on the wall before it started.
Its clear Brands wont go for an established name unless Moshiri cuts him off at the knees. The merry go round of mediocre managers that work in the premier league has to run dry at some point?
Maybe by going so far from our establish staid path of hiring duds we might stumble on something?
Why not eh? I acknowledge the risk here too but we are so desperate and Id put that chance of success over us getting relegated, mad maybe, but weve spent 30 years being nobodies.
37 Posted 04/12/2019 at 16:51:23
38 Posted 04/12/2019 at 16:57:53
Are you trekking into the city for this one?
39 Posted 04/12/2019 at 17:05:19
8:15 start is way too late.
40 Posted 04/12/2019 at 17:25:36
By established I means Benitez etc not a Moyes or Hughes.
Has Brands ever appointed that type of manager? Just not his m.o. for my £0.02! 😂
41 Posted 04/12/2019 at 17:50:53
Ok re: established and I'm okay with that. Wasn't sure if you were one of those crazies who want to keep recycling mediocre Championshit (oops, Championship) or bottom table fellas.
42 Posted 04/12/2019 at 17:57:22
43 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:01:11
44 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:06:20
45 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:08:13
46 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:16:05
47 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:16:49
Did Pardew have an Instagram account?
48 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:39:42
49 Posted 04/12/2019 at 18:48:30
John P #36: "Its clear Brands wont go for an established name unless Moshiri cuts him off at the knees." Interesting assertion, but it's not clear to me at all. Support?
50 Posted 04/12/2019 at 19:05:53
51 Posted 04/12/2019 at 19:06:59
52 Posted 04/12/2019 at 19:10:57
53 Posted 04/12/2019 at 19:17:32
54 Posted 04/12/2019 at 22:42:30
55 Posted 04/12/2019 at 22:45:55
E-Type Gallardo, Maserati- Marcelino ???
56 Posted 04/12/2019 at 22:52:15
He would certainly be a risk but then so is every manager. I think he looks a really exciting prospect with a tactical flexibility that Silva has sadly not shown.
His desire for pressing and counter-attacking should fit what we have and by all accounts he's a great motivator.
The timings work well and though he wouldn't be my very top choice I reckon he‘s one of the most exciting options that looks to be currently available.
I can imagine Brands being keen on him and Kenwright blanching at the thought!
57 Posted 04/12/2019 at 23:06:51
I have researched (seriously) all the names being linked with us, and this guy comes out on top, with my limited knowledge.
While I acknowledge, that every appointment has a degree of risk, and I must hasten to add- no guarantees of any appointee, I feel this guy could just fit the Bill above all others being mentioned.
Then again, will they approach him, would he come, what budget would he have, who would he get rid of?
There are so many questions, and too few answers at present, but for what it's worth, as we will have no say whatsoever, in the next incumbent, he gets my vote!
58 Posted 04/12/2019 at 23:14:57
At River hes worked on small budgets, selling his best players every few years and utilising the kids. Which is also how I think Brands would prefer to work.
I dont know if Gallardo has done enough yet to land a Barcelona type job so we could be the perfect fit.
59 Posted 05/12/2019 at 08:31:02
I'd rather take Moyes and back him, none of this till the end of the season nonsense. We know what we are getting with Moyes, so let's see what he's like with access to money this time.
60 Posted 05/12/2019 at 08:41:00
Should have been done weeks ago though, as once silva is sacked Moyes will be announced. With Cahill no doubt to try and get fans onside.
Also if a poll does go up please dont include fantasy candidates like Simeone. Utterly pointless.
61 Posted 05/12/2019 at 10:08:10
To me he represent a backwards step made out of fear. If we need someone till the end of the season then maybe he's the best candidate but i'm not convinced.
62 Posted 05/12/2019 at 10:12:31
63 Posted 05/12/2019 at 12:45:43
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