It’s okay, he hasn’t gone, yet. But Coleman is one of the hottest properties in British football at the moment and every time a Premier League hot seat is vacated his name crops up.
The Wales manager gave Hull City serious consideration when they came calling at the start of the season.
Swansea City are the latest suitors after the grim reality of their ill-fated choice in Bob Bradley hit home. A poor choice from the outset according to many fans who saw him as a company man parachuted in by the new American owners.
Swansea’s next step is critical and, four points from safety with a lightweight squad, they cannot afford to make a mistake. They also need the fans onside sharpish so a bid for Coleman makes sense.
Why would Coleman consider a team fighting for relegation? Well, it’s Swansea for a start – his home city, the place he credits with helping to shape him as the man he is today and where he was recently awarded the Freedom of the City:
So the Swans could be a big lure for Coleman, he’s top of their list and they will be quite willing to improve his current £500k salary with Wales.
Returning to the headline question then, how do you replace a man like Coleman?
It’s tricky because of course he’s not just any man. He’s the man who ended almost half a century of hurt and got Wales to the finals of a major tournament. He’s also the man who then led that team to the semi-finals, earning plaudits as a team, as a manager and, we’re proud to say, for the supporters who were utterly amazing throughout Euro 2016.
Coleman could theoretically do both jobs of course because there is only one World Cup qualifier between now and the summer. But what if he does a great job, keeps the Swans in the Premier League and they push the boat out to make it permanent?
And that one World Cup qualifier is a crucial game against table-topping Ireland in Dublin. Any Wales fan worth his salt will want total focus on 24 March as, if they win they’re back in the hunt, but if they lose, Russia suddenly seems a very long way away.
After that it’s away to Serbia in June and then Austria, Moldova, Georgia and Ireland again in September and October.
If you can’t have Coleman, who would you want taking over the reigns?
Also on Swansea’s shortlist and, in hindsight, may have been the better choice over Bob Bradley last time around. That may count against the Swans if they come calling again though. He has two years as assistant manager at Manchester United under his belt, is looking to make the step up and Wales are already considering him for a place in the youth set up. He is respected by players and isn’t long out of the game so knows how modern football works. He would surely be under consideration but does his lack of managerial experience count against him?
Seen by many as the brains behind Wales’s success in recent years and is the mastermind of the youth system which gave us the current crop of stars. But Osian’s skill lies in his coaching and his role is broader than most assistant managers. Plus, being the top dog is different to assisting him as it becomes your job to make the big calls and be the authority. Would Osian want to take that on?
Knows the set up and the ‘Wales way’ after previously being a coach under Chris Coleman, and his managerial experience having caretaker-ed at Crystal Palace, Colchester and Fulham. But got his fingers burned at Fulham which could be a deciding factor. In many respects though, he is very much in the Coleman mould with a startlingly similar career path. Again though, there is a big difference between coaching and managing (See Paul Trollope at Cardiff for details).
Like Giggs, Craig Bellamy has been touted for a youth role with the Wales set up and already has one with Cardiff City. There is no denying his passion and knowledge of the game but experience and temperament make him a long shot.
Kenny Jackett has some down time right now after resigning from Rotherham. He is highly underrated by fans but highly respected by those in the game having won promotions at various levels with Watford, Swansea, Millwall and Wolves. He is quiet, unassuming, or not particularly charismatic if you want to be brutal, but he is effective. May be too high a level for him though, he is a lower league specialist.
Another Wales international is quietly getting on with being a successful coach across the pond. Carl Robinson stepped up from assistant to head coach at the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013 and has led his team into the CONCACAF Champions League twice. But it is the MLS.
Thierry Henry looks pretty good in a Wales tracksuit when he takes the coaching master classes at Dragon Park! Maybe one for the future.
Somebody in ESFR towers mentioned John Toshack. He is now wishing he hadn’t.
Bit harsh on the big man we know. Wales owes him a lot and he arguably started the team on the path to where it is now, but this is no time to go back.
Former England manager Woy Hodgson isn’t doing much at the moment. There’s probably a good reason for that though.
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