04 Jul 19
Frank Lampard has completed his return to Chelsea to succeed Maurizio Sarri as manager.
The Italian left west London in somewhat acrimonious circumstances, taking over the vacant Juventus role despite leading the club back to the Champions League and to a Europa League win in Baku.
Frank Lampard is expected to make an emotional return to Chelsea this summer
But the fans were never able to form a bond with the stoic former bank manager, with his style of football alienating Chelsea fans.
In his place, Stamford Bridge legend Lampard has taken over after leaving Derby County in the Championship.
The 41-year-old’s imminent appointment is part of a growing trend amongst top-flight clubs in the modern era.
When Rafael Benitez was relieved of his duties as Real Madrid manager in 2015, the club turned to the inexperience yet universally-liked Zinedine Zidane to steady the ship.
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Zidane was an instant success as Los Blancos boss
The France legend ended up winning three Champions League trophies back-to-back during his first spell at the Santiago Bernabeu and other clubs duly began to take note.
Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho in December and replaced him with one of the heroes from the treble-winning season in 1999; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Despite speculation the club could move for Mauricio Pochettino, the Red Devils board decided to stick with the Norwegian.
So here at talkSPORT.com it got us thinking about which other legendary former players could return to manage in the Premier League.
Scroll down to see who your club go for in the not-so distant future!
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AFC Bournemouth – Carl Fletcher
Carl Fletcher has worked with Bournemouth’s academy players in the past
The Wales international made 193 appearances for the Cherries, scoring 19 goals before moving to West Ham United.
Upon his retirement, Fletcher took charge of Plymouth Argyle in 2011 and was later given the job on a permanent basis until 2013.
Since then, the 39-year-old has won the regional EFL Youth Alliance Cup final with the Bournemouth Under-18 side, before stepping up to manage the Under-23 side. He now manages their loan deals.
Given his extensive knowledge of the club’s youth team programme, the natural succession would be for Fletcher to take over as first team coach in the same way current boss Eddie Howe did.
Arsenal – Patrick Vieira
Arsenal’s current crop of players would be whipped into shape by Vieira
Although currently linked with the Newcastle United job, the former Arsenal captain is in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice and impressing in France.
A box-to-box midfielder who took no prisoners, Vieira won the Premier League title in 2004 at Highbury after leading the team to an entire season unbeaten.
While there is no suggestion the 43-year-old would be capable of performing such miracles again, his spell at MLS side New York City suggested he has the potential to go to the very top.
Adopting a free-flowing, attacking, high-press system, it may not be long before the World Cup winner is linked with a return to the Emirates.
Aston Villa – Gareth Southgate
The former centre-half captained Villa during his spell in the West Midlands
While football may well be coming home in 2022, Southgate’s role as England manager will not last forever.
The former centre-back captained the club during his six-year spell there and he has continued to display incredible leadership qualities as a manager.
He took charge of the England Under-21 side in 2013, before stepping up to manage the senior side where he guided the Three Lions to a fourth-placed finish at the 2018 World Cup.
Dean Smith has done an incredible job getting the Villans back to the Premier League, but the club are backed by wealthy investors and getting a marquee name like Southgate in one day remains a possibility.
Brighton and Hove Albion – Bruno
Bruno is now part of the Brighton coaching staff
When Graham Potter took charge of Brighton after Chris Hughton, the former Swansea boss insisted on appointing Bruno to his coaching staff.
After 234 appearances for the Seagulls across a seven-year spell, the 38-year-old will now take on the role of senior player development coach.
His retirement after the final game against Manchester City was not a surprise given his age, but the loyal fans will still miss him.
Provided he can excel in his first coaching role, it may not be long before fans begin to clamour for their hero to return to the Amex as boss.
Burnley – Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander was a loyal servant to the Clarets
With his Copa Mundial boots, his rough stubble and steely glare, Alexander was the ultimate throwback footballer. At the age of 37, he played in all of Burnley’s 61 Championship and Cup games that season ending with the 1–0 play-off final victory over Sheffield United at Wembley which took the Clarets back to the top-flight of English football for the first time in 33 years.
A consummate professional and a fan favourite for his uncompromising displays at right-back, Alexander was loved at Turf Moor despite his spells with local rivals Preston.
The current Salford boss has the managerial pedigree as well, taking charge of Preston, Fleetwood and Scunthorpe.
Sean Dyche has made a huge impression at Burnley with his honesty and insistence on hard work. Few characters within football better embody such traits than 47-year-old Alexander.
Chelsea – Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has taken charge of his former side
The appointment of Lampard as Chelsea boss could well be a masterstroke from Roman Abramovich.
A transfer ban for two windows means the former England midfielder cannot fall victim to the same mistake of previous managers; being judged on his signings.
With Sarri, it was Jorginho and with Conte it was Morata. Both ended up being scapegoats for the failures of the men who signed them. The 41-year-old can instead focus on promoting younger players through to the senior side and developing an ethos at Stamford Bridge.
The pressure on Lampard will be minimal and he is likely to be given time and support from the adoring Chelsea fans.
Crystal Palace – Chris Coleman
The former Wales boss is available after being sacked by Hebei China Fortune
Coleman’s last few stints in management have been failures.
After just six months in charge of Sunderland, Coleman was ‘relieved of his duties’ following the club’s relegation to League One. And he incurred the same fate as manager of Hebei China Fortune, losing his job last month.
But anyone who knows football will tell you those two jobs are not a true reflection of a manager’s capabilities. As the Wales manager, Coleman lead his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 – managing to get the best out of Gareth Bale.
At 71, Roy Hodgson may not have long left at the top and Coleman could well be in line to replace him. It would certainly be a popular move, he was voted into the Eagles’ Centenary XI in 2005.
Everton – Mikel Arteta
The Spaniard is currently Pep Guardiola’s number two at Man City
Mikel Arteta arrived at Goodison Park after spells with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers, and Real Sociedad. So it was fair to say fans were not sure what to expect when the midfielder arrived on loan in 2005.
But David Moyes found a gem and, for just £2million the following summer, Arteta made his move permanent. The Toffees went from relegation candidates to European contenders and much of that success was down to the attacking midfielder.
Since retiring, the Spaniard has taken his coaching badges and worked extensively with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
He is highly-rated, with former side Arsenal agonisingly close to appointing him last summer. Just as in 2005, Everton could move quickly and shrewdly to appoint the 37-year-old as boss if Marco Silva does not work out.
Leicester City – Steve Walsh
Steve Walsh literally put his body on the line for Leicester on plenty of occasions
Steve Walsh is truly a Foxes legend after his 14 years of service to the club and embodied what the club was about to supporters; with his combative, never-say-die approach to the game.
Walsh literally put his body on the line for Leicester during his 449 games for the club, and he is paying the price for his commitment now.
He may not have been born in Leicester – he was born in Fulwood, Lancashire and began his career at Wigan Athletic – but he is an adopted son of the city and still lives in Leicester, working in an ambassadorial role while running the Advanced Football Development Academy with former team-mate Muzzy Izzet.
Should Brendan Rodgers ever decide to leave, the popular move for fans would surely be appointing Walsh. The former centre-half loves the club almost as much as them.
Liverpool – Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has started his managerial career at Rangers
Although it would be virtually impossible for Liverpool fans to think of anyone more suited to the Anfield hot seat than Jurgen Klopp right now, football works in mysterious ways.
The German has taken the club from struggling to qualify for the Europa League to winning the Champions League.
But Klopp is unlikely to stay with the Reds forever, and Gerrard may well be a ready-made replacement. The former Liverpool captain is establishing himself as a progressive and no-nonsense manager up at Rangers an there could hardly be a more popular appointment.
Owner John Henry has shown in the past he is willing to make sentimental choices to appease the fans, appointing Sir Kenny Dalgleish as boss after sacking Roy Hodgson.
Manchester City – Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany left City in the bets way possible
After more than decade with City, Vincent Kompany bowed out as captain of a treble-winning side, whose 25-yard screamer against Leicester City to help seal it, will be forever etched into the club’s history.
His return to Anderlecht is not entirely sentimental however, with Kompany acting as a player-manager.
Given how well the centre-back lead the Citizens during his spell at the back, his leadership qualities will surely translate into management easily.
After back-to-back Premier League titles, City will want to carry on Pep Guardiola’s work at the Etihad. And who better than his former captain?
Manchester United – Roy Keane
The Irishman would have no problem laying down the law at Old Trafford once again
Although his managerial career is nowhere near as glittering as his playing days, Keane has the necessary ‘X Factor’ which United could really do with.
The former Red Devils captain literally dragged his teammates to victory at times at Old Trafford and, despite not being the most technically-gifted player, Keane had an insatiable desire to win.
His previous comments about members of the current United squad would have to be addressed, but he would fear no man in the dressing room and could instil a real winner’s mentality which has been missing for too long.
After leaving Nottingham Forest last month, the Irishman is targeting a return to management and there would surely be plenty of supporters who would love to see him barking orders from the touchline.
Newcastle United – Les Ferdinand
Ferdinand is rated extremely highly within the world of football
Back in the 90’s, Newcastle were renowned for their swashbuckling-style and Laissez-faire attitude to defending which made them a joy to watch and serial Premier League contenders.
England striker Les Ferdinand was a key part of that, with his goals for the Magpies made him a cult hero in the North-East.
Since retiring, Ferdinand has worked closely with QPR and was appointed to the Director of Football role. He is extremely highly-rated within the game and there was talk of him succeeding Dan Ashworth at the FA.
The Geordies could desperately do with cheering up after Rafael Benitez’s departure and, given how frugal owner Mike Ashley can be, appointing the 52-year-old could prove to be more cost-effective.
Norwich City – Russell Martin
Martin spent nine years at Carrow Road
Known as the ‘Norfolk Cafu’ for his rampaging displays at right-back, Martin quickly established himself as a fan favourite amongst Norwich City supporters.
After joining from Peterborough on a loan deal in 2009, the Scotland international filled in a variety of roles and became a dependable member of two promotion-winning sides to the Premier League.
In 2018, he signed for Walsall in a player-coach role before moving to MK Dons where he is still plying his trade.
During an interview with The Canary Magazine, published April 2013, Martin revealed his desire to take up management after the end of his playing career, stating, ‘I would eventually love to come and manage Norwich.’
Sheffield United – Phil Jagielka
Jagielka shot to fame while playing for Sheffield United, before making a name for himself at Everton
Phil Jagielka is currently training with Burnley after his release by Everton, but do not be surprised if he moves into a coaching role in the not-too distant future.
The centre-back started his career with Sheffield United, cementing his position as a legend when he featured in goal for 34 minutes against Arsenal in 2006 and kept a clean sheet at Bramall Lane.
A consummate professional, Everton fans have called for the 36-year-old to be brought back to Goodison Park as a defensive coach to help Marco Silva.
But if the Toffees fail in their attempts, there is no reason why the Blades should not consider their former hero i some sort of coaching capacity to start.
Southampton – James Beattie
Beattie has worked at Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Leeds as a coach
While Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney were undoubtedly England’s best striking options after the turn of the Millennium, Beattie was firmly on their coat tails.
The Southampton striker struggled with injuries on the south coast, but was still revered as one of the most dangerous strikers in the top flight and almost lead the Saints to an FA Cup win in 2003.
Since retiring, he has spent time working as a coach for Swansea, Middlesbrough, Leeds and now at Birmingham.
Ralph Hasenhüttl has done well thus far at Southampton, but bringing Beattie in to his coaching staff would be a popular move with fans and could pave the way for him to succeed the German in years to come.
Tottenham Hotspur – Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann enjoyed two spells in north London
It wasn’t just Spurs fans who fell in love with Jurgen Klinsmann when he arrived at White Hart Lane, the striker endeared himself to the public as well.
The German was Public Enemy No.1 when he arrived in 1994 for his role in England’s World Cup exit in 1990.
But Klinsmann’s humour and self-deprecation (as well as his clinical prowess) made him a hero and he was even inducted into Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
His work with both the Germany and USA national teams focused on building legacies and playing expansive and attacking football.
Developing youth players and developing a strong sense of unity are two key qualities Mauricio Pochettino has tried to instil.
Watford – Troy Deeney
Troy Deeney taking on a player-manager role would appease plenty of Watford fans
Although his managerial experience is limited, Deeney would have no problem getting the best out of players.
A powerful striker plucked from Walsall, the Englishman is a certified legend for the Hornets with his brutally honest assessment of himself and opposition teams a refreshing listen for fans.
The 31-year-old is by no means getting towards the end of his career, but a move into a player-coach role could be on the cards.
Much like Kompany with Anderlecht, Deeney would be respected and feared in equal measure by his teammates and would have no problem laying down the law.
West Ham United – Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick is a product of West Hams academy
Often criminally underused and underrated, Carrick may well get the recognition he deserves as a manger.
The Geordie came through the famed ‘Academy of Football’ at West Ham before a spell at Tottenham convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to part with more then £18m to bring the midfielder to Old Trafford.
A cultured midfielder with a superb array of passing, the 37-year-old possessed an aura about him on the pitch,.
It is clear to see he has taken this into coaching as well, he has worked alongside both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the Red Devils. If he can sharpen his tools at Old Trafford, a role for the Hammers to replace Pellegrini could be in the offing.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Robbie Keane
Keane made his name in English football scoring goals for Wolves
Keane may have only spent a brief part of his career at Molineux, but he made an impact.
The 38-year-old started his career with Wolves before joining Coventry. A succession of moves across the continent followed (including Inter Milan) before he found his calling at Tottenham.
A sharp and clinical striker, Keane was a nightmare for defenders with his energy and inventive style of play – he could make goals out of virtually nothing.
Currently the assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland and involved in the coaching set-up at Middlesbrough, there would be no reason why the Tallaght-native could not move into club management.
Where to better to start it than the very same place he began his playing career?