Premier League managers ranked: will Jose Mourinho be number one?

Will Jose Mourinho be the best manager in the upcoming 2016/17 English Premier League season? Photo / Getty Images
Will Jose Mourinho be the best manager in the upcoming 2016/17 English Premier League season? Photo / Getty Images

In its 24-year history, the Premier League has never been so crammed full of world-class managers. From established managerial legends - such as Pep Guardiola at Manchester City to Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool - to some of the most exciting young coaches in the game - such as Maurico Pochettino at Tottenham and Eddie Howe to Bournemouth - English club football is very much in the ascendancy.

Here, we rank the 19 managers (only 19 since we don't know the outcome of Hull City's Championship play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday) as they begin preparing for their pre-season.

This is based mainly on their current standing, rather than on past glories.

19. Aitor Karanka (Middlesbrough)

Karanka was unable to lead Middlesbrough to promotion in his first full season in charge of the club, losing the playoff final 2-0 to Norwich.

This season he got the job done, but the Premier League represents a tremendous step-up for a rookie manager in his first managerial position. He will need to learn quickly.

18. Tony Pulis (West Brom)

Appointing Pulis almost guarantees survival, but it also ensures an attritional, staid style of football. Johan Cruyff he ain't. He deserves credit for making his teams so tough to beat, but has repeatedly failed to show he has the quality or know-how -or indeed, inclination - to transform a team into anything worth watching.

17. Alan Pardew (Crystal Palace)

It has long been argued that Pardew struggles to build anything sustainable at the clubs he has managed, after a burst of initial success upon joining. His time at Crystal Palace seems to follow that pattern. On Boxing Day they were fifth, but two wins in between then and the end of the season saw them finish a full ten places lower. His habit for embroiling himself in controversy also means there will always be a question mark hanging over his managerial ability.

16. Walter Mazzarri (Watford)

Wily and experienced, Mazzarri helped to transform Napoli from a mid-table team into something much better. But he has never managed in England before, and it is difficult to see him bettering a 13th-place Premier League finish and an FA Cup semi-final, with limited investment and a small squad.

15. Mark Hughes (Stoke)

Hughes was appointed by Stoke with the express instruction to improve their style of football. That he has done, but under his management the club have struggled for consistency, and given the resources at his disposal it is unlikely a fourth consecutive 9th-place finish will be tolerated. Stoke are a club in danger of plateauing despite heavy investment, and Hughes may struggle to show that he is the man to reverse that trend.

14. Francesco Guidolin (Swansea)

A relative unknown when he took over at Swansea, Guidolin successfully preserved the club's Premier League status with a number of gritty, ugly wins, and deserves significant credit for the achievement. But Swansea's form remained erratic, and abysmal defeats to Newcastle and Leicester had the warning lights flashing.

13. Sean Dyche (Burnley)

Dyche's 'Ginger Mourinho' nickname used to have a slightly mocking tone to it. Not anymore. Led Burnley back into the Premier League at the first attempt, and on a shoe-string budget. Canny, honest and erudite: Dyche's star is rapidly rising.

12. Sam Allardyce (Sunderland)

Oft-mocked, but never relegated. Saved Sunderland with a superb end of season run, and has now publicly challenged his club to end the relegation dogfights and push on into the top half of the table. With the resources at his disposal, that seems unlikely, but it would be a surprise to see Sunderland anywhere near the drop-zone this season, which speaks volumes about Allardyce's talents.

11. Slaven Bilic (West Ham)

In his first season at West Ham, Bilic successfully implemented an expansive style of football whilst also improving results. Highly regarded and intently ambitious, the Croat will relish the opportunity to manage the club in their first season at the Olympic Stadium.

10. Unai Emery (Everton, in talks)

Should he elect to leave the Europa League winners for Goodison Park, Merseyside will have two of the best managers in European football at work in the area. Has been very successful at Sevilla, winning three consecutive Europa League trophies, although he flopped the last time he tried his hand at management outside of his home nation, losing his job at Spartak Moscow following a 5-1 home defeat to Dynamo.

9. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)

Howe is widely regarded as the most promising British manager in the business. He has found himself repeatedly linked with bigger jobs, but has a strong affinity for Bournemouth, and is adored by both the club's fans and board. A good man motivator and a devotee of attractive football.

8. Ronald Koeman (Southampton)

Southampton's steady improvement continues, 8th when Koeman took over, 6th two campaigns later. His stock rose at the end of the season and he admitted he was in talks with the club's hierarchy over his future, perhaps because of a lingering feeling that he has taken the club as far as possible. Hugely experienced.

7. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

The most experienced manager in the league, bar none. If this season is to truly be his last, he will likely experienced a groundswell of support that could translate to the form of the team. There is no good reason why Arsenal cannot again challenge for the title next season although, once again, but it is hard to see them making serious inroads in the Champions League.

6. Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)

Before their end of season capitulation, all the talk was of Pochettino establishing a Ferguson-esque dynasty at Tottenham. The strengthening of their direct rivals and increased European commitments will make his job this season even more difficult, but the Argentinian is regarded as one of the most promising managers in world football, and his stock will likely only rise.

5. Antonio Conte (Chelsea)

A disciplinarian is what is needed to transform Chelsea's team of disillusioned superstars into Premier League title contenders again, and a disciplinarian is what Chelsea have got. Three times Serie A champion with Juventus, and a Serie B champion with Bari, Conte is a hard taskmaster used to winning, and his impact on Chelsea's squad will likely be instantaneous.

4. Claudio Ranieri (Leicester)

It's hard to believe that when Ranieri was appointed Leicester manager, there was a general consensus he was going to lead them straight into the Championship. Instead he led them to the title. His past failures at Chelsea, Internazionale and Greece have been forgotten; his legacy is now forever intact.

3. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

Inherited a top-heavy, under-performing team, and in the space of a few months had led them to two cup finals. How much will he achieve with a pre-season on the training pitch under his belt? A master man-motivator, Klopp will relish challenging Guardiola once again, and he is already adored by the Kop.

2. Jose Mourinho (Manchester United)

Manchester United will win the 2016/17 Premier League title. Or at least they will if Mourinho is able to work his customary magic of marching to the title in his first season with a new club, assuming he is appointed. The sustainability of his managerial style is up for debate, but the speed of his initial impact is not, and results will undoubtedly improve under Mourinho. A born winner, Chelsea's decline last season was arguably the first true failure of his career. How he bounces back from it will determined how good he really is.

1. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

The greatest manager in football. Guardiola single-handedly changed the world footballing landscape with his innovative blend of possession based football at Barcelona. His sheer presence will likely boost results in the short-term, with his tactical genius and the financial warchest available to him guarantees success in the more distant future.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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