We collected data on 877 different managerial spells, and 18,260 leagues games, in the top five European football countries during 2010-20. Our aim was to observe how different nationalities are represented in various leagues when it comes to managers.
- The Premier League has the lowest representation of domestic managerial talent with English managers managing only 27% of all league games during 2010-20.
- Serie A is the opposite spectrum with Italian managers managing 87% of all league games.
- The top tier of Italian football also recruited managers from the fewest number of nations - only 12. Premier League recruited from the highest number of nations - 22.
Our analysis proves the old adage that the local managerial talent is not given enough opportunities in the Premier League. English managers managed only 27% of all games during the last decade - lowest representation of domestic managerial talent among five leagues by a considerable margin. A total of 29 English managers worked 46 different jobs.
Behind England, nations leading the pack are Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Wales, and Italy. Among others, France (6%), Portugal (6%), Netherlands (5%) and the Republic of Ireland (4%) are worth mentioning.
The Premier League is also the most diverse league when it comes to the nationalities of managers. Managers from a total of 22 different nationalities worked in the league during the past decade - highest among the five leagues.
In La Liga, 73% of all games were managed by Spanish managers. The league also favors managerial talent from Argentina as a total of 15 different managers from the country have found work in the league during the past decade. Among games managed by non-Spanish managers, Argentinian managers account for a massive 44.6% of games. The most notable among them has been Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid. He has managed a total of 326 league games during the past decade. Simeone’s haul accounts for 4.3% of all games during the past decade. In ‘Others’, France (2.95%) and Portugal (2.55%) deserve a mention.
80 different Spanish managers have worked a total of 148 jobs at a ratio of 1.85 jobs/manager. This figure is higher than the Premier League ratio of 1.59, meaning that the local managers are rotated more among clubs in La Liga than in the Premier League.
Furthermore, managers from a total of 16 nationalities have taken charge of La Liga sides during the past decade.
As compared to La Liga, the domination of domestic managerial talent is even stronger in Serie A at 87%. This is the highest share registered by domestic managers in the top five leagues.
Another interesting trait about Serie A is that its number of different domestic managers, 78, is comparable to other leagues such as La Liga, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1. However, the number of different domestic managerial spells is significantly greater than in other leagues. This indicates that the same Italian managers keep getting jobs in the league and they often don’t last long in a single job. 78 different Italian managers have worked a total of 195 jobs, at a ratio of 2.5 jobs/manager.
In ‘Others’, Serbia (3.40%) and Spain (1.9%) are the biggest contributors. However, the credit for the entire share for Serbia goes to Siniša Mihajlović who has worked five different jobs during the past decade.
The share of games managed by domestic managers in Bundesliga is significantly greater than the Premier League but less than La Liga and Serie A.
Another interesting statistic is that the German top tier of football is a favored destination for managers from Switzerland, Netherlands, and Austria.
No other footballing nation has had a significant presence in the league during the past decade. However, managers from 17 different countries have worked in the league during 2010-20 - second highest among the five leagues.
Ligue 1 is second behind Serie A in terms of giving opportunities to local managers. French managers managed 79% of all games during the past decade in the league.
Besides France, only Portugal registered mentionable numbers, mostly due to the work of Leonardo Jardim at Monaco.
In “Others”, Armenia (2.9%) has made a contribution worth mentioning.
It’s quite obvious from the above numbers that Premier League clubs are more diverse in their approach when it comes to hiring managers. However, the local managerial talent is given less preference in the Premier League as compared to the other leagues.
Another interesting observation is that leagues have favorites when it comes to nationalities. La Liga clubs like to hire managers from Argentina, whereas Bundesliga clubs have shown an affinity towards managers from neighboring nations such as Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Only managers from France, Italy, and Spain have managed in all the five major leagues during the past decade, while managers from Argentina, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, and Uruguay have managed in four out of five leagues.
German managers didn’t find a single job in Serie A during the past decade while English managers were absent from Serie A and Ligue 1.
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