Liverpool has aced key Arne Slot decision as Man United the latest to stumble into crisis

Feyenoord's Dutch head coach Arne Slot attends a press conference prior to the UEFA Champions League match against Atletico Madrid at Feyenoord Stadium de Kuip in Rotterdam, on November 27, 2023.
-Credit: (Image: OLAF KRAAK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool waited until Jürgen Klopp left to make it official, but the appointment of Arne Slot as the new manager was ultimately made with a minimum of fuss. He's not even arrived at Anfield yet, but it looks like a better call with each passing day.

When Slot's candidacy first emerged, there was an understandable sense of anticlimax. The Feyenoord boss was not a household name in England, and Liverpool fans had spent months getting excited about former player Xabi Alonso, who has now completed an unbeaten domestic double with Bayer Leverkusen.

But while Slot lacked the global reputation to spark instant excitement, it's not been hard to grasp the reasons why Michael Edwards and the recruitment team chose their man. Looking at how Feyenoord have played under him — and how they have overachieved, even claiming a league title against the might of Ajax and PSV — there are more than a few shades of Klopp.

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For its part, the club insists Slot might have been chosen ahead of Alonso even if the Leverkusen manager had been on the market. But in any case, once the Spaniard had made his decision clear, Liverpool wasted little time. Now, rival Manchester United is the latest to prove the wisdom of that move.

Erik ten Hag has prompted something of a headache for Manchester United, winning the FA Cup to complicate the review over his future. The Old Trafford outfit initially seemed minded to pull the trigger anyway.

But Kieran McKenna, once a part of the United backroom and now the mastermind of Ipswich Town's promotion, is expected to commit his future to the Tractor Boys (per The Athletic), despite being strongly linked with a return to his former club. That will also come as a blow to Chelsea, who had shortlisted him after parting ways with Mauricio Pochettino.

For Manchester United, it's increasingly looking like the best option might be holding on to Ten Hag. But that's a sorry state of affairs after an historically bad Premier League season, one where the manager often only succeeded in exacerbating rather than relieving the growing toxicity.

Meanwhile, Chelsea has turned its attentions to Enzo Maresca. Another success story from the Championship, he has taken semi-recent Premier League winner Leicester City back to the top flight, coming good on a budget that dwarfs much of the rest of the division (despite threatening a late implosion).

Could he be a success at Chelsea? Certainly, although he would no longer have the best squad in the division, and it's hard to make the case that his prospects are any better than those of Pochettino, whose ideas finally seemed to be sinking in. His departure from Stamford Bridge was mutual, but Todd Boehly could surely have done more to keep him.

Then there's Bayern Munich, where the unavailability of Alonso has triggered a remarkable chain of events. The conclusion appears to be Vincent Kompany — last year's Championship flavor of the season, albeit now with a limp Premier League relegation added to the résumé.

Ultimately, as Manchester United have become the latest to discover, there is a real crisis of proven managers on the market. Even the young 'gamble' candidates like McKenna are in many cases unwilling to move, leading big clubs down increasingly unlikely avenues.

In this light, landing Slot — who had previously snubbed Premier League interest after winning the title with Feyenoord — looks a real coup for Liverpool. A league winner, a European finalist and a stylistic fit, the Anfield hierarchy have found a highly suitable candidate in a summer where Manchester United and others have been left scraping the barrel.