Coaching hotseats spur change

In the second part of our round-up of the close season's early transfer deals, looks at the changes taking place on Europe's benches, where the continent's coaches are proving almost as restless as the players.

While it is no surprise to see coaches moving on when things fail to work out, eyebrows are always raised whenever they move on after a successful season. Felix Magath is a case in point. Ousted by Bayern Munich in 2007 after landing two consecutive league and cup doubles, the former Germany international promptly arrived at unfashionable Wolfsburg and steered them to their first Bundesliga title. Having restored his reputation, however, Magath has decided to pass up the opportunity to lead Die Wölfe in next season's UEFA Champions League, preferring instead to join Schalke 04, who have not won the German championship for over four decades.

Wolfsburg have compensated for Magath's departure by drafting in Armin Veh, another coach who knows what it takes to win the Bundesliga, having led Stuttgart to the top in 2007. For the second year running deposed champions Bayern Munich will start the season with a new man at the helm. Following Jurgen Klinsmann's disappointing reign and Jupp Heynckes' brief spell as caretaker coach, Louis van Gaal has been handed the task of returning the Bavarians to the top, a job he seems well equipped to perform after guiding AZ Alkmaar to the Dutch title.

Heading in the opposite direction is Martin Jol, who has left Hamburg to take the reins at Ajax after Marco van Basten's uninspiring spell in charge. Meanwhile, a hero's homecoming awaits Christoph Daum. Fresh from keeping Cologne in the Bundesliga following a successful promotion push, the German tactician returns to Fenerbahce, where he won two Turkish championships in 2004 and 2005. Daum boasts the experience and the record to succeed once more at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, where he takes over from the recently dismissed Luis Aragones.

When I started out in coaching 23 years ago I said to myself that I'd end up in charge of Real Madrid one day. And that dream is now a reality.
Manuel Pellegrini on taking over the Real Madrid reins

Another Spanish manager in the news is Ernesto Valverde. The former Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol supremo is returning to Spain after a successful sojourn with Olympiakos. The Greek double winner's next port of call is Villarreal, that post becoming available after Manuel Pellegrini called time on his five-year stint to replace the outgoing Juande Ramos at Real Madrid.

"When I started out in coaching 23 years ago I said to myself that I'd end up in charge of Real Madrid one day. And that dream is now a reality," commented the Chilean, who was described by his new president Florentino Perez as "an intelligent, hard-working and well-balanced professional who treats the ball with care".

There are big changes afoot in Italy as well. AC Milan institution Carlo Ancelotti is departing after eight seasons in charge, during which time he presided over two UEFA Champions League wins and a FIFA Club World Cup triumph. His decision to head to Chelsea prompted Rossoneri bosses to follow Barcelona's lead and appoint a former club legend with no experience in big-time management.

The Italian heavyweights will be hoping the appointment of Brazilian idol Leonardo proves as successful as that of Pep Guardiola's at the Camp Nou. The former Brazil international certainly has the pedigree to do just that. "My inspiration is the football Brazil played under Tele Santana," commented Leonardo. "I don't know what tactical system we're going to adopt but I've got an attacking game in mind, a style that will entertain and let the players express their skills to the full."

I know what I'm getting into and that a lot is expected of me. There's a lot of pressure wherever you go, but there's even more here.
Didier Deschamps on his return to Marseille

Paris St Germain, one of Leonardo's former clubs, are just one of the many French sides who have made a change on the bench with next season in mind. The Gallic managerial merry-go-round started when Marseille idol Eric Gerets decided against renewing his contract. The club's directors moved quickly to fill the vacancy, soothing the nerves of the Velodrome faithful by appointing Didier Deschamps, the man who captained l'OM to Champions League glory in 1993.

"I know what I'm getting into and that a lot is expected of me," said Deschamps on his return. "There's a lot of pressure wherever you go, but there's even more here. But I need that pressure if I'm going to express myself and get the most out of my team."

Long-standing rivals PSG followed the trend of appointing a former player by naming Antoine Kombouare as Paul Le Guen's successor. A member of PSG's 1994 league-winning side, Kombouare has spent the last four years in charge at Valenciennes. Elsewhere in Ligue 1 Frederic Antonetti has left Nice to step into Guy Lacombe's shoes at Rennes, with Lacombe heading to the Mediterranean coast and the Monaco hotseat. Not to be outdone Le Mans, who hired and fired three coaches last term, have called upon the services of Portugal's Paulo Duarte, who will be doubling up as Burkina Faso coach next season.

And with the close season having only just started, there are sure to be more managerial manoeuvres in the weeks ahead. Fortunately for you, will keep you right up to date on who is going where.