Is Julian Nagelsmann destined for the Premier League?
Background image: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Julian Nagelsmann’s rise to prominence in the round leather game makes for fine reading. Like all true success stories, it has its roots in overcoming obstacles. When persistent knee injuries brought an end to a promising career as a football player, it seemed all was lost as far as success in the game was concerned. But like all true heroes, the former 1860 Munich and Augsburg U19 defender sought for a way to make things happen in the game he loves.
The next best thing from actually playing on the pitch was coaching. A brief stint as an assistant at Augsburg under Thomas Tuchel was all it took to kick start his new-found career. He then moved to Hoffenheim in 2012 and served in the same capacity. He graduated from there to the senior team. And the rest, as they say, is history. In fact, the young man made a little slice of his own, when he was appointed as head coach by the club in 2016 aged just 28 years; making him the youngest manager in Bundesliga history.
Nagelsmann proved his worth by helping the club avoid relegation in 2016, before guiding the side to a fourth-place finish the following year. Securing Champions League qualification after finishing third in the 2017/18 campaign confirmed his status as a top-class manager. Naturally, speculation began to swell, linking him with a move to the Premier League. He combines free-flowing attacking football with results. And that’s what makes him a good fit for top clubs looking to dominate the terrain for the foreseeable future.
When Mauricio Pochettino’s job came under threat, Nagelsmann was amongst the first names to be linked with the job. Before then, the German had been rumoured to be in the running for the Arsenal job, too. Unai Emery has been given until season’s end to improve results at the Emirates Stadium. The Spaniard will likely be shown the exit door if the Gunners fail to qualify for the Champions League or don't lift a trophy.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is picking up the pace at Manchester United. But his job has also been the subject of speculation when results have been bad. Unless he keeps the club in and around the Champions League places at the end of the campaign, he too could make way. Another side that may be looking to make a change at the dugout is Everton. Despite investing heavily in players in the last few summers, the side is still struggling for consistency. Marco Silva hasn't justified his continued stay at the club, so far anyway. A bad end to the season could see the Portuguese let go.
All of these scenarios will open the door for Nagelsmann to follow Jurgen Klopp’s example and become the next high-profile German manager to make the move to the Premier League. His style of football suggests he will also be another success story if he does make the move. And he will if the right offer comes along. The attractiveness of the Premier League makes it irresistible for most managers out there. Jose Mourinho reportedly turned down several offers to return to the division and with all due respect, who is Niglesmann to say no to Manchester United, or even Arsenal if they do call?
At the moment though, he is looking to push for the title in the Bundesliga. His side sits second on the table behind Borussia Monchengladbach as both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund play catch-up. If the 32-year-old were to defy the odds and lift the league title at the end of the campaign, expect to see him in England in the near future. And even if he doesn’t go that far, consistently performing both domestically and on the continent should still see him receive a call.