Swansea have appointed Claude Makelele as manager Paul Clement’s right-hand man in a bid to help steer the club to Premier League survival.
The Swans currently sit second from bottom after sacking two managers this season already. Clement joins after just seven months as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Bayern Munich.
The Englishman is perhaps the most well-travelled and experienced coach from Britain for some time. Clement had been Ancelotti’s right-hand man since the two worked at Chelsea together; winning a Premier League title.
Clement’s only managerial position previously was at Derby, where he took the reins in June 2015. He had just walked away from a dream job as Real Madrid assistant.
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 3, 2017
Both Ancelotti and Clement were part of Madrid’s La Decima, though the former was relieved of duties after failing to win a trophy in year two.
His time at Derby did not go well. At least in the eyes of Derby’s owners. Despite sitting fifth, Clement’s side had won just one game in seven, and he was fired as manager in February 2016. Many thought it was extremely harsh.
The Rams went on to finish in fifth and qualify for the Championship Playoffs. There, they lost to eventual promotion winners Hull.
Rise of modern football managers
Clement continues the rise of managers that never played football at a high-level. Like Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez and Andre Villas-Boas, Clement has earned his stripes learning the hard way.
A former PE teacher, few with a similar background have reached the status of in the game of Swansea’s new boss.
Clement’s decision to takeover Swansea is a brave one. The manager could have seen out the season as Ancelotti’s sidekick in Munich, where there is a good chance the Bavarians will win another Bundesliga title; if they can hold off Red Bull Leipzig.
Third time’s the charm
Swansea are not a good team. They have collected 15 points from a possible 60, and have shipped more goals than anyone else in the Premier League.
The one good thing about Swansea’s American owners, who bought controlling interest last summer, is the club aren’t afraid to think outside the box; even if their football knowledge is lacking.
After sacking Italian Francesco Guidolin in early October, the board appointed American Bob Bradley.
The ill-timed moved was always set to fail. Bradley had never coached at a similar level. Although his time as US national team boss was pressure filled, he never faced the scrutiny day in and out he did as Swansea boss.
Supporters were dumbfounded with the move as Bradley was found out tactically as things unfolded.
After 85 days in charge, the owners had no choice but to pull the trigger.
The Makelele role
Clement and Makelele have worked together before. Makelele played under the manager at Chelsea and later coached alongside him at Paris Saint-Germain.
Clement has been thrown into the fire right away. His Swansea will face Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in three of their first six matches. The new Swansea boss has an unenviable challenge ahead of him.