5 players who followed their manager to new clubs

FC Barcelona Celebrates Copa Del Rey Victory
Guardiola brought Thiago from Barcelona to Bayern Munich
Shea Robinson

Richarlison's €56 million move to Everton reunites the Brazilian with his former boss, Marco Silva. Having signed the 21-year-old for Watford last summer, Silva has again splashed the cash on the young forward to bring him to Goodison Park as the Toffee's marquee summer signing.

This phenomenon is not rare. Managers often feel an affiliation towards particular players. Occasionally this connection is down to the quality or potential of the player. However, more often than not the bond is established due to dressing room influence with the player acting as the eyes and ears for their manager when he is not around.

Today's manager-merry-go-round leaves bosses struggling to stay at one club for an extended period of time. Instead, they often arrive at clubs with short- to medium-term plans and leave for a new challenge once their mission is completed. That is if they are not "mutually consented" before their contract expires.

This leaves managers as nomads, moving from club to club every few years without much stability. It is little surprise then, that many coaches look to the playing staff as a form of consistency in their professional lives and repeatedly sign the same player again and again.

Inspired by Marco Silva's consecutive signings of Richarlison, here are 5 other top manager and player combinations which are seemingly inseparable.

#1 Jose Mourinho & Ricardo Carvalho (Porto, Chelsea & Real Madrid)

Aston Villa v Chelsea
Mourinho signed Carvalho three times

The love affair between compatriots Jose Mourinho and Ricardo Carvalho began at Porto in 2012. At the time, both Mourinho and Carvalho were far from being the household names they are today. The former was assuming his first big management job while the later was struggling for a first-team place.

However, the 2003/04 season was when both would become superstars. Under the guidance of Mourinho, Carvalho and Porto swept the Portuguese League title and won the Champions League for the first time in its current format. This victory led to the recognition of Carvalho as a world-class defender and forever scribed Jose Mourinho as the "Special One".

Following his incredible European success, Mourinho was headhunted by Chelsea and left for Stamford Bridge at the end of the 2003/04 season. The Portuguese manager immediately signed Ricardo Carvalho for €30 million and the duo went on to lift the Premier League and League Cup during their first season together in West London.

The pair enjoyed huge success at Stamford Bridge until Jose Mourinho left the club by mutual consent in September 2007. Carvalho remained with Chelsea for three more years until, once again, Mourinho came calling.

The Special One had enjoyed a brief spell at Inter Milan before heading to the Bernabeu in 2010. Upon his arrival in the Spanish capital, Mourinho made the now 32-year-old Carvalho his main priority and secured his signature for €7.9 million from former employers Chelsea.

The pair once again enjoyed instant success, beating Barcelona in the 2011 Copa del Rey final. However, a combination of Carvalho's age and deteriorating form led to the defender struggling for a first-team place over the following two seasons. In 2013, the Portuguese defender was released by Real Marid. Just days later, Mourinho also left the Spanish giants by mutual consent.

This spelled the end of their relationship as Carvalho signed for Monaco while Mourinho made his return to Chelsea. In total, they enjoyed 8 seasons together, winning league titles in Portugal, England, and Spain and capturing the Champions League trophy in 2004.

#2 Pep Guardiola & Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona & Bayern Munich)

Werder Bremen v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Pep Guardiola brought Thiago with him to Bayern Munich

Thiago can possibly thank Pep Guardiola for his wonderful career. At just 18 years of age, the Spanish midfielder made his debut for the Barcelona first team and became an integral member of Pep's football revolution at the Nou Camp over the following four seasons.

Guardiola had worked his way through the food chain at Barcelona, managing the Barcelona B team before getting his opportunity as first-team manager in 2008. Similarly, Thiago had worked his way through the Barcelona system, playing for the Barcelona C and B teams before making his full debut in 2009.

Perhaps it was this connection, with both men working hard to reach the top, which has led to the strong connection between the Spaniards. Over the course of four seasons under Guardiola at Barcelona, Thiago made a total of 68 appearances, scoring seven times, and winning multiple trophies.

However, by 2012, Pep had burned out and decided to take a year away from football. Thiago remained at Barcelona, playing an important role in helping the Catalans reclaim the Spanish league title during the 2012/13 season.

In January 2013, it was announced that Guardiola would return to football management, taking over German champions, Bayern Munich. He was officially unveiled as the Bayern coach on June 24th, 2013, and less than a month later had signed Thiago from Barcelona for €25 million.

The pair once again enjoyed huge success together winning three consecutive Bundesliga titles, two DFB Pokals, and the Fifa Club World Cup. However, a longterm injury meant that Thiago missed most of the 2014/15 title-winning season. Regardless, he played 67 times under Pep at the Bavarian club.

Guardiola left Bayern in 2016 to join Manchester City while Thiago remains an important player for the German champions. However, the pair may once again reunite as reports state that the City boss has been given the green light to sign Thiago once again for a fee of around €70 million.

#3 Fabio Capello & Christian Panucci (AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma & Russia)

Fabio Capello and Christian Panucci met several times throughout their careers

A unique entry on this list, the relationship between Fabio Capello and Christian Panucci evolved from manager and player to manager and assistant manager.

The pair first crossed paths when Capello purchased Panucci as a promising young defender for AC Milan in 1993. Aged 20 at the time, Panucci had caught the eye of Capello after an impressive season with Genoa. At the time, Milan was in the midst of their glory years, boasting legendary defenders such as Paulo Maldini, Franco Baresi, and Alessandro Costacurta.

However, Panucci greatly impressed during his first season at the San Siro and became a regular starter for the European giants. The pair enjoyed huge success at Milan, winning two Serie A titles, two Supercoppas, and the Champions League together. In 1996, Capello decided to move on and took over at Real Madrid.

It took only six months for Capello to pursue his former defender, signing Panucci halfway through the 1996/97 season. The arrival of Panucci at the Bernebeau made him the first ever Italian to play in the Spanish league. Capello spent just a single season in the Spanish capital, however, with Panucci in the side he guided Real Madrid to the La Liga title before moving back to Milan.

Panucci suffered from a trigger-happy Real Madrid board changing managers four times during his three years at the club. He moved to Inter Milan, Chelsea on loan, and Monaco before reuniting with Capello again. Meanwhile, the Italian manager had left Milan for the second time and was now managing Roma.

Capello overhauled the Roma squad and won the Serie A title in the 2000/01 season. Building on his success, Capello once again turned to Christian Panucci, providing the defender with an opportunity to settle at one club. Panucci joined Roma for €9.81 million and immediately became the rock in their defense.

While trophies didn't come during the pairs time together at Roma, both became legends at the club and stayed together for three seasons before Capello moved on to Juventus. Panucci would remain at Roma for eight seasons, amassing 226 caps for ‎I Giallorossi.

The story may have ended there, however, in 2012 Fabio Capello was announced as the new manager of Russia as they bid to revamp the team before hosting the World Cup in 2018. Capello invited Panucci, who was keen on becoming a manager, to work as his assistant and both managed the Russian national team to the 2014 World Cup.

Panucci qualified for his Uefa Pro Licence during this time and left the Russian setup after they were eliminated from the World Cup to pursue his own management experiences. He currently manages the Albanian national team while Capello was recently sacked by Jiangsu Suning of China.

#4 Ronald Koeman & Graziano Pelle (AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord & Southampton)

Dutch Eredivisie - FC Twente v Feyenoord
Ronald Koeman and Graziano Pelle have been at three clubs together

Ronald Koeman and Graziano Pelle first crossed paths under extremely difficult circumstances at AZ Alkmaar in 2009. The Dutch manager was making his return to management after being sacked by Valencia a year previous while the Italian striker had struggled for game time in his two seasons at AZ.

Koeman immediately took a shining to Pelle and installed him as the first-choice striker for the 2009/10 Eredivisie season. AZ had previously won the league title under Louis Van Gaal and expectations were high at the North Holland side. However, Koeman lost 7 of his first 16 games in charge and was sacked halfway through his debut season.

This brief encounter left a lasting impression on Koeman. Taking over as Feyenoord manager in 2011, the Dutchman pursued Pelle in 2012 and captured the forward on loan for the season. Pelle had moved to Parma in 2011 but failed to make an impression, and in 2013 he signed for Feyenoord on a permanent contract.

Becoming the first Italian to play for the Dutch club, Pelle shone under the guidance of Koeman. During his first season, Pelle netted 27 Eredivisie goals, beating the record for an Italian player scoring in foreign leagues, previously held by Luca Toni and Christian Vieri. He became a cult hero at Feyenoord due to his ever-changing hairstyle and free-scoring ability.

In 2014, Koeman announced he was leaving Feyenoord and quickly arrived at St. Marys as the new manager of Southampton. He immediately went after Pelle again, signing the striker from Feyenoord for an undisclosed fee. Koeman and Pelle both got off to a flying start on the English south coast, picking up the Manager of the Month and Player of the Month awards for September 2014 respectively.

Finishing 7th in their first season at St. Marys, Koeman and Pelle went one better the season after, bringing Southampton to their best ever 6th place Premier League finish. However, in 2016 Koeman left the Saints to take up a position as Everton manager. Pelle also left St. Marys in the summer of 2016, packing his bags for a final payday in China as he signed for Shandong Luneng.

After spending five seasons together at three different clubs, Koeman and Pelle failed to win a single trophy. However, the pair managed to bring significant success to Southampton and break some club records during their time at St. Marys.

#5 Harry Redknapp & Jermain Defoe (West Ham, Portsmouth & Tottenham)

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Harry Redknapp has signed Jermaine Defoe on

The ultimate "wheeler and dealer" manager, Harry Redknapp could appear on this list with a number of players. He signed Peter Crouch while manager of Portsmouth and Tottenham after the giant striker initially played for him at Southampton. Redknapp also signed Nico Kranjcar for Portsmouth, Tottenham, and on loan at QPR.

However, we chose Jermaine Defoe for this list as the bond between himself and Redknapp is the most special of the lot. It was Redknapp who gave Defoe the platform to launch his career when signing him as a 16-year-old from Charlton Athletic in 1999. The controversial move saw Charlton awarded around €2 million in compensation.

Defoe played his first season at West Ham in the Under 19s team, winning the Academy League title in 1999/00. His performances at youth level impressed Redknapp and he was called up to West Ham first team for the following season, making his full debut aged just 19. Still raw, Defoe was loaned out to Redknapp's former club, Bournemouth, for a season-long loan.

Upon Defoe's return from his loan spell, Redknapp had moved on to a Director of Football role at Portsmouth. However, the striker never forgets the belief Redknapp had in him at the beginning of his career, later telling the Daily Star:

"Even when I came to Bournemouth on loan, he used to come to all the home games. Every home game he was here."

Defoe became prolific for West Ham, scoring 29 goals in 93 appearances and earned a high-profile move to Spurs. Redknapp, in the meantime, had been at Portsmouth, Southampton, and was back at Portsmouth again. It was during his second spell in charge of Pompey that we would meet Defoe again.

In January 2008, Defoe was struggling for a first team place in a strong Spurs side and made the move to rejoin Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth for around €12 million. He was prolific for Pompey during the second half of the 2007/08 season, scoring eight goals in 12 appearances.

However, at the end of the season, Redknapp once again departed his management position. A few months later, he replaced the sacked Juande Ramos as the new manager at Spurs. Defoe, who had remained at Portsmouth was quickly targeted and joined Redknapp for the third time in January 2009 for around €19 million.

The next season, Defoe and Redknapp helped Spurs to their most successful season at that time, finishing 4th and qualifying for the Champions League. Defoe went on to be an integral part of the Spurs side which finished 4th twice in three years and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Redknapp was sacked by Spurs in the summer of 2012 while Defoe remained at White Hart Lane until 2014, scoring 76 goals in 182 games. The last word on this relationship must go to Defoe who said of Harry Redknapp in FourFourTwo documentary: The Art of Goalscoring - "I love him... I still message him now."

Edited by Sripad


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