Where next for Mark Hughes and Roberto Di Matteo?

Mark Hughes At Gary Speed Memorial Match

Chelsea and QPR both sacked their managers last week, where will they pop up next?

As Harry Redknapp has shown with his swift appointment at QPR, managers don't have to stay out of work for long. Unless you are Alan Curbishley of course (What is that guy waiting for?).

Here is a look at both Mark Hughes and Roberto di Matteo and where they are likely to and perhaps should pop up next...

Mark Hughes

Reputation: Hughes is a manager with his reputation in tatters, and that will make bouncing back all the more harder. Even an appearance in a television studio as a pundit would render him a laughing stock given his shocking start to the season with QPR. It wouldn't have been so bad had he not pledged QPR 'Would never be in this position again' - after they finished 17th at the end of last season. After 12 games without a win and rooted in 20th, he sure was right. He spent a heck of a lot of money, and still couldn't get it right with a whole summer to prepare, and his managerial skills appear to have been found wanting, at least that is the perception.

Premier League? Hughes will be desperate to get back on track, but clubs in the Premier League may not be quite so keen to bring him on board. It would take a remarkable set of circumstances if the Welshman did pop back up in the top division this season. Just don't expect it to be with former club Fulham. The only outside possibility we could suggest is Reading, if the Royals decide to dispense with McDermott and bring in a more experienced head.

Championship? Perhaps a more likely route back to football management for Hughes would be via the Championship. His former Manchester United teammate Steve Bruce was in a similar scenario last season, having been booted out of Sunderland, he found himself unemployable in the top division, with Wolves fans vocal in their disapproval when he was linked with their vacant post in January. Bruce got back on the horse at Hull City, currently fourth in the Championship, and is busy re-building his reputation, and could be back in the Premier League sooner than we think. Hughes may be advised to do similar, although of course it is a risk as if he fails there too his future prospects will look even worse.

Abroad? As we showed yesterday, it is only 18 months ago Mark Hughes was being 'headhunted' by Bayern Munich, just an illustration of how transient modern football can be. Yet Hughes may do well to look abroad to restore his reputation. It has worked somewhat for Steve McLaren, who was almost unemployable in the Premier League after his England nightmare. Hughes as a player took the bold but exciting move to play with Munich and Barcelona, and switching to manage in a foreign country might be an enlightening experience for him.

Roberto di Matteo

Reputation: Di Matteo may have been given the boot at Chelsea, but if anything his reputation has been massively enhanced by his spell at Stamford Bridge. Who would have thought this time a year ago he would be a Champions League winner? Di Matteo can afford to take a break and choose his next project. A look at Carlo Ancelotti with PSG, and Jose Mourinho with Real Madrid shows that there is very much life after Chelsea.

Premier League? Di Matteo will soon find himself linked with every job going, and was even suggested as an unlikely alternative to Redknapp at QPR. As a former West Brom boss, he has been there with a lesser team too, and again was harshly dismissed. If Paul Lambert does not last at Aston Villa then Di Matteo could be the man for them, or indeed at Southampton, but Di Matteo may choose to have some time away and not come face to face with his old Chelsea team so soon.

Championship? The thought of Di Matteo going from Champions League to Championship may seem odd, but it can't be entirely discounted. There is one club in particular where there could be a role for him. Old pal Gianfranco Zola is currently bossing Watford, who are in 11th in the division. If Zola wants to give the Hornets an added mid-season spark, then Di Matteo could join him on board at Vicarage Road. It would keep the Italian in football, without being so high pressured, and an unlikely promotion story could be just the tonic for the man who got West Brom promoted in 2009-10.

Abroad? Di Matteo's most likely option may well be abroad. Having made his name in England as a player, his reputation on the continent is now higher than ever after leading Chelsea to the Champions League. There will be several clubs in  his native Italy willing to consider him, and a move to Serie A would be an exciting challenge for him. 

Where next for Hughes and Di Matteo?

image: © simonw92

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