Ten surprise Premier League managerial exits and appointments - as predicted by Football Manager 2023

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A look into the crystal ball with the help of the world’s most popular football management simulation to see what changes in the dugout could lie ahead.

The sack race is now in full swing as the Premier League season reaches a crucial stage where the road to success and failure can take all manner of twists and turns.

The last two weeks have seen Jesse Marsch and Nathan Jones depart from Leeds United and Southampton respectively as both clubs look to kickstart their fight to preserve their Premier League status and there is speculation over several other managers that are said to be under consideration.

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So we thought we’d fire up Football Manager 2023 and see what changes the world’s most popular managerial simulation predicts for the coming months - and there are some surprise moves made by clubs around the top flight and, in some instances, the managers themselves!

To set the scene, the 2022/23 season has come to an end and the first month of next season has been played. Manchester City have retained their Premier League title by seeing off Arsenal and Liverpool to claim part of a domestic double with an FA Cup Final win over Manchester United. However, a treble evaded Pep Guardiola as his side suffered a 2-1 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final.

Middlesbrough, Burnley and Watford have been promoted into the top flight and they have replaced Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Bournemouth, who are all struggling to adapt to life back in the Championship.

So, here are the ten managerial changes that have occurred in the game.

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West Ham United: David Moyes out, Ronald Koeman in (March 2023)

David Moyes has guided West Ham United to Europe on two occasions. (Getty Images)David Moyes has guided West Ham United to Europe on two occasions. (Getty Images)
David Moyes has guided West Ham United to Europe on two occasions. (Getty Images) | Getty Images

The Hammers were sat just one point and one place above the relegation zone when the axe fell upon Moyes. Surprisingly, Ronald Koeman was selected as his replacement and perhaps more surprisingly the former Everton and Barcelona boss inspired a run of form that took his side into 12th place in the table by the time the full-time whistle was blown on the season.

Leicester City: Brendan Rodgers out, Neil Lennon in (March 2023)

Former Crewe, Leicester and Celtic midfielder, who also played for Northern Ireland. Has managed Celtic twice, Bolton Wanderers, Hibernian and was most recently with Cypriot club Omonia, until being sacked last month.Former Crewe, Leicester and Celtic midfielder, who also played for Northern Ireland. Has managed Celtic twice, Bolton Wanderers, Hibernian and was most recently with Cypriot club Omonia, until being sacked last month.
Former Crewe, Leicester and Celtic midfielder, who also played for Northern Ireland. Has managed Celtic twice, Bolton Wanderers, Hibernian and was most recently with Cypriot club Omonia, until being sacked last month.

Now this we like! Not because of any dislike for Brendan Rodgers, but more for the old boy going back to his former club. Neil Lennon was a Foxes favourite during his time as a player so the thought of him going back to his old club as a manager feels right. Mid-table safety was secured after his appointment and three wins in their opening four games of the new season as Leicester sat in a Champions League place.

Manchester United: Erik ten Hag out, Ruud van Nistelrooy in (May 2023)

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Yes! Another old boy going back to where he acheived success as a player. Obviously we feel bad for the virtual Ten Hag, who paid the price for the run of six consecutive defeats that saw his side plummet from Champions League contenders and into the cruel reality of Thursday nights in the Europa Conference League. But seeing Ruud van Nistelrooy in the home dugout at Old Trafford just feels wonderfully bizarre.

Fulham: Marco Silva out, Dragan Stojkovic in (May 2023)

Getty Images

The first change that wasn’t inspired by a sacking! Silva was targeted by Portuguese giants Benfica and resigned from his role at Craven Cottage to return to his homeland. Fulham’s search for a replacement took them to Serbia as Dragan Stojkovic took over and promptly sold national hero Aleksander Mitrovic to Atletico Madrid.

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Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira out, Marcelino in (May 2023)

Palace have been on a poor run of form of late, winning only one league game in their last eight. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Palace have been on a poor run of form of late, winning only one league game in their last eight. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Palace have been on a poor run of form of late, winning only one league game in their last eight. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Another departure of the manager’s own doing and perhaps the biggest shock on this list as Vieira left his role at Palace to replace former France team-mate Didier Deschamps by taking charge of Les Bleus. The Eagles opted to go Spanish in their search for a replacement with former Valencia and Villarreal boss Marcelino named as Vieira’s successor. As it stands he is yet to win a game after drawing two and losing two of his first five in charge.

Brighton and Hove Albion: Roberto de Zerbi out, Lionel Scaloni in (May 2023)

Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni touches the World Cup trophy as the team receives their gold medals during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022. - Argentina won in the penalty shoot-out. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni touches the World Cup trophy as the team receives their gold medals during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022. - Argentina won in the penalty shoot-out. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni touches the World Cup trophy as the team receives their gold medals during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022. - Argentina won in the penalty shoot-out. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Poor Roberto! A promising season that saw the Seagulls flirt with the European places ended with a dismal run of form that led to his players losing confidence in him. A resignation followed and Albion performed something of a coup by naming Argentina’s World Cup winning coach Lionel Scaloni as his replacement. His big summer signing took him back to South America - via Blackburn - as he landed Rovers striker and Chile international Ben Brereton-Diaz.

Arsenal: Mikel Arteta out, Luis Enrique in (June 2023)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Picture: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Picture: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Picture: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) | Arsenal FC via Getty Images

A manager going back to where it all started as Mikel Arteta resigned from his position at the Emirates to replace Xavi at Barcelona. The Gunners continued with the Spanish theme as Luis Enrique took his first managerial role since ending his reign as Spain manager after their World Cup Finals failure. Surprisingly he only made one signing as Ivan Toney became a Gunner in a £35m move. Enrique’s Arsenal have not lost a game in the first four matches of the 2023/24 season - although three of them have been draws.

Brentford: Thomas Frank out, Kjetil Knutsen in (June 2023)

Brentford are on a charge, with just four defeats all campaign and an almighty 35 goals scored in 21 matches, placing them in 7th.Brentford are on a charge, with just four defeats all campaign and an almighty 35 goals scored in 21 matches, placing them in 7th.
Brentford are on a charge, with just four defeats all campaign and an almighty 35 goals scored in 21 matches, placing them in 7th. | Getty Images

Another shock move as Frank departs for AC Milan after leading the Bees to an eighth placed finish in the Premier League and to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. His replacement was Bodo/Glimt manager Kjetil Knutsen, who swapped European football with the Norwegian outfit for a first crack in the Premier League. He has lost the services of Ivan Toney - as mentioned earlier - but has used the money to fund moves for Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson, Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi.

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Nottingham Forest: Steve Cooper out, Liam Rosenior in (June 2023)

Cooper has overseen a wonderful turnaround at the City Ground with Forest now sat six points clear of the relegation zone. They are turning into a very hard side to beat and credit for that has to go to Cooper.Cooper has overseen a wonderful turnaround at the City Ground with Forest now sat six points clear of the relegation zone. They are turning into a very hard side to beat and credit for that has to go to Cooper.
Cooper has overseen a wonderful turnaround at the City Ground with Forest now sat six points clear of the relegation zone. They are turning into a very hard side to beat and credit for that has to go to Cooper.

He may have made 4,746 new signings over the last 12 months but it wasn’t enough to preserve Forest’s Premier League status or keep Cooper in a job at the City Ground. He was sacked in the aftermath of their relegation and has been replaced by Hull City boss Liam Rosenior. He has made a flying start to his time in charge after a hectic summer of eight new signings and 15 departures, with Wolves winger Daniel Podence and Celtic’s Reo Hatate inspiring his side to four wins in as many games.

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