Ranking the 8 best ever mid-season Premier League appointments by Top Six sides

Mauricio Pochettino

It's fair to say that, aside from a few exceptions, it's rare to see elite level managers coming into a new job during a season.

Clearly, it's not an ideal situation for anyone walking into a new club and, this season in particular, the task looks particularly daunting.

With managers at the top of the game coming with their own philosophies, trying to implement that while navigating an ever increasing fixture list looks a ludicrously difficult task.

Still, football is a results business of course and every so often there is the need to make a change during a campaign. 

That's not to say it can't lead to success, however. With that in mind and considering how Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with Manchester United of late, here's how Give Me Sport ranks the 8 best mid-season appointments made by 'Top Six' sides in terms of their immediate impact.

8. Harry Redknapp - Tottenham, October 2008


Brought into a rare relegation fight for Tottenham, Harry Redknapp completely transformed a team struggling under Juande Ramos.

Picking up early wins against Liverpool and Manchester City, the former Portsmouth boss dragged Spurs up the table and even guided them to the 2009 League Cup final, though lost on penalties to Manchester United.

Champions League qualification the season after followed as Spurs started to prove they could compete amongst the elite and, while the whole affair ended rather sourly amid links with the England job, Redknapp was a masterstroke of an appointment.

7. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - Manchester United, December 2018


Though Rio Ferdinand's infamous 'United are BACK' video is played on loop these days in really rather a cruel way, it's not as if the BT Sport pundit was saying something ridiculous at the time.

Following his shock caretaker appointment, Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer embarked on a run of 14 wins in 19 games and one that included their best European night since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson after a dramatic win against PSG with a depleted team.

And yes, we're including the Europa League final victory.

While the Norwegian is under pressure now, he did guide them to a third-placed finish last season and has further developed what appears to be a superstar in the making, a certain Mason Greenwood.

6. Kenny Dalglish - Liverpool, January 2011

Kenny Dalglish

A bonafide legend of the game and even more important to Liverpool Football Club, Kenny Dalglish's return as manager after the sacking of Roy Hodgson in 2011 provided a brief respite from the crisis that had engulfed the Reds under Hicks and Gillet.

A League Cup win and the signings of Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez made his second coming a success, despite his eventual sacking to make way for the Brendan Rodgers era after a lowly eighth-placed finish.

5. Mikel Arteta - Arsenal, December 2019

Mikel Arteta

The most recent example of how much success can be had if you get a mid-season appointment right.

After the turgid Unai Emery era, the Spaniard's clear message of hard work and developing a style from his initial press conference would surely have been enough to please a fanbase (in the short-term) who'd seen their side drift from pillar to post since Arsene Wenger lost his mojo in the mid-2010s, though Mikel Arteta had more prestigious trinkets in mind. 

Winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield, the decision to turn to him looks an inspired one.

4. Roberto Mancini - Manchester City, December 2009

Mancini Man City

The treatment of Mark Hughes may have left a sour taste in the mouth as it became increasingly obvious Manchester City's new owners had bigger names in mind but, frankly, Roberto Mancini's appointment was absolutely necessary.

Less than a year after joining, the Italian ended the club's longest-ever trophy drought by winning the FA Cup and, in 2012, orchestrated the most dramatic league winning campaign of all-time.

At the time, City were looking to translate their almost unprecedented level of investment into silverware and Mancini helped them do it.

3. Guus Hiddink - Chelsea, February 2009 

Hiddink Chelsea

Hiddink's initial spell at Chelsea after arriving to clear up the mess Luis Felipe Scolari left behind was a roaring success.

Under his watch, the Blues won every Premier League game bar one (even winning that wouldn't have led them to the title) and would have reached the Champions League final for the second year in a row were it not that for that Barcelona tie, the cause of Didier Drogba's infamous outburst. 

An FA Cup win followed and Hiddink left until 2016 though his second stint didn't yield quite as much success. 

2. Jurgen Klopp - Liverpool, October 2015

Klopp Liverpool

A transformative appointment for Liverpool Football Club, to see a manager of such stature arrive during the season was strange. Still, Jurgen Klopp had seemingly burnt himself out with Borussia Dortmund and, after a short break, was ready to undertake a new project even in October. 

Though, naturally, the Reds were far from the all-conquering side they are now during those early days of his reign, his first few months did lead Liverpool to both the League Cup and Europa League finals. 

Undoubtedly the best Liverpool manager of the modern era, it may not have been rocket science to bring him in after his success in Germany but the decision to make such a drastic move and sack Brendan Rodgers just months after he'd almost won the Premier League to ensure they captured Klopp was ruthless but effective. 

1. Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea, March 2012


This isn't to say Roberto Di Mattteo is a better manager than Jurgen Klopp, so put those pitchforks away. 

However, what the Italian did during his first few months was nothing short of a miracle. Replacing Andre Villas-Boas in March 2012, Di Matteo had shown little in the way of being an elite level coach during his time with MK Dons and West Brom and was largely seen as a steady hand to navigate yet another Chelsea crisis. 

Obviously, it couldn't have gone much better for him. A dramatic 4-1 win over Napoli in the Champions League last 16 set the tone for a trophy-laden few months which saw the Blues win the FA Cup and Europe's greatest prize (in perhaps the most dramatic of fashions) after it had eluded Roman Abramovich's riches for so long. 

As far as short-term mid-season appointments go, it's the best of all time. 

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