In this series, I will talk about 10 of my picks for football managers that are, In my opinion, are doing great work at their current clubs and will be moving on to bigger teams. I will dive into moderate depth about why they are doing well, and how they rose to prominence. As a Disclaimer, I do not support any of these teams, so if I have any wrong information, please let me know in the comments and I will fix it! Also thank you for the support everybody! It means a lot that you guys are enjoying this content!
Part 1 https://www.reddit.com/soccecomments/jkb4ks/10_football_managers_that_you_may_not_know_much/
Part 2 https://www.reddit.com/soccecomments/jkklmk/10_football_managers_that_you_may_not_know_much/
- Julian Stephan (Stade Rennais 2018-)
Julian Stephan is a 40 year old French manager with potential as high as his star player, Eduardo Camavaniga. The 40 year old took over Stade Rennais in 2018, and his side have looked very quality since he did so. Despite existing for 119 years and being in the top-flight for the last 27 years, 2019/2020 was the first time that Rennais qualified for the champions league group stage.
Julian Stephan had a very unspectacular and short playing career. He started off at PSG in Ligue 1. After that, Stephan joined several different french teams, each time on a free. Stephan Played as a central Midfielder. He played the most games of his career for Stade Briochin, a side that he played 51 games for. In 2007/2008, he called it quits and left FC Drouais
Beginnings in management
Stephan has always had management in his blood. His father, Guy Stephan, is currently an assistant for Didier Deschamps on the French National Team. While he was a player for FC Drouais, Stephan was also an under 18's manager for the side. This helped him kick off his career, although I'm not entirely sure what he managed to achieve with the Drouais under 18's. When he retired from football at the age of 26, Stephan also left his role as the U18 manager. He took a year off, but then was hired by LB Chateauroux (that was difficult to spell) in 2009/2010. Stephan must have shown promise with his time at Drouais, as his next job was several divisions up in Ligue 2. He stayed there for a season, before receiving yet another promotion. In 2010, Stephan was hired by Ligue 1 side FC Lorient to be a U18's manager. This time, he stayed there for 2 seasons before leaving for Stade Rennais, where he would find the most success
Beginnings at Stade Rennais
In 2012, Julien Stephan was hired as the U19's manager. This was a big opportunity, as Rennais are considered to have one of the premier, if not the best, academies in France. The most notable player produced by Rennais is Ousmane Dembele. Stephan worked with Dembele as the U19's manager and helped his career get off to that flourishing start that made him wanted all over Europe. Sadly, the career has been stagnated by injuries, but the talent is still there, and Stephan played a big part in helping him develop. After 3 years with the U19's team, Stephan was promoted to manage the Rennais reserves. Keep in mind that although he has had several jobs at this point, he was still only 35 years old at this time. Stephan spent 3 years with the reserves, doing a quality job once again, and continuing to learn the philosophy of Stade Rennais. In December of 2018, Nottingham Forest Legend
Sabri Lamouchi was fired by Rennais after the side found themselves sitting in the bottom half. for most of the season. Julien Stephan was placed as the interim manager while the search began for a new manager.
First Management Job
Like Sergey Rebrov, Stephan demonstrated why he deserved to keep the job as the full-time manager. In a short period of time, Stephan turned the season around. He was also given the task of guiding the team in their Europa League round of 32 game after Rennais unconvincingly finished 2nd in the group stages under Lamouchi. In the round of 32, Stephan's side took out a decent Real Betis team 6-4 on aggregate. Unfortunately, they were not blessed with luck that season, so they Drew Arsenal in the round of 16. However, it was all looking good whenever Rennais shockingly defeat Arsenal 3-1 at home. However, the joy wouldn't last for long because they absolutely bottled it by losing 3-0 away at the Emirates. Nevertheless, they gave Arsenal a tough series. At the end of the season, Rennais finished 10th. A respectable finish for a side sitting struggling until Stephan took over. The biggest accomplishment for Rennes that season was winning the Coup De France. This meant that they would play Europa League football once again, despite only finishing 10th in Ligue 1.
Second Season In-charge
In Stephan's second year at Stade Rennais, he began to make a name for himself. In the summer, Stephan spent well in the transfer window. Important players like Ismaila Sarr, Remy Bensebaini, Tomas Koubek, and Benjamin Andre left the club. All of the players leaving the club gave Stephan an additional 50 million to spend. In total, Stephan spent 64 million in the 2019/20 summer window on players Raphina, Mbayne Niang, and Edouard Mendy, who would end up being good signings. In the league, Rennais had a brilliant season. After starting off brilliantly, Stade Rennais dropped off form for a while into the midtable area once again. However, at week 16, there was a turning point, and Rennais began to play brilliantly. Their form was impeccable, which led to them finishing 3rd in the league. In this season, wonderkid Eduardo Camavaniga began to emerge as a huge talent. Stephan's signings and the team clicked brilliantly almost everywhere except for Europe. In the Europa League, they had a season to forget, as they finished 4th in a strange group that Saw Cluj and Celtic advance, but Lazio and Rennais get eliminated. Nevertheless, Rennais remarkable turnaround from 10th to 3rd and the emergence of Eduardo Camavaniga are what I believe to be Stephan's biggest accomplishments. Stephan showed his ability to develop players once again by trusting the 16-year-old and playing him at the big level.
As the season just started, there isn't too much to discuss. However, Rennais is off to a brilliant start once again, as they find themselves in 3rd place. After 8 games. If this continues remains to be seen. In the champions league, Rennais first CL adventure ever found them in a group with Chelsea, Sevilla, and Krasnodar. The start hasn't been eye-opening, as they picked up 1 point from the first 2 games, but it's not the end of the world. Again, Stephan spent 72 million very well in the transfer market. He made 50 million of that in sales, most notably Selling Raphina to Leeds and Edouard Mendy to Chelsea. Some of the bigger signings are Wonderkid Jeremy Doku, Martin Terrier, and former wonderkid Daniele Rugani.
Julien Stephan is an admirer of Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri. His greatest asset is his tactical flexibility. Like Rebrov, Stephan is not afraid to change things up. Also like Rebrov, Stephan is a great man motivator and knows how to give a team talk. As for the tactics themselves, once again I am not by any means going to be an expert, and I may be wrong, so I am counting on Stade Rennais fans to fix my errors or make this more detailed. Stephan typically uses a 4-2-3-1, a 4-3-3, or a 4-1-4-1. The team is relatively balanced and they like to play short passes to control the possession. The team loves to play wide and look for crosses to targets in the box. They also play out from the back to launch the attack, but this varies on how intensely the opposition presses. In defense, they can sometimes drop into a 4-4-2. They use pressing, but not as intensely as teams that use Gegenpress. They defend very compactly and look to create numerical advantages so they can shut down passing lanes. When they do win the ball, Rennais will look to counter quickly and catch the opposition out
Conclusion and Sources
I believe Stephan will be moving up in the managerial ladder for several reasons. First, he is only 40 years old, and still has 25-30 years of coaching left in him. This means he will only improve as a manager. Secondly, Rennais have spent a fair chunk of money in the last 2 seasons. This proves Stephan's ability to spend money wisely, and also to spot a player. This is a very vital asset for big clubs who regularly have to improve like Man City, or for teams who are still big teams but might lose out their key players to slightly bigger sides. Sides like AS Monaco. These two things, along with Stephans's ability to adapt, and this only being his first job in charge, is what I believe will make him a name we will see in the Champions League for years to come.
Tactics (good article, but could be outdated, LMK) :https://footballbh.net/2019/03/30/julien-stephan-rennes-ligue-1-tactical-analysis/
Info on Stephan: https://www.unibet.co.uk/blog/football/ligue-1/master-of-metaphor-julien-stephan-steers-rennes-to-new-heights-in-ligue-1-1.1244768
Transfers and club info :https://www.transfermarkt.com/fc-stade-rennes/transfers/verein/273/saison_id/2020
In case you're wondering how I only have 3 sources, I generally just google all of the Europa league information, and how they did in the league. Or I just know it in my head. Next Club Prediction: Lyon
Rudi Garcia seems to be under some pressure, and I can see them turning to a talented French Manager in Stephan. Lyon are regular CL members, so I think this would be a good step up for Stephan.