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Julian Nagelsmann: The 'young, loud, mastermind' being pursued by Tottenham - and now Chelsea

Nagelsmann was dismissed by Bayern Munich after Borussia Dortmund took top spot in the Bundesliga; German won title last season and reached Champions League quarter-finals with win over PSG; Tottenham and Chelsea seek new head coaches after sacking Antonio Conte and Graham Potter

Credit - AP Photo/PA
Image: Julian Nagelsmann is a manager in demand following his shock sacking by Bayern Munich (Credit - AP Photo/PA)

Julian Nagelsmann's sacking by Bayern Munich shocked German football - but the 'young, loud, mastermind' of a coach will not be short on offers when he wants to return to the dugout. Managerless rivals Tottenham and Chelsea are already among the sides reported to be eager to bring him in.

Earlier this month he oversaw a commanding win for Bayern in the Champions League last-16 over Paris St-Germain, backing up a perfect group stage to underline their status as major contenders for that coveted trophy. It was the kind of display Bayern paid a record 25m Euros for when they signed Nagelsmann from RB Leipzig.

But a slide in form domestically since the World Cup has opened the door for Borussia Dortmund to take top spot in the Bundesliga and, ahead of a huge showdown between the sides on Saturday, the nervous Bayern hierarchy, eager to extend a run of 10 straight titles, moved swiftly to replace Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel.

Suddenly, one of the most highly-rated coaches in world football is available.

The timing works well for Tottenham, who parted ways with head coach Antonio Conte on March 26. But they won't be alone in trying to secure Nagelsmann's services, with London rivals Chelsea searching for a new head coach after relieving Graham Potter of his duties at Stamford Bridge.

Here, we take a closer look at what makes the 35-year-old so sought-after - but why some issues which emerged at Bayern should serve as a warning to any future employers…

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Sky Sports News' chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol says Chelsea would like Julian Nagelsmann to be their next head coach after the sacking of Graham Potter

"No other team played like RB Leipzig under Nagelsmann," Sky Germany reporter Philipp Hinze was an up-close observer when Nagelsmann's prodigious coaching career brought him to the Red Bull Arena.

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After retiring at 20 and working as a scout for Tuchel at Augsburg, Nagelsmann had made his name at Hoffenheim, where he stepped up from youth coach to lead the team to a best-ever Bundesliga finish for the club. After saving them from relegation in 2015/16 the then-28-year-old took them to fourth and then third in Germany's top tier.

It didn't take long for him to make a similar impression at Leipzig, guiding them to the semi-finals of the Champions League in his first season with a notable 4-0 win over Jose Mourinho's Tottenham along the way. His second season saw Leipzig finish runners-up in the Bundesliga.

Julian Nagelsmann
Image: Nagelsmann established himself as a top coach at RB Leipzig

But it was the style of football fostered by the young coach which won so many admirers. Nagelsmann forged Leipzig's typical counter-pressing approach with technical, possessional play to turn them into an effective machine at home and abroad.

"The mixture of possession and high-intensity counter-press was the key," says Hinze. "It was very difficult to play against."

'He's near the age of the players and knows them well'

Intense, modern football on the pitch was facilitated by an intense, modern coach off it who struck up a fruitful relationship with players of a similar age.

"He's very passionate. He's still a young coach but he was a very young coach when he arrived at Leipzig and he developed at the club," says Hinze. "He's very emotional, always giving a loud 'Vamos!' after a goal or big win.

"He's clever, tactically so good and good on technical things.

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German football expert Valentina Maceri discusses if ex-Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann could become Spurs' next manager and what style he'd bring to the club

"And because of his age, it's not like he's 55 or 60 with a 30-year gap to the players' age. He's very good to be in the mind of the players, he's near the age of players and knows them very well.

"His speeches before and after the game in the locker room are very good. He was a mastermind. In Leipzig, they said to me he had an awesome, outstanding mentality."

With his reputation established, Nagelsmann took his template back to Bavaria, where he was born, in the summer of 2021. It was a sweet moment and capped a remarkable rise for a coach who had begun with the basics when he was in his early 20s.

But with his huge price tag and the sky-high expectations at Bayern, there was no doubt he was now operating at another level.

In his first season, Naglesmann led the team to the Bundesliga title with three games to spare - although a shock Champions League exit to Villarreal in the quarter-finals was a disappointment, especially after a clean sweep of the group stage.

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Sky Germany's Uli Koehler discusses Bayern Munich's decision to sack Julian Nagelsmann and appoint Thomas Tuchel

Nagelsmann repeated that 100 per cent return in this season's Champions League group stage but just four wins in the first nine games of the Bundesliga campaign was a worry. The team recovered to claim first place going into the World Cup but since the Qatar tournament Bayern's slide and Dortmund's rise has seen the title race open up - and forced the Bayern decision-makers to make a change.

"The sacking was a surprise but the results in 2023 made a point of sacking him," said Sky Germany's Bayern reporter Torben Hoffmann. "Also there was the result and performance in the defeat to Bayer Leverkusen before the international break.

"I think this World Cup and the time in November and December was not easy to handle. There was a long break between Bundesliga games and the result and early exit of the German national team was bad for the confidence of the German players at Bayern.

"Yes, in the Champions League, they played very strong but in the German league, there were a lot of ups and downs.

"An essential factor then was that Tuchel was freely available. He was the only alternative on the coaching market."

"He says what he thinks" - The clash with Bayern captain Neuer

Image: Manuel Neuer with former Bayern goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, who was dismissed by Nagelsmann

This season will also be noted for the fallout between Nagelsmann and club captain Manuel Neuer.

The club was understandably not impressed when the legendary goalkeeper broke his leg in a post-World Cup skiing accident, ruling himself out for the rest of the season. But when Nagelsmann moved to dismiss long-serving goalkeeping coach and Neuer's confident Toni Tapalovic, Neuer didn't hold back, saying his "heart had been ripped out".

"In general, the team stands behind Nagelsmann," said Hoffmann. "That was a personal issue with him and he wanted to be in the position. But he broke with Neuer and Neuer's reaction was to be expected."

It's not the first time Nagelsmann has caused friction - and it won't be the last. "He's loud, he says what he thinks sometimes," says Hinze. "That is a good mentality - but the media aren't your friend always if you say what you think.

"Maybe that was a little mistake by him in the past."

That may ring some alarm bells for Tottenham supporters, who have just seen Conte depart the club after a public dressing down of the team's players and Spurs' success in the modern era, but may be welcomed by a Chelsea fanbase who craved more substance from Potter.

But despite that potential for prickly moments, Nagelsmann's standing remains high following his departure from Bayern.

"I'm sure he will take a little break first and in the summer re-orientate himself," says Hoffmann. "He will certainly be on the agenda of many clubs."

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