The Premier League’s status as one of the top leagues in the world has attracted talent from across the globe. This has included names from off the pitch as well as on it. Many of the world’s best managers have taken the helm of the country’s best clubs in order to test their skills in one of the world’s toughest leagues. Many have struggled to conquer English football but some have been able to lead their clubs to glory. But just who are the most successful foreign managers in English football?
Gerard Houllier (3 trophies)
In the early 2000s, Gerard Houllier managed to start building Liverpool back into a side that was able to win trophies. The Frenchman never quite managed to secure the elusive league title he was looking for but he was a master in cup competitions. He proved this in the 2000-01 where the Frenchman guided The Reds to a treble cup win by winning the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Cup that season. Houllier would triumph in the League Cup for a second time in 2003 defeating arch-rivals Manchester United to win his third major English trophy. When Houllier tragically died in 2020 from heart issues, the club’s staff, players and fans showered his life with tributes underlining how fondly remembered Houllier was to this very day.
Manuel Pellegrini (3 trophies)
Being at the helm of Manchester City is a double-edged sword. You may be armed with piles of cash and talent but you are expected to succeed on all levels. Just ask Manuel Pellegrini how tough this may be to balance. But the Chilean did this well with his three seasons at the club. The Chilean gaffer masterminded City to a double in first season in charge winning both the 2013/14 Premier League title and League Cup. He also won the League Cup again in 2016 proving his mettle to reign in English football. However, failures to win the Premier League again as well as the Champions League ended his time in Manchester prematurely as City’s bosses looked to someone else to bring more silverware to the club.
Jurgen Klopp (3 trophies)
If anyone is set to become a modern day hero at Anfield, it’s Jurgen Klopp. The casually-dressed German maestro has enjoyed a momentous time managing The Reds ending many of the trophies that have eluded them in the past. Having won the 2019 Champions League final, Klopp finally secured Liverpool their first league title in 30 years winning the 2019/20 Premier League trophy. He has slowly added more domestic titles to his trophy cabinet winning both the 2021-22 FA Cup and League Cup trophies. The growing silverware collection under Klopp’s guidance is turning into a legendary era that Liverpool fans will remember for decades to come.
Jose Mourinho (8 trophies)
Has there been a manager more divisive in football than Jose Mourinho? “The Special One” was brought to Chelsea in 2004 to win silverware that other managers had failed to do under Roman Abramovich’s watch. He did this with ease as his tactical geniuses secured back to back Premier League titles in both the 2004/05 and in 2005/06 seasons. He added other silverware to his time at Stamford Bridge too winning the 2005 League Cup final and the 2007 FA Cup final. After a time in Europe, Mourinho returned to earn more silverware with The Blues completing a double in the 2014/15 season winning both the Premier League and the League Cup that season. He then moved to Old Trafford in 2016 to try and turn the tide for Manchester United. Despite winning the 2016-17 League Cup title, his time in Manchester was tumultuous at best and ended with just one trophy. His legacy on English football remains intact however as a revolutionary who changed the game no matter what you thought of his skillset.
Pep Guardiola (8/9 trophies)
Having seen how cutthroat the owners of Manchester City can be, it was a slight risk for Pep Guardiola to put his status as one of the top managers around on the line. Thankfully though, everything has worked out well between the two parties. Pep has managed to take City to the next level making nigh-on unbeatable in some seasons. Guardiola has managed to win at least one title every season he has been at City including multiple Premier League titles and cup trophies. His best season was in the 2018/19 season completing the clean sweep domestically winning the league title and both cup competitions. With such consistent success, it is safe to say Guardiola is one of the best managers of his time.
Arsene Wenger (10 trophies)
With a name matching the club he controlled for nearly three decades, Arsene Wenger transformed the English game as we know it today. The Frenchman joined Arsenal in 1996 has an unknown entity but he quickly stamped his mark on the game. Unafraid to bring talent from across the globe to London, Wenger turned The Gunners into a domestic powerhouse winning three Premier League titles under his watch. This included their unbeaten season in 2003/04 – a feat that no British club has managed before. In addition to that, Wenger had a strong love affair with the FA Cup winning it 7 times over his career. Those wins helped Arsenal become the most successful side in the competition and Wenger the most successful manager in the trophy. With 10 trophies, Wenger is the most successful foreign manager in English football and one that will be remembered by football fans for decades to come.