Kompany at Bayern Munich merely the first bizarre choice of sunstroke season

Vincent Kompany caught in the moment. Source (X)

In three years as manager of Anderlecht, Vincent Kompany won just 42 of his 96 games. But he then moved to Burnley and wowed the Championship – the second tier of English football – as the Lancastrian side romped to the title with 101 points. There were great expectations when they took their place in the English Premier League (EPL), but those were swiftly shattered as Burnley’s players found the chasm between the two leagues far too wide to bridge.

Kompany and Burnley finished 19th, with a miserable five wins, and just 24 points from 38 games. While their attempt to play the possession-based style that had been so successful in the lower league was initially appreciated, the criticism that came later was scatching.

“Do you know what, they have been dreadful,” Roy Keane, Manchester United legend, told Sky Sports. “We talk about teams having a style of play in the Championship and trying to compare it to the Premiership, it is chalk and cheese. It is impossible.

“The goals they are giving away, it is schoolboy stuff. I admire managers who have a philosophy and a style of play, but you have got to adapt. You have got to give yourself a chance of winning football matches.”

You’d have thought this blowout of a season would damage Kompany’s reputation. Not a bit. Instead, he’s poised to swap Turf Moor for the Allianz Stadium and Bayern Munich. That’s right. Bayern – one of only four clubs to have won the European Cup/Champions League at least six times. It’s hard to think of another instance of someone climbing so many rungs of the ladder on the back of abject failure.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, one of the greatest players in the Bavarian club’s history, told Sky Italia that feedback from Pep Guardiola had played a part. “He gave us a big helping hand,” said Rummenigge. “He had him [Kompany] as captain at City and he also followed him when he was at Burnley.”

Typically, July and August are the hottest months in Europe, when locals and tourists alike are susceptible to sunstroke. But that season seems to have arrived early, if the behaviour of football clubs is any guide.

Kompany is unlikely to be the only shock appointment this summer. Enzo Maresca, who led Leicester City to the Championship title, is on the verge of taking over at Chelsea, the same club that recently parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentine coach who had made Tottenham Hotspur a fixture in England’s top four during the latter half of the last decade.

Maresca has zero experience of the top flight, anywhere. His 14 games in charge of Parma in Italy were in Serie B, and Leicester were in any case among the favourites to bounce right back after relegation in 2022-23.

Last week, there were also several stories linking Kieran McKenna with both Chelsea and Manchester United. McKenna, just 38, has done a sensational job in taking Ipswich from League One – English football’s third tier – to the Premier League in consecutive seasons. But again, he hasn’t managed so much as a game in the top league.

There will be those who say everyone has to start somewhere. They will point to Guardiola being thrust into the Barcelona role after a season in charge of the reserves. But that’s a rubbish comparison. Guardiola was steeped in the culture of the club and the playing style that had been passed on from Johan Cruyff’s time in charge. There was barely any need for him to bed in.

A better comparison is with Jurgen Klopp, who spent seven years at Mainz before moving to a ‘big’ job at Borussia Dortmund, and then an even bigger one at Liverpool after seven years in Westphalia. In that regard, Xabi Alonso has made a very sensible decision to play with Bayer Leverkusen, who he led to an unprecedented season of success in Germany.

Trying to sprint at Usain Bolt pace when you’ve barely learned to walk usually only ends one way – with face in the dirt.

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