Liverpool, Barca and Bayern coach exits set up a busy summer

Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, three of the biggest clubs in the world, have a few things in common. They are perennial contenders to win their domestic leagues, they've all won the Champions League over the past decade, and, oh yeah, as of this summer, all three of them need to hire a new coach.

If global football were consolidated into a single pyramid, these three clubs would be at the top -- all of the best players and the best managers flow into these powerhouses. As such, these job openings have the potential to leave a ripple that will be felt throughout Europe and the world.

It started in January with Jurgen Klopp's shocking announcement that he would leave Liverpool at the end of the season, ending one of the most successful tenures in Premier League history. Klopp oversaw a turnaround that led Liverpool to their first league title in 30 years, a Champions League title, and plenty of other trophies -- but he said he was "running out of energy" for the job.

A day later, Xavi Hernandez announced he would step down from Barcelona following a loss that saw Barca concede five goals at home for the first time since 1963. Xavi led Barca to a LaLiga title last season, but this campaign has been rocky. "I don't want to be a problem for the club -- I want to be a solution," he said.

Last month, Thomas Tuchel made a similar announcement, vowing to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season. For Bayern, a club that spends far more money on players than any other in the Bundesliga (and most clubs in Europe), sitting second behind the Xabi Alonso-led Bayer Leverkusen on the league table was untenable.

With that, three of the most prestigious manager jobs in the world will soon be open and, as a result, the biggest moves of the summer transfer window might revolve around managers, not players.

As these three clubs comb through candidates and start making job offers, there will be crossover and jostling for pole position -- the best candidates will be under consideration by all three. Then, as coaches leave their current jobs to fill the vacancies at Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern, they will leave more vacancies behind, setting off a chain reaction felt throughout the offseason.

And yet, the reality is that not every coach is a good fit for every job. These clubs in three different leagues have their own unique challenges and their own particular requirements. Sure, they can all hire a big-name coach, but they need to hire the right coach to fit their needs. The style of play and identity at Liverpool aren't the same as at Barca, which differ from Bayern.

So, that leaves us with some big questions to answer. Who are Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern seriously considering as candidates? Who should these clubs hire based on their individual needs? What sort of ripple effect will impact clubs throughout Europe as a result? And what about Pep Guardiola -- he's hinted he'll leave Manchester City sooner rather than later, so how could he fit into all of this?

With reporting and analysis from Mark Ogden, Ryan O'Hanlon, James Olley, Julien Laurens and Rob Dawson, here's everything we know so far.

Behind the scenes of the coach searches at Liverpool, Barca and Bayern

The search is on, and there are some names that have already been attached to all three openings.

Two names -- Xabi Alonso and Roberto De Zerbi -- are a common thread. Bayern's honorary president, Uli Hoeness, said last week that his club, Liverpool and Real Madrid, who only recently gave coach Carlo Ancelotti a new contract, have all been attempting to hire Alonso, who is on course to guide Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title this season.

With Alonso having spent five years with Real Madrid during his playing career, he is not considered a realistic contender for the job at rival Barcelona, but Brighton coach De Zerbi is under consideration at Camp Nou and is also on the radars of Liverpool and Bayern.

And just to further connect the dots, multiple sources have told ESPN that Tuchel has been discussed as a candidate at the highest level at Barcelona, who need to replace Xavi.