So is being a top 4 manager about which team you manage or the manager himself? Or both? Which carries the most 'weight'?
Could say, Martinez get Wigan to the top 4? Could Alardyce with West Ham? Could 'arry have with Portsmouth?
How on earth do you know who is a 'top 4 manager' before they become a top 4 manager?
IMHO it isn't so much about the manager, as the resources the club has. Fine AVB *kept* Porto where they had been accustomed to being, so he didn't make a complete hash of it in Portugal. But until he had a chance with a club who had the resource in the EPL to achieve and sustain 4th, then how can you tell?
It's odd how the clubs are called the big four - given that those clubs have (apart from two) had multiple managers. Woolwich Utd Liverpool Chavs and now Citeh and maybe us had or now have the resource to sustain a top 4 challenge.
So realistically, until a manager gets to manage one of those clubs, how do you know if they're top 4 material?
Levy decided that 'arry wasn't the way, and decided on AVB - is he any worse a choice than say Moyes or O'Neill or Benitez or..... I would say that you can't tell. No way to predict.
If you look back (I think I started a thread) that showed how the EPL has become dominated by certain clubs over the past 20 years or so. Before that, certain clubs had better runs - true, but the top of the table positions seemed to be more conducive to change season on season. The change to domination seemed to be coincident with the EPL and CL - the obvious inference is that the money, and hence better players, is likely to be the key - not so much the manager. (AVB could be seen as a Portuguese equivalent case in point there).