Patrick Vieira’s biggest managerial test

The recent managerial merry-go-round has seen similar names linked with jobs at Tottenham, Everton and Crystal Palace – Nuno Espirito Santo did the rounds at all three before landing at Spurs, while Everton opted for Rafa Benitez.

But Steve Parish, Dougie Freedman and the board have moved away from the conventional managerial names to land Vieira, who had turned down the vacant role at Bournemouth earlier in the summer, reportedly in favor of a Premier League move.

He was a player synonymous with Arsenal’s Invisibles and while no one can deny he was among the most talented midfielders of his generation, he has little managerial experience in Europe, let alone in England and even that has not been at senior level.

But Steve Parish, Dougie Freedman and the board have moved away from the conventional managerial names to land Vieira, who had turned down the vacant role at Bournemouth earlier in the summer, reportedly in favour of a Premier League move.

He was a player synonymous with Arsenal’s Invisibles and while no one can deny he was among the most talented midfielders of his generation, he has little managerial experience in Europe, let alone in England and even that has not been at senior level.

Vieira also oversaw the incomings of European football royalty. Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Lampard have all played under him, giving the former France international a key insight into coaching players of such quality.

A look at his most recent spell at Nice could be a concern. Interestingly, he replaced Favre at the Ligue 1 club, who made a late U-turn and decided not to take the Crystal Palace job in June.

His first two seasons can be regarded as largely successful – a seventh then fifth place league finish saw Nice secure Europa League football. But the 2020/21 campaign started off poorly and Vieira was sacked after a run of five successive defeats and an exit at the Europa League group stages. They finished bottom of Group C with just one win and five losses.

‘You’re never a real coach until you get fired’ was Arsene Wenger’s advice to Vieira.

The ex-midfielder has long targeted a return to the Premier League, recently telling the ITV Football Show: “I always wanted and I still want to come to manage in the Premier League because what we were saying earlier about the passion of the fans. I believe that the Premier League is one of the most interesting leagues in the world.”

Now Vieira has his chance to test himself in England’s top tier, and if you look deeper, the former midfielder has the key qualities Crystal Palace were looking for.

Crystal Palace are also keen to utilize their talented academy players in the first team, and Vieira’s time as manager for Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad gives him a wealth of knowledge when it comes to academies. It is perhaps demonstrated best when one of his first signings at NYCFC was Jack Harrison, who has been so impressive for Leeds and recently signed on a permanent deal.Vieira’s powers of persuasion and connections will be vital in his first few weeks – Crystal Palace saw a number of their player contracts expire at the end of June. That is an immediate concern that needs to be addressed.

Will his arrival also peak the interest of Wilfried Zaha and encourage him to stay? The forward is often linked away from Selhurst Park in any transfer window, but the chance to work under a big name could see him remain in South London.

Hodgson has built a solid base at Crystal Palace. Last season saw them never really in danger of a relegation battle, and Vieira’s job now is to build on that to propel the club on to further success.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply