Patrick Vieira beats Steve Cooper to land Crystal Palace job3 min read
In what might have felt like the most drawn-out of periods since Roy Hodgson retired, Crystal Palace fans might finally get to see an end in sight: a new manager is likely to be arriving. Palace have, according to all major media reports, landed Patrick Vieira as their new head coach. The former French midfielder, who played for clubs like Milan, Juventus, Internazionale, and Arsenal, will arrive in England to sign a three-year deal and take over.
Palace were close to pointing Nuno Espirito Santo, but talks broke down in rather acrimonious fashion thus bringing an end to the move. They also believed they were close to appointing former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, only for the Swiss to change his mind and search for some time off to recover. Vieira, then, looks to be one of the names on the list that has finally made the commitment.
Another name who was linked was Steve Cooper. The young coach has enjoyed success at youth level with the England national sides, but also had a strong rapport with Swansea City. He took the Jacks close to a return to the Premier League, only to fall short. Palace were believed to be keen, but a breakdown in agreement overcompensation meant that such a move for Cooper was never likely to actually take place. Palace, then, appear to have landed a name who was on the list, available, and keen to get started.
Cooper was believed to be the first-choice from a range of domestic options who were heavily linked with the job. Palace, though, are believed to have baulked at the cost, leaving fans worried that it might take longer than expected to bring in a replacement for Hodgson.
Why has the managerial search been so prolonged?
Eagles fans are right to wonder why Palace appear to have floundered through much of the post-season window trying to find a new coach. They are, though, not the only ones. Major clubs in Britain, including Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Celtic have found it hard to land a full-time, A-grade option. Indeed, the last club on that list provides the most illuminating option to think about.
Palace were believed to be extremely keen on landing Eddie Howe at one stage. The former Bournemouth coach was heavily linked with Palace and other jobs. However, despite being expected to take over at Celtic, the Hoops pulled out, declaring that “matters beyond control” had stopped the agreement from taking place. Could those some uncontrollable matters be playing a role in why Howe was never seriously linked with the Palace job when push comes to shove?
From high-grade foreign appointments like Nuno or Favre to robust domestic appointments like Cooper, fans have been through the ringer. Now, though, it looks like Vieira will arrive as a halfway house; a big name foreign coach with experience of the English game from a playing perspective.
It’s almost impossible to know how this will go, but one thing is for sure: it will not be dull. Fans will just need to hope that the wait was worth the effort.