It was almost inevitable that the towering figure of Patrick Vieira would one day return to the Premier League and that his destination would be London. While it might not exactly be the club Vieira had in mind, it’s a brave move by Crystal Palace who are now in the midst of a major rebuild under an unproven manager.
Roy Hodgson’s departure was expected and names such as Frank Lampard and Sam Allardyce were thought to be in the top five on the wanted list, but it appears that Palace chairman Steven Parish has torn up the script to reveal his ambition for the next phase of the struggling Premier League club.
Crystal Palace have proved to be a difficult obstacle for many with a combination of great spirit and durability, but they are always on the verge of a calamity and are just a handful of poor results away from another relegation fight. Parish, it appears, wants to add a new, fresh, french attacking philosophy under the guidance of the former Arsenal skipper and Invincibles legend.
OFFICIAL: Arsenal legend and 3x champion Patrick Vieira is back in the Premier League, as manager of Crystal Palace 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/nKDV18plcD
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 4, 2021
It goes without saying that Vieira is already very familiar with the game in this country and even when he was at New York and Nice, his eye must have wandered to the UK and his former Kingdom. One suspects that the former midfield enforcer was particularly keen to follow his former club’s escapades under the stewardship of Unai Emery and more recently, Mikel Arteta.
You also suspect that Vieira feels that he has been shamelessly overlooked for a post that he feels destined to fulfil and his apparent rejection as a candidate will have made him determined to show the Arsenal hierarchy that they made a mistake. Vieira has a big job ahead of him at Crystal Palace, but I suspect that it’s just a gentle warm-up for the main event when and if Arsenal open the door for him to take up his rightful position.
The new Palace manager realised not too long after he left the Gunners for Juventus in 2005 that he had made a monumental mistake as a great many others do and without realising that the club seeped into his DNA. It will undoubtedly remain that way until the day he can satisfy that appetite and urge and his recent involvement with Daniel Ek’s proposed takeover underlined that fact.
Vieira will need to hit the ground running and let’s hope that Parish will consider his future as part of a long term three-year plan to reinvent the club, but many are sceptical after his lukewarm performances with his two previous clubs. As a mouthwatering carrot for concerned fans, the new manager has pledged to play attacking football but some within football circles are convinced that this appointment will unravel quickly and could end in relegation.
Vieira has one thing that will assist him in his endeavours, he is still a huge name in football circles, a proven winner at the highest level and he was a pivotal influence at Arsenal and later worked on Manchester City’s Elite development project.
This may be a perfect fit for both parties, yet it’s a results’ business that will not allow much latitude. Problems could arise as quickly as two months into the new season and if Crystal Palace aren’t at least delivering the aforementioned entertainment without compromising their points tally, then Vieira will have an extremely bumpy ride in his new post.
The biggest problem is forging a competitive team with ten players out of contract, Zaha ready to jump ship and limited resources to work with. Rumour has it that Vieira will be looking at his youngsters with an eye to a quick promotion, but he will also spend on a clutch of exciting prospects such as attacking midfielder Michael Olise whom he recently got from Championship club Reading for an undisclosed fee.
The coming weeks will be crucial during the transfer window and I expect the new boss to bring in a few experienced heads at affordable prices, players that can head off a crisis and stabilise a rocking ship in turbulent seas.
Follow AD for the latest Arsenal news.
- Make or break For Maitland-Niles as Arteta Tries to Cash in on The Fringe Players; Is There Still a Future for Maitland-Niles ? - 30/07/2021
- Time for the Young, The Bold And The Brave: How Arteta’s New Look Arsenal Are Finally Shaping up - 30/07/2021
- Lacazette to Leave Arsenal, Abraham to Replace Him-is Everyone Going Mad at The Club? - 29/07/2021