Former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has been announced as the new man at the helm of French giants Marseille.
Marseille finished just outside of the European positions this season, in 5th, despite impressive firepower such as Mario Balotelli (8 goals in 15), and Florian Thauvin (16 in 33).
Coach Rudi Garcia announced his decision to stand down at the end of the season last week. The new man heading to the South coast may raise some eyebrows, and could not have been described as a frontrunner during Royal Ascot Betting for sure.
Villas-Boas, 41, left his last management job, at Shanghai SIPG, in November 2017, in an apparent decision to concentrate on motor racing, where he has intended to race in the Dakar Rally before being injured in a crash, and subsequently did race in the Baja TT do Pinhal in 2018.
Speaking to the clubs’ official website he said: “At Chelsea I was very radical with my philosophy, but I think with experience you have to respect the French football culture and focus on technical excellence and creativity.
“I want to construct the ideal philosophy for Marseille. I am not a defensive coach, I want to play attacking football, like the slogan of Marseille, ‘Droit au but’ (‘Straight to goal’)”
When asked about the need to buy in reinforcements during the summer, AVB was non committal:
“There are players, notably, who are coming out of contract. We must analyse all of that, considering Financial Fair Play, and put together the best team possible to achieve the supporters’ dreams.
“The directors control that situation more than me. We need to take the time to analyse and see what we can do, or not, with the budget we have.”
One player who will likely not be at Marseille next season is Balotelli, who had joined for only a 5 months period in January, but is expected to have many suitors from France and Italy. One club that have spoken of their interest in the former Inter and Milan striker, is Brescia. Owner Massimo Celino said of Balo in May:
“I’m sorry that he often attracts more attention for his faults than his qualities, of which there are many. If he adapts to what we can offer him, he’s welcome at Brescia.”
He is set to sign a 2 year deal with the French outfit, a period of time he has only once remained with a club, when he managed Zenit from 2014 to 2016. He spent less than a year while starting out with Academica, then Porto where he did win the league and the Europa League. He spent 9 months with Chelsea before succumbing to perceived player power, and then despite an impressive start with Tottenham, he was sacked within 16 months. Given the current trend in football of managers getting shorter and shorter periods in charge of sides, this may not be particularly surprising.
His most recent spell of success came managing in Russia, where he won 2x Russian Premier League titles, the Russian Cup, and the Russian Supercup.