Crystal Palace set to appoint Patrick Vieira as new manager

Martin Macdonald
Patrick Vieira sacked by Nice following five straight defeats

Patrick Vieira sacked by Nice following five straight defeats

Patrick Vieira has agreed personal terms to become the new manager of Crystal Palace.

The Eagles have been on the lookout for a new boss since veteran manager Roy Hodgson announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2020/21 Premier League season, having again guided Palace to comfortable safety.

Several names have been linked with the job since including Steve Cooper, Eddie Howe and Lucien Favre.

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Favre allegedly came close to being appointed last week, but had a change of heart at the last minute and turned down the job.

Vieira, who is currently a pundit for ITV at Euro 2020, has now been targeted and will be appointed before Monday, according to the Athletic.

The legendary Premier League midfielder was previously a coach at Manchester City before managing New York City FC in Major League Soccer.

He was most recently in charge of Ligue 1 outfit Nice, but was dismissed in December of 2020.

What went wrong for Vieira at Nice?

Much was expected of Arsenal icon Vieira when he took over at Nice in 2018.

He arrived in the Cote d’Azur as a high-profile replacement for Favre, who had departed for Borussia Dortmund, and was expected to carry on the Swiss’ excellent work.

Backed by the arrival of owners Ineos a year later, the expectation was that Nice would grow to become a serious contender to finish in the top three of Ligue 1 each season – if not a significant challenge for Paris Saint-Germain.

Vieira’s results were very different, though, and . Instead of jostling with the top three, though, he left Nice with the club in 11th in Ligue 1.

“Patrick Vieira put all his heart and his professionalism at the service of OGC Nice during the 30 months that this common adventure lasted,” a club statement said.

That is certainly true, but there is also no doubt that he came up short. His final match was a microcosm of his tenure.

A 3-2 home defeat against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League may not seem a disaster on paper, yet the reality was far less flattering for Vieira’s side.

They were completely outplayed throughout and rode their luck to get as close to the Bundesliga side as the scoreline might have suggested. Indeed, a repeat of the 6-2 loss they suffered in Germany earlier in the competition might have been more fitting.

Vieira offered protests, claiming that his team was too small to match their opponents in the air, but in reality Nice had been treading water for weeks, if not months, before he was sacked.

The 2020/21 campaign was set up perfectly for Nice to finally flourish. Summer recruits included former Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, ex-Monaco winger Rony Lopes as well as highly rated Lyon duo Amine Gouiri and Jeff Reine-Adelaide. Additionally, Hassane Kamara, one of the best full-backs in the league the previous season, was added from Rennes.

And while results were initially positive, performances were distinctly more questionable. They climbed to fourth in the standings at the beginning of November, yet that was a false position, even before an injury to defensive keystone Dante proved Vieira’s undoing.

Without the experienced former Bayern Munich man to hold the team together, Nice became little more than a rabble. They were twice been thumped by Sparta Prague in the midst of a five-match losing sequence that also saw a horrible home defeat to winless Dijon.