Patrick Vieira: Crystal Palace appoint former Arsenal captain as new manager

Crystal Palace confirm ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira as their new manager; the former Nice boss replaces Roy Hodgson; Lucien Favre and Nuno Espirito Santo were close to being appointed Palace manager in recent weeks

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira last managed Ligue 1 club Nice
Image: Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira last managed Ligue 1 club Nice

Crystal Palace have appointed Patrick Vieira as their new manager on a three-year contract.

Palace wanted a new boss in charge ahead of Monday's return to pre-season training.

Talks in London throughout the week went well after an initial agreement was reached on Tuesday.

Palace's initial preference was to appoint a manager with Premier League experience but with time ticking and a number of players contemplating their contractual situations, the club has relaxed its requirements to help speed up the appointment.

Sporting director Dougie Freedman will work closely with Vieira on all football matters, primarily transfers - an area that caused talks with Nuno Espirito Santo to break down three weeks ago.

"I am really excited to have this opportunity to return to the Premier League, and manage this great football club, as we begin a new chapter together," said Vieira.

"It is a project that is really appealing to me, having spoken a lot with the Chairman and Sporting Director about their ambition and plans for the whole club including the Academy. The club has fantastic foundations in place after many years in the Premier League, and I hope we can make further improvements and continue to drive the club forward.

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Vieira was not first choice but Palace's quick decision to turn to him after Lucien Favre's last-minute U-turn ensures contract talks with a number of players will involve the new boss.

One out-of-contract player Vieira cannot call upon is Patrick van Aanholt, who has decided to leave the club to seek a fresh challenge.

Lucien Favre
Image: Lucien Favre turned down the opportunity to take charge of Crystal Palace

Palace insist the new manager will work closely with their academy and Vieira's work with Manchester City's development side has been recognised.

Palace's academy was promoted to Category One nearly a year ago.

"I'm delighted and excited that Patrick has agreed to join Crystal Palace as our manager following successfully learning his trade at the City Group, and experiencing positive managerial spells at New York City and then Nice, who he led to the Europa League," said Palace chairman Steve Parish.

"We have a lot to do to prepare in the coming weeks and I look forward to working closely with Patrick and Dougie in bringing in some new faces to help us all to a successful season."

Vieira last managed Ligue 1 club Nice, first taking charge in the summer of 2018 before being sacked in December last year following a run of five defeats in all competitions.

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Former Arsenal forward Rachel Yankey has lauded Patrick Vieira's management style and hopes he can excel at Crystal Palace after becoming their new manager

The former Arsenal captain, who won three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups with the Gunners, previously coached at Manchester City before spending two and a half years in the United States in charge of MLS side New York City.

Vieira, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, was linked with Newcastle back in 2018, while in 2019 Arsene Wenger backed his former captain to become Arsenal manager in the future.

Palace's long search finally over...

Favre's shock U-turn last week prompted Palace to draw up a fresh list of candidates to replace Roy Hodgson given the Swiss' appointment was on the verge of being confirmed.

Only a work permit and the finalising of contracts with his backroom team kept Palace from unveiling Favre, but after turning the opportunity down the 63-year-old told them he had not rejected them for another club, despite reports suggesting otherwise.

Nuno Espirito Santo ended Tottenham's wait to find a new head coach, a search which has lasted more than two months
Image: Nuno Espirito Santo has taken over as Tottenham head coach

Favre became the frontrunner for the role after talks with former Wolves boss Nuno broke down.

The Eagles have also considered Frank Lampard, Swansea manager Steve Cooper, and highly-rated coach Valerien Ismael, who swapped Barnsley for West Brom last Thursday.

It was unclear if Lampard and Eddie Howe remained on the shortlist after Favre's decision, while there was a belief last week it was too late to bring Burnley boss Sean Dyche to Selhurst Park.

Hodgson departed his boyhood club after four years in charge and guided the Eagles to a 14th-placed finish in the top flight in his final season.

Vieira facing biggest managerial test

Analysis from Sky Sports' Charlotte Marsh:

"Some may raise their eyebrows at the appointment of Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace. The recent managerial merry-go-round has seen similar names linked with jobs at Tottenham, Everton and Crystal Palace.

"But Steven 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 Invincibles 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.

"Crystal Palace were hoping to appoint a Premier League-proven manager, but soon decided this was not a pre-requisite. And some may be surprised at how much Vieira has improved the two senior clubs he has managed.

"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."

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