Back in 2011 Andre Villas-Boas was one of the hottest coaching prospects in world football after leading FC Porto to the league title, the Portuguese Cup as well as the Europa League in his first season in charge. Chelsea took a punt on the young trainer as successor to Jose Mourinho, but it only lasted nine months as the gamble didn’t pay off.
Subsequent spells at Tottenham, Zenit St Petersburg and Shanghai SIPG followed, but having ended his time in the Chinese Super League in November, the 40-year-old is now reportedly keen on trying his luck in the Bundesliga.
“I’ve been trying to learn German for a few years now, but it’s difficult,” the Portuguese coach told Sport 1 at the Laureus Sports Awards in Monaco. “But it remains my goal to master the language in the end and also open this market for me. Maybe something will happen in the summer.”
When Villas-Boas was questioned about the possibility of Bayern Munich, he told Merkur: “I would be lying if I said I am not interested. Bayern’s quality is unbelievable and among Europe’s elite, with wonderful players serving up magnificent football. I wouldn’t criticise Carlo Ancelotti. He is a great person and a very good coach, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Bayern have made a fantastic comeback under Jupp Heynckes. Everyone around the world watches Bayern.
“I don’t see a lack of quality in Bundesliga. It’s competitive and has good players.”
The Bavarian giants could be an option in the summer, but there are perhaps more likely destinations for the trainer who won the European Coach of the Season award in 2011 based on his relative lack of success since leaving Porto.
So just what are the potential options should Villas-Boas actually try his luck in the Bundesliga?
Villas-Boas has been linked with the Wölfe in the past and it is far from certain that their appointment of Bruno Labbadia is a long-term solution to the problem at the Volkswagen Arena. The recent merry-go-round at the Volkswagen-backed club shows that the club are not shy of sacking the man in the dug-out.
Andries Jonker saved the club from relegation last season, but that was not enough to save him from the chop. Should Bruno Labbadia keep Wolfsburg up this season, there is no guarantee that he will be given the chance to take the further next year.
Much depends on the immediate future of Julian Nagelsmann here. The young prodigy has made such an impact during his short Bundesliga career that he is being linked with the Bayern job next season should Jupp Heynckes indeed stick to his guns and leave once the season is over. Borussia Dortmund could also be in the running for Nagelsmann’s services.
Having enjoyed remarkable success relative to the club’s size, Dietmar Hopp will want to appoint a coach capable of sustaining Hoffenheim’s position as a genuine, regular Champions League contender. Villas-Boas has the European experience, and could well be on the Sinsheim club’s watch-list.
This one might seem a long-shot, but speculation over Ralph Hasenhüttl’s future has begun leaving the option of Villas-Boas open to discussion. Leipzig have struggled somewhat this season to replicate the stunning form that took the newly promoted side to a second-place finish last season.
As the Bundesliga Fanatic’s very own Abel Mezsaros discussed on the Talkingfussball podcast, the future of Hasenhüttl at the Red Bull Arena is far from certain with the 50-year-old Austrian potentially having taken the club as far as he can having enjoyed success perhaps more quickly than expected.
The Red Bull-backed club will have a plan in place to ensure that their success continues as they maintain their course to be one of the top Bundesliga teams for the foreseeable future. Could that contingency plan have Andre Villas-Boas’ name on it?
Like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund could be in the market for a new trainer in the summer, should they decide not to give the gig to Peter Stöger on a permanent long-term basis. Their decision to appoint Peter Bosz from Ajax in the summer ultimately came to a sorry end, so the next appointment to the Schwarzgelben hot-seat will have to be a well-thought out one.
The Villas-Boas of 2011 would have been an obvious fit for Dortmund, but it remains to be seen whether the Villas-Boas of 2018 is as attractive to a club with BVB’s ambition and expectations.
When Dieter Hecking left VfL Wolfsburg in 2016, one of the names strongly linked to replace him was that of Villas-Boas. With the Fohlen not enjoying the best of Rückrundes and in danger of missing out on European qualification the pressure on Hecking’s position could come under some scrutiny at the end of the season.
The club is certainly big enough to attract Villas-Boas and the prospect of turning Gladbach into genuine contenders for the Champions League places (à la Domenico Tedesco) would be a big pull.
This will only be a goer if HSV avoid relegation and even then it will take a lot for the bosses at the Rothosen to persuade Villas-Boas to take the reins at the Volksparkstadion.
Yes Hamburg are a massive Traditionsverein, but they have been suffering from poor management and short-sighted planning over the past couple of years. This could be a step down too far for an ambitious Villas-Boas, but on the other hand the prospect of turning things around at the sleeping Dino could be a challenge to engage a character like the Portuguese.
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