Former-Chelsea and more recently Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has returned to football signing a two-year-contract with Russian club Zenit St Petersburg.
The 36-year-old has replaced former-Roma boss Luciano Spalletti, after Zenit went on a run of winning just one game in their last 11.
The move to Russia is a new direction for the 36-year-old, who has spent the best part of two-and-a half years plying his trade in the English Premier League.
However, his time in England was not considered a success, despite Spurs earning a club-record 72 points last season.
Andre Villas-Boas had an advantage when he moved to England, he spoke the language fluently because he was taught it by his grandmother as child, and the rookie boss will not have that luxury in Russia.
Since the recent influx of money into the Russian game the richest clubs have had more managers than toilet paper and that toilet paper has probably been treated better than managers at times. Zenit have been one of the more stable clubs in recent years, with Spalletti holding his position for close to four and a half years.
The Zenit hierarchy will be patient with the Portuguese boss, as long as they can see the club are heading in the right direction. AVB is in need of some stability at one club. A season and a half at Spurs is the longest he has ever stayed in charge of a club.
The Russian league is a tough one to manage and it is a long way from the high standards of the Premier League or La Liga for example. It could prove a major challenge, although AVB will be managing one of the best teams in the Russian top-flight.
Andre Villas-Boas was a highly-rated boss when he arrived in English football from Portugal. Comparisons with former-friend and mentor Jose Mourinho were made because of their similar career paths. However, in reality the young boss had only been a manager for two years.
In Villas-Boas’ first and only season at Porto he led the Portuguese giants to the treble of Primera Liga, Portuguese Cup and Europa League. This treble caught the attention of Europe’s big guns, especially those in the Premier League.
He joined Chelsea in the summer of 2011, with just those two years of managerial experience behind him. Despite that fact the Portuguese boss was expected to produce a new exciting Chelsea side and rebuild an aging Blues squad because of the job he had done at Porto.
The big dream move job turned into a nightmare as it very quickly became apparent that he was out of his depth at Stamford Bridge. AVB was unable to handle the big personalities in the Chelsea dressing room.
Villas-Boas lasted around nine months in the job before being replaced by former-Chelsea icon Roberto Di Matteo, who went on to win the Champions League with the Blues in the same year. Despite seeming to be a failure at Stamford Bridge he was appointed boss of Spurs later that year.
Villas-Boas first season as previously mentioned brought Spurs biggest ever haul of 72 points, but AVB’s side lost out to Arsenal in the race for the Champions League places. That summer star player Tottenham’s star player Gareth Bale was sold for a world record fee of £85million to Real Madrid.
Unfortunately that’s where Villas-Boas’ problems at White Hart Lane began. A host of new players arrived at the club with the money received from the sale of Bale. According to reports some of the new arrivals were not chosen by AVB, but the clubs director of football.
That meant that the young Portuguese boss had to attempt to gel a team together from a host of new players and win games at the same time. In truth Spurs were not a million miles away from the Premier League leaders, but they were just not winning enough games and their style of football was not that pleasing on the eye.
Largely due to a dour style of football, Tottenham’s hierarchy decided to fire Villas-Boas, after an awful 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool. The young Portuguese boss was sacked, despite having the best win ratio of any of the clubs managers in the Premier League era.
For some reason I have always liked Andre Villas-Boas. He obviously knows his football, as Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had him on his staff for a long time and that would not have been the case otherwise.
At 36-years of age AVB is still learning his managerial trade. It is very rare for such a young boss to be handed the reins of two such high-profile Premier League clubs, so he must have some sort of managerial talent.
It has to be remembered his whole Spurs career was not a disaster and the Portuguese boss does have the potential to be a top-boss, who knows maybe in a few years’ time, when has more experience he will return to the English top-flight and prove his many doubters wrong.
Will Andre Villas-Boas be a success in Russia?