Obviously I now know that he has had a remarkable first full season in management after leading Porto to four trophies including the Europa League. I also know that he is just thirty-three years old and that he was given a scouting job at the age of sixteen by Sir Bobby Robson.and has worked with the great Sir Bobby and Jose Mourinho. The final thing I know is that he has no playing experience, just lots of coaching. That needn’t matter as someone once said, you don’t have to have been a horse to be a good jockey!
Chelsea, or Roman Abvramovich, have seen fit to pay over £13 million to Porto in order to secure the services of this young Portuguese manager who really is stepping in to the lions den.
Villas-Boas has already forged a reputation off the field as someone who does not give media interviews very often. He believes that his teams do the talking for him on the pitch. In England, with the ferocious tabloid press and the twenty-four hour a day demands of Sky Sports, that simply won’t be an option.
The media will be one problem he faces but the major one will be the issue of addressing the need of his new boss to see Chelsea lift the Champions League trophy. He knows that anything less than that and he might be looking for another job come this time next year.
Although Chelsea are a great club with some top class players, the task facing Villas-Boas is anything but straight forward. He inherits an ageing team with some very strong characters and egos. At the tender age of thirty-three, he will be dealing with players who are the same age as him. These players have been together a long time and the manager must make some tough decisions if he is to succeed in his task.
The manager must decide if he will attempt to take the likes of Terry, Lampard and Drogba to a level that they haven’t quite managed to attain in their long careers, or whether he will rip the heart out of the team and try to rebuild.
Another potential problem lies in the position of Fernando Torres. After spending £50 million on the striker, Abramovich is determined to see a return on his investment. The fact that Torres kept appearing in the side last season despite a dreadful run of form can only be attributed to the fact that the owner insisted on seeing him play. We can only assume that the new man will have the same instructions. If so, it will be a major test of Villa-Boas to see if he can return Torres back to his former self.
I am sure that Villas-Boas will talk of evolution rather than revolution, but unless he is to be given more time than those before him, he will need to have an instant impact. That might mean replacing some of his thirty-somethings with some twenty-somethings. He will certainly know that he needs to build a new side, it will just be a matter of drastically he wants to do it.
It is exciting to see a new young manager arriving at a top club and Villa-Boas hasn’t put a foot wrong in his career so far. This will be his toughest test so far but he has shown great maturity and a desire and ability to be a winner. I wish him all the best in his new role.