Villas-Boas to Celtic chat is bookie nonsense; club should steer clear

By Euan Davidson

February 3, 2021

Celtic and Andrés Villas-Boas? According to the Scottish Sun, it’s a possibility.

The Portuguese manager’s name has entered the ring for Celtic’s coaching Royal Rumble. See also Frank Lampard, Rafa Benitez, and since we’re on Chelsea managers, hell: why not put Avram Grant and Gianluca Vialli in the mix too?

AVB, who recent left Marseille in a less than pleasant fashion [The Guardian], has managed Porto, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Zenit St Petersburg and Shanghai SIPG since 2010. With diminishing returns, AVB is still a respected coach in footballing circles, but he doesn’t stay anywhere for too long.

The former L’OM coach was in the headlines this week for raging at his former employers, after the signing of Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham. No pressure on the Frenchman at his new club, then.

In 2017, AVB announced his intentions to compete in the Dakar Rally [Autosport]. When you’re rich, you can do these kinds of things.

But the ex-Porto man in the Celtic dugout? No. Once again, this is talk to make people part with their hard-earned money for a fruitless endeavour, to bookmakers who are all too happy to exploit folk in the name of a salacious rumour.

Villas-Boas might’ve fit the Hoops profile years back, but he’s looking increasingly like a spent force in the game.

When you need to wear a cap, and you’re angry about it / (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images )

Villas-Boas will not be Celtic manager

Yes, there was a time when Villas-Boas to Celtic would’ve been an absolute dream. Especially for wee dweebs like me, who like short-passing, ball retention and European things in general.

When he took the Chelsea job, his stock couldn’t have been higher. In just 58 games with Porto, he guided the club to 3 domestic trophies and the Europa League [Transfermarkt]. By anyone’s standards, that’s mightily impressive.

Since then, he’s won a Russian league and Super Cup with Zenit St. Petersburg, another team he departed on a sour note. According to FourFourTwo:

“Clearly enraged with his side’s display, Villas-Boas was furious with some of the refereeing decisions, but directed his ire at the fourth official. The frustration was clear, but the aggression was startling, as AVB pushed the official, shouted into his face and looked dangerously close to throwing a punch.

“Eventually sanctioned with a six-match touchline ban, Villas-Boas refused to acknowledge the incident post-match, but did make a remarkable admission. He had asked to leave Zenit in the summer, he said, following the title win and the board offering him a new contract, but they refused to release him.”

Add the Marseille situation to that CV, and it doesn’t make for great reading. There are many who would like a manager that’s willing to challenge the club orthodoxy at Celtic, but a habit of taking a very public strop and alienating supporters isn’t appealing in the slightest.

It’s more understandable if he was tired of working on shoestring budgets. However, his career to date reads like a who’s-who of monied football clubs. This is a guy who needs a massive budget, and he just won’t get that at Celtic.

A football journalist’s dream: Andrés Villas-Boas / (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Impossible to know Celtic’s next move

It’s odd to say, especially when Lennon shouldn’t still be the Celtic manager, but there’s not any realistic candidate that pops from the page at this moment in time.

The speculation surrounding Eddie Howe has cooled. Rafa Benitez seems like an unrealistic target, and it’s more than likely Frank Lampard will want to work in England, or take some time out. We don’t really know what the board want; either a big name to raise standards for a couple of years, or a long-term project, someone like Howe.

It really shouldn’t have got to this point. Neil Lennon has proven time and again that he’s unable to get the best out of his squad. Constant public criticism of his players and tactical ineptitude have left a stain on the Celtic legend’s status.

So, who knows what comes next for the Bhoys.