Portuguese coach André Villas-Boas this evening confirmed directly to RMC Sport that he has decided to remain as the manager of Ligue 1 side Marseille for the 2020/21 campaign, thus confirming earlier reporting from L’Équipe on the matter.
AVB threw his future into doubt earlier this month when he confirmed that he would need to have conversations with Marseille President Eyraud to understand the true nature of the club’s finances for the summer window. His position was made even more fragile following the decision made by close ally Andoni Zubizarreta to resign as Sporting Director two weeks ago, owing principally to differences of opinion that the ex-Barcelona man had with President Jacques-Henri Eyraud.
Ultimately, it was Villas-Boas’ close relationship with his 1st team squad and a further frank discussion with Eyraud that convinced the ex-Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham coach to remain in his place, despite rejecting a contract extension offer from OM which was made at the beginning of last week.
Villas-Boas told RMC tonight that he was “staying at Marseille to experience the Champions’ League adventure with the players,” and that he “is staying at this club with fantastic supporters and in this town.”
The OM boss was profoundly touched by the messages that he had received from his players in recent days. The majority of the 1st team squad strongly demanded that AVB remain. After having hesitated for a long time, AVB could not see himself abandoning his players with a feeling of unfinished business.
An unnamed OM player had the following to say: “We all told him that we liked him, that we wanted to continue with him. We didn’t beg him but we almost did (laughs).”
This Monday morning, Villas-Boas spoke at length with Eyraud – both men were able to discuss a vast array of subjects in a frank and direct way. AVB brought up the departure of Andoni Zubizarreta, the arrivals of a new Director of Football and a Director General, as well as the summer transfer window. Eyraud succeeded in reassuring Villas-Boas on all these subjects.
Eyraud confirmed to AVB that he would be consulted on the profiles of the two individuals that he will be recruiting at board level. He also repeated to the Portuguese tactician what he said on RMC last week, that not every player at OM was for sale this summer.
Villas-Boas was also able to have multiple direct conversations with club owner Frank McCourt, with the American repeating to the ex-Chelsea man that he had faith in him and the Marseille project as a whole.
Finally, Villas-Boas was truly touched by the amount of messages from Marseille fans in recent days – he does not hide the fact that he is charmed by the town. He has already begun working for the summer window and on his plan for pre-season. AVB wanted to taste Champions’ League football and the Vélodrome, a desire that is going to turn into a reality. Unless something crazy happens that is, this is Marseille we are talking about after all.