There was a time over the summer of 2023 when Patrick Vieira was a strong contender to become the next Leeds United manager. The Frenchman had presented well to the club’s board during his interview and looked on track to step into the Elland Road dugout for the upcoming season as Leeds targeted an immediate return to the Premier League.
In the end, the club – with little appetite to stay longer than 12 months in the Championship, opted instead to appoint a promotion specialist in Daniel Farke who had a proven track record having taken Norwich City up twice.
Whites strike Gold with ex-Canary
After a turbulent summer in West Yorkshire, it appears to have been the correct decision as the latest Paddy Power football odds reflect with Leeds at just 11/4 to win the title.
What is most telling, however, is that the Championship betting odds for promotion show the Whites to be at a mere 4/5. Essentially, even if this season doesn’t produce silverware, Leeds appear to be on course to meet their goals after a successful managerial hunt.
Vieira leaves England to revive his managerial career
As for Vieira, it’s no secret that the 47-year-old wanted the chance to steer Leeds to promotion but when the opportunity to manage RC Strasbourg came up after the Whites made their decision, he grabbed it with both hands.
Having been sacked by Crystal Palace in March, this was Vieira’s chance to prove that he was still worthy of being considered a manager whose fresh ideas worked.
Fast forward to the last week of November and Strasbourg lie 15th in the Ligue 1 table and only a point off the relegation places. The stark reality is that it has been an underwhelming start for Vieira in northeast France.
Of course, the club’s new recruitment policy hasn’t made Vieira’s life any easier with the onus now on nurturing youth following a takeover by BlueCo in the summer.
BlueCo also own Chelsea Football Club but appear to be using Strasbourg as a place to develop upcoming talent. This off-field transfer philosophy has caused frustration among the fanbase who were hopeful that a Todd Boehly-led takeover would lead to sizeable investment in incomings as was the case at Stamford Bridge.
Instead, the hierarchy have asked Vieira to keep the club in the league while developing the players at his disposal. Given that the Frenchman had a successful spell coaching in the Manchester City academy, it becomes easier to understand why the new Strasbourg owners saw him as a perfect fit for their vision.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place
The obvious problem for Vieira with regard to his long-term ambitions is that it is going to be extremely difficult to win anything owing to the constraints he’s working in.
Additionally, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that after being sacked by Nice and Palace, the 47-year-old’s stock has fallen over recent years. In essence, Vieira needs to do something notable to get his career trending in the right direction again but there are serious question marks around how possible that will be at La Meinau – the current league standings support these concerns.
Conversely, with the odds stacked against him, Vieira also has the chance to make waves in the French top flight. The inescapable truth is that this is Vieira’s only option as treading water with Strasbourg might see the end of his managerial hopes at the top end of European football.