Crystal PalaceFootballLigue 1paulo fonsecaPremier Leagueroy hodgsonsteve parishThierry Henry

Crystal Palace eye ‘extraordinary’ Hodgson replacement who’s won 9 trophies

Crystal Palace are reportedly still keeping tabs on Lille coach Paolo Fonseca as the Premier League outfit scour the market for a long-term Roy Hodgson replacement. 

Returning for a second spell at Selhurst Park following a disappointing end to the Patrick Vieira era, 76-year-old Roy Hodgson is starting to feel like a habit Crystal Palace just can’t kick.  

A comfortable, cozy, somewhat safe option he may be but, while Hodgson has presided over an impressive series of results since being parachuted back in six months ago, that Palace turned to the most familiar of faces following Vieira’s sacking doesn’t exactly reflect well on the club’s strategy or their long-term blueprint. 

Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Reports claims that a man a quarter-of-a-century Hodgson’s junior has already been lined up to take over in 2024, at least, suggests that Palace are aware of the need to move on and plan for both the immediate and the faraway future. 

Paolo Fonseca could take over Crystal Palace

Reporter Ignazio Genuardi claims on Twitter (ok, Elon, ‘X’) that Paolo Fonseca has admirers in South London. 

The 50-year-old Iberian has been on Palace’s radar for some time now. The Guardian reported back in March that The Eagles had included Fonseca on their list of potential Hodgson replacements before handing the former England boss a one-year extension, and he is likely to be at the forefront of Steve Parish’s thinking once again a few months down the line. 

Fonseca, now at Lille in Ligue 1, has accumulated no fewer than nine trophies during a storied coaching career, collecting silverware during spells at Porto, Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk. He also led Roma to the semi-finals of the Europa League, and was initially expected to take over at Tottenham Hotspur in 2021 before the talks collapsed. 

Thierry Henry thinks Fonseca is ‘extraordinary’

Fonseca’s flexible, dynamic approach, meanwhile, should suit a Palace squad chock-full of technically gifted, up-and-coming talents.

“What the coach is doing is extraordinary,“ Premier League legend Thierry Henry told Amazon of Fonseca, impressed by his impact at a free-flowing Lille outfit.

“A four-man defence which turns into a three-man defence. They play, they press, they score.”

“In football, sometimes things are too serious. Sometimes, you need to also make the people smile,” Fonseca explains to the Ligue 1 website, comments which would be well received by the likes of Ebere Eze and Michael Olise.

“I take pleasure in my profession.”

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