Since Sam Allardyce’s sudden departure from Selhurst Park just days after successfully guiding Palace to Premier League safety, several names have been strongly linked to the Eagles’ hotseat. Claudio Ranieri, who famously led Leicester City to title glory in 2015/16, has been strongly linked, as well some homegrown options – namely Sean Dyche and Garry Monk – the latter has since landed the vacant managerial role at Middlesbrough. But perhaps the most intriguing of those in the frame is the former Alaves manager, Mauricio Pellegrino.
The Argentine, who recently severed his ties with the Spanish club, has reportedly been sounded out by the Palace hierarchy in an attempt to lure him to south London – a move that makes perfect sense considering that Pellegrino already has experience of coaching in the Premier League after a stint at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez in 2009, a role wherein he worked alongside current Palace coach Sammy Lee. Towards end of his playing career, Pellegrino also made twelve appearances in a short stint at Anfield, coming after six successful years at Valencia, where he won two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup, as well as featuring in two Champions League finals.
A highly respectable playing career appears to have stood him in good stead for a career in management, as a relatively short yet impressive CV continues to attract the attention of clubs in Europe’s major leagues. Palace fans will be hoping that, if appointed, the 45 year-old can replicate the relative successes of recent young foreign imports to the Premier League of a similar pedigree, such as his fellow countryman Mauricio Pochettino, and the newly appointed Watford boss Marco Silva, who was apparently on Palace’s radar before joining the Hornets.
Chairman Steve Parish has been quoted as saying that he is seeking a long-term appointment, as opposed to a manager who simply see’s Crystal Palace as a stepping stone to greater things. Should he take the job, Pellegrino would become Parish’s seventh managerial appointment in as many years. Despite having sacked only two of these (Neil Warnock and Alan Pardew), this is a particular merry-go-round which Parish is keen to halt, and understandably so.
It is also worth noting that Parish has looked favourably on homegrown managers in the past, and so Sean Dyche remains a viable, if not quite as exotic contender. The Burnley boss has worked miracles with the Lancashire club on a tight budget, and a switch to SE25 may well tempt him, with a larger transfer kitty and arguably a more talented squad of players on offer.
Whoever takes over the reigns at Selhurst Park will be boosted by the fact that Wilfried Zaha, Palace’s star-man last season, recently committed his long-term future to the club.