So apart from a formal press conference, the deal to bring Sven-Göran Eriksson to the Walkers Stadium looks all but done.
In all today’s rumour and speculation, it feels as if the central irony of the story has been missed. Leicester have replaced a manager who built his reputation on defensive solidity and tactical awareness accompanied by a strong list of contacts with a manager who…well you get the idea.
The appointment of Sven for all the world looks like Sousa 2.0. A big name to impress the investors and raise the profile of the club paired with a safety first brand of football (at least, that’s what Sousa promised too).
It’s difficult not to share in some of the scepticism expressed in several quarters this evening. Since he left Manchester City, Sven has spent a disastrous spell as manager of Mexico before a brief stint as Director of Football at Notts County. Following his departure from Meadow Lane he returned to lead an uninspiring Ivory Coast team out of the 2010 World Cup at the group stage. None of these adventures provide much inspiration.
Almost every media figure questioned about the former England manager has nothing but glowing things to say about Sven the man. Sven the manager however, particularly in England, remains an absolute mystery to many. Those who became frustrated by Paulo Sousa’s insistence on picking the system first and the players second will find little comfort in the appointment of the Swede.
Sven’s only experience in English domestic football came in a single season at Manchester City. There is little solid evidence to suggest that a Leicester side in that image might emerge, but for what it’s worth;
- Sven’s Manchester City of 2007/08 failed to score in 12 league matches, but kept 11 clean sheets.
- Their biggest winning margin in league matches was just 2 goals.
- That season Manchester City’s longest winning steak was three games, their longest sequence of successive draws was three matches, and the side’s longest run of defeats was three games too. Sven’s City longest run of clean sheets was three matches, his sides longest goal drought was also three league games.
If nothing else, perhaps all Foxes fans would welcome that sort of stability at the moment.
Like any new manager Sven deserves support. It would be completely wrong to write off the man before a ball has even been kicked. But, as he must surely know having watched the end of Sousa for far longer than the club have cared to admit, any chance of seeing out his 2-year contact will be scuppered if the Foxes don’t start to climb the table within a matter of weeks.