Marco Silva’s hot-seat at Everton was barely tepid on Thursday evening when speculation broke regarding his replacement.
The man in the frame is Vitor Pereira and though this initially prompts suspicion that journalists have put two and two together due to the club’s keen interest in the Portuguese coach back in 2013, there does appear to be some substance behind the link.
After guiding Shanghai SIPG to their first ever Chinese Super League last month – an achievement that is admittedly made less impressive by having Hulk, Oscar, and Marko Arnautovic to call on – Pereira is reportedly seeking to leave Asia after two years and has long made no secret of his desire to work in the Premier League.
Furthermore, according to journalist Goncalo Lopes, an intermediary has already contacted the Everton board who still recall Pereira’s commendable audition six years ago.
Back then the sticking point was that he didn’t speak English. Now he is fluent.
In so many ways Pereira fits the bill perfectly for the Toffees and when his availability is thrown in too it’s difficult to believe that he isn’t very high up on their wish list as Duncan Ferguson mans the fort this weekend against Chelsea.
Perhaps it’s time then that we found out more about him...
Who is he?
Should the appointment go through no doubt the relatively unfamiliar name would send the Soccer Saturday panel into apoplexy and bafflement. What about Big Sam? What about Pards? You can’t very well fight a relegation battle when you’ve never had gravy and chips on your lap in front of Its A Knockout.
Yet though Pereira mostly draws a blank in the UK globally he is a highly rated coach who had the self-belief in 2011 to step up from an assistant’s role and take on the Porto job from his mentor Andre Villas-Boas. The title-winning success implemented by Villas-Boas was replicated twice-fold and from there the 51-year-old has accrued the CV of a serial winner.
A self-governing quiet man, who would much rather discuss tactical intricacies than bat banter around press conferences, Pereira doesn’t say much but when he does he is always worth listening to.
Vitor Pereira has emerged as the early favourite for the job
Where has he managed?
Maybe the more pertinent question is where hasn’t he managed?
Despite only prowling touchlines for eight short years Pereira has already worked in Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Turkey, Germany and China and though his success rate is high and though his sacking by Olympiacos bordered on the bizarre – he was handed his P45 shortly after leading them to a Greek league and cup double – it should still concern Blues that the Bearded One is not exactly known for putting down roots.
What’s he achieved?
From winning the Chinese Super League, Pereira joins an elite group of coaches that includes Jose Mourinho and Artur Jorge who have attained titles in three different countries and curiously the trio each learned their managerial chops at Porto.
At the Estadio do Dragao he quickly established a reputation for favouring an attacking brand of football and it was one that pulverised the Primeira Liga as Porto lost just once across his two campaigns.
Soon after came his aforementioned success in Greece and though a surprising relegation with 1860 Munich blights his career to date an overall win ratio of 57.5% illustrates that Periera’s mandate to improve teams and get results pays off more times than not.
Would he be a good fit at Everton?
Very almost unquestionably with the significant caveat being that even good fits on paper can still go spectacularly awry in reality.
Pereira has a career-long commitment to a high press; a well-earned repute for assembling attractive fare; and a love for Barcelona’s passing style so entrenched that he wrote a thesis on it when studying for a degree and all of this should legitimately excite Evertonians no end.
But given the club’s present predicament perhaps most encouragingly the manner in which he solidified Shanghai defensively with a 3-5-2 last season signifies that Pereira is not too affixed to methods should they be detrimental to his side. Getting results trumps all other considerations and Everton desperately need some of those right now.
Vitor Pereira is deeply knowledgeable on the game, possesses a tactical nous admired by many, and is quietly spoken enough to potentially get under Klopp’s skin for future derbies. Is it any wonder that there is substance behind the link?
Watch this space.