Frank de Boer has two jobs as Crystal Palace manager – make the London site competitive in the Premier League and restore a crack coaching reputation 

Dutch manager Frank de Boer has returned to management after an eight-month break from the game, replacing Sam Allardyce as Crystal Palace manager in what will be the biggest challenge of his managerial career so far.

Because while in the summer of 2014 – after winning four consecutive Dutch league titles with Ajax – De Boer was an in-demand man, three years on his reputation has been tarnished for quite a bit.

In his last two seasons at Ajax, he failed to pick up a single piece of silverware and was overtaken by rivals PSV Eindhoven as the best team in the country. However, when De Boer decided to leave Ajax in 2016, there was still big interest in him. His streak of title wins was impressive and it made Inter Milan – who have been chasing the Serie A title since 2010 – appoint De Boer as their new manager.

Italy – a football country known for giving managers little time to get points on the board – was pretty hard on De Boer. His first competitive match in charge was lost 2-0 away to Chievo Verona, an indication of what was to come. Apart from a three-match win streak in September, De Boer’s Inter dropped too many points and found themselves in 12h place at the start of November. De Boer was sacked after just 85 days.

In his defence, De Boer took over less than two weeks before the first Serie A match. The former Barcelona player could never have implemented his style and believes in such short time. De Boer did experience something that makes any individual better in the long term; failure. He will have reflected on his period in Italy and know what he has done wrong.

So, Crystal Palace has a hungry and eager manager in charge but can he become a success in England?

What Sam Allardyce did when he took over was strengthen the defence. He brought in Mamadou Sakho and Palace cruised their way out of the relegation battle, picking up wins at Anfield vs. Liverpool and at Stamford Bridge vs. Chelsea. With Sakho’s loan ended, De Boer will have to bring in someone that can improve the defence once again.


Up front and in midfield De Boer shouldn’t have to change very much as The Eagles possess enough quality with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Yohan Cabaye, to name a few. It’s really only the defence that needs sorting out.

English newspaper The Guardian has already reported that De Boer is looking at his former club Ajax for summer reinforcements. The duo of Kenny Tete and Joël Veltman are wanted by the 47-year-old manager.


At right-back, Tete would be a really good addition. Veltman, however, would be a mistake as a centre-back signing. De Boer needs to buy a more powerful player in this position. If he can do that and sign Tete, De Boer will have a solid defence and can work with the group to make them play his way to transform Palace into a good mid-table side. A rebuilding job for both Palace and de Boer’s reputation are well underway.

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