Sam Allardyce is suddenly a man in demand.
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The disgraced former England manager is the overwhelming bookmakers favorite to take the vacant position at Crystal Palace after the Eagles fired Alan Pardew on Thursday.
Reports are already circulating that Allardyce’s representatives are set to meet with Palace’s chairman Steve Parish in the next 24 hours to discuss the role.
Allardyce, 62, was fired as England manager in September after being filmed in a sting operation telling undercover reports he could circumvent Football Association rules on signing players. He coached the English national team for just 67 days and managed just one game before he agreed to step down as Three Lions boss.
Following the allegations of corruption, Allardyce was not charged by the police following an extensive investigation from the FA and is free to return to the game despite his reputation taking a big hit.
The former Bolton, Newcastle, West Ham and Sunderland manager has proved to be an expert at keeping teams in the Premier League and he pulled off a miracle to keep Sunderland in the top-flight last season after arriving just before the midway point of the 2015-16 campaign.
Current Wales manager Chris Coleman and former Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett are also in the running, according to the bookies, while former USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann is ranked as an outsider for the job. During his time in charge of the U.S. national team, Klinsmann’s name always came up when PL jobs were available and with American owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer in charge of Palace maybe they’ll give Klinsmann a chance in the Premier League?
It seems unlikely that will be the case with Palace’s chairman Parish saying to the BBC that “now we’re going to wind the dial back the other way” in terms of more direct soccer over the expansive passing style Pardew tried, and failed, to create.
Surely Allardyce is the man to bring back direct soccer to Selhurst Park and grind out results a la Tony Pulis from 2014. With Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon out wide, plus Christian Benteke up front, Allardyce won’t need to spend much to turn things around. He’ll likely have to improve Palace’s shocking defending but as we saw at Sunderland, he can organize teams to be tough to beat in the Premier League.
If Palace want to secure their short-term survival in the Premier League, Allardyce is their man. Of course, there’s a moral argument here given his actions while England manager but with no police action taken against Allardyce, Palace may give him a second chance.
Below is a list of the bookmakers odds for the next manager of Crystal Palace:
Sam Allardyce – 1/3
Chris Coleman – 6/1
Roberto Mancini – 7/1
Gary Rowett – 8/1
Roy Hodgson – 12/1
Jurgen Klinsmann – 16/1