Paulo Fonseca had a long playing career in the Portuguese leagues making around 250 league appearances. As soon as he retired he wasted no time in getting into management. His first clubs were minnows until he reached Pacos de Ferreira, what he achieved at this club was exceptional. A league where the top 3 places are largely dominated by Benfica, Sporting and Porto, Paulo Fonseca managed to place Pacos de Ferreira 3rd. On his journey he beat both Braga and Sporting twice. He got Pacos into the champions league in the 2012-2013 season, something that had not happened in their history. After his sucess he was a wanted man and Porto managed to sign him. He simply was not ready for such a big job and in 9 months he was sacked. It must be said that he lost two key players in the transfer window of that summer in the form of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho as both went to Monaco. He went back to Pacos in the 2014-2015 season until he was picked up by Braga. Again at Braga he made history for them as he won the Portuguese Cup, only the second time in the club’s history. His success in Portugal was reaching the different corners of Europe and Ukraine’s giants Shakhtar Donetsk snapped him up from Braga. At the Ukrainian side he has achieved what was expected of him. He has won back to back doubles (cup and league) whilst prior to his arrival Shakhtar had not won the league in the two previous seasons. In Europe he managed to beat Pep’s Manchester City 2-1 and went through the groupstages leaving a very good Napoli side behind. He did get knocked out the following round versus Roma on away goals. But Shakhtar’s european run had impressed critics.
Will he suit West Ham?
I can’t claim to be an expert on West Ham but what I do know is that where Paulo has been he has put his teams playing good football with tactical conscience. He is a young manager who has achieved all he realistically can in the Ukraine and deserves a chance in a bigger league. West Ham have some very good players such as Lanzini, Arnautovic, Joao Mario (if they opt to sign him full time) . These players just need some guidance and freedom to be able to express themselves with a solid defence behind them. Paulo is an attacking minded coach but does not forget about his defence. He has opted for most part of his career to play a 4-2-3-1 whether he would change that at a new club is unknown. He has a great winning record at Shakhtar of 77%.
Why is West Ham attractive to Paulo?
Personally I can see how Paulo will be attracted to the job, Number 1 it is in the Premier League, the league everyone wants to manage in. Secondly, West Ham have a great set of fans and prior to the new Stadium move a great matchday atmosphere. Thirdly, the expectations are so low that Paulo hasn’t got the hardest of jobs improving this side. Realistically West Ham should be aiming for a good cup run followed by a top half finish.
Overall I think it could be a good partnership, West Ham need some new progressive ideas and Paulo needs to test himself at a higher level. With his salary not being ridiculous it will allow a stronger investment from West Ham in players too.
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