Andre Villas Boas was supposed to be Europe’s next great coach, the second coming of Jose Mourinho with the talent, tactical acumen and the winning mentality to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps.
Like Mourinho, Villas Boas earned his stripes at FC Porto and while he did not win the Champions League, the 2010/11 treble winning season convinced Chelsea to bring the fresh-faced tactician to Stamford Bridge at the age of just 33.
It speaks volumes, however, that Villas Boas is now managing in China just seven years on. But with Sky Bet suddenly making Villas Boas the third favourite to take over at Everton, could he be set for his third stab at English football in less than a decade in the dugout?
That Chelsea experiment blew up in their faces after just nine months, Villas Boas sacked after winning less than half of his games in charge and falling out with several senior players, omitting Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka.
And his spell at London rivals Tottenham did not go a whole lot better. Though hampered by the sale of Gareth Bale and the club’s incredibly wasteful recruitment drive of 2013, plodding possession football and an alarming lack of creative ideas cost him dear.
Villas Boas was sacked after a year-and-a-half with Spurs seventh in the table after a 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool – their worst loss at White Hart Lane in 16 years. And while his win ratio, 53.7 per cent was the highest of any Spurs manager in the Premier League at the time, it felt that he was really not making the best use of the resources at his disposal.
It would be a brave decision, then, for Everton decision makers Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright to hand a manager with two high profile Premier League failures another chance in England.
After all, like his Spurs side in 2013, Everton are attempting to rebuild following the loss of their talisman. So why would things be any different this time for Villas Boas?