Diego Simeone has been touted as a potential replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal (via The Independent), but Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce believes the Argentine would not be met with a warm reception in the Premier League.
Allardyce knows first hand how a manager is treated if he plays defensively or with route one tactics in the Premier League, and while he admires Simeone’s approach, he doesn’t believe the Premier League would appreciate it.
Simeone’s current side Atletico Madrid recently got a big win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with their defensive prowess yet again on display. Allardyce was full of praise for Simeone and Atletico, but suggested that in England he’d be called “boring” and blasted for not being entertaining enough.
“Seeing Atletico Madrid last night, how they played and how they then defended what they had against a side that is one of the favourites to win the Champions League and is well ahead in the German league,” he said (via Sky Sports).
“It’s an art, defending – everybody has forgotten that – it’s a tactical art to be able to sense danger and block people’s crosses and get your toe in without fouling them now, and they are very, very good at it indeed.
“That’s why they are successful. They are successful because they concede fewer goals than everybody else and only need one to win in.
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“Now, everybody can say, ‘Well, that’s not entertaining’, but everybody is eulogising Simeone’s tactics now. I wouldn’t think they would do that in the Premier League so much. ‘He’s boring this guy, he defends too much’ – that’s what he’d get here.”
If Simeone were to make the switch to a Premier League club, he probably would play the same defensively minded style he’s implemented at Atletico, and it obviously wouldn’t be as exciting as some of the teams that go hell for leather in the attack with little regard for their defence.
That said though, Simeone employs a decisive counter-attacking style, and it’s not like his Atletico team lacks players of real skill and quality. Players like Antoine Griezmann, Saul Niguez, and Fernando Torres are all talented forwards, and they aren’t the type of rugby style targetmen that Allardyce has so often utilised.
The issues Premier League fans usually have aren’t necessarily with teams defending, but with the boring teams that do nothing but defend and hoof the ball up to their striker, or the teams who use their size, aggression, and seemingly dirty tactics rather than any type of skill.
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Simeone is one of the top managers in the game right now, and if we were somehow able to lure him to Arsenal it would be a fantastic move. Hopefully the fans would appreciate him, and not just jump on his back for playing defensively.