Former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas will replace Sven-Goran Eriksson as coach of Shanghai SIPG, making him the latest top name in the big-spending Chinese Super League.
The 39-year-old Villas-Boas is “young, full of passion and with a wealth of coaching experience,” the club said in a statement on its official Weibo microblog.
“We believe Villas-Boas’ arrival will further enrich the team’s technical and tactical play, stimulate the potential of more young players, and lead the team closer to a higher goal,” the club said.
Villas-Boas made his mark at FC Porto and had stints in charge at Chelsea and Tottenham in the Premier League before moving to Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia. Unconfirmed reports put his salary at about $14 million.
Eriksson guided Shanghai SIPG to runner-up and third-place finishes in the Chinese Super League in his two seasons and to the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League.
Clubs in the Chinese Super League spent more than $400 million on foreign players in 2016, while high-profile coaches including Eriksson, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Manuel Pellegrini have also lifted the international profile of the league.
Among the high-priced imports brought to SIPG is Brazi international Hulk, whose $62 million transfer fee from Zenit St. Petersburg set an Asian record. That topped the $56 million Jiangsu Suning paid this year for Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira. Guangzhou Evergrande paid $47 million for Colombia striker Jackson Martinez.
Hulk played under Villas-Boas at Zenit St. Petersburg and SIPG management will be looking to the combination to help challenge the supremacy of the Scolari-helmed Guangzhou Evergrande, who have won the league for the last six seasons.