The appointment of Clarence Seedorf as the new manager of La Liga side Deportivo la Coruna at the start of February was met with the intrigue and interest that you would expect from a multiple Champions League winner taking up a new role.
Seedorf’s brief is clear, steer the club away from the ignominy of relegation, following a disastrous opening half to 2017-18.
Deportivo are in a dire situation as they look to prevent their relegation to the Segunda Division for the first time since 2013, second from bottom as Seedorf arrived, and without a La Liga win since December 9th 2017.
However their struggles this season only tell half the story as to the wider issues across their past three seasons in the top flight.
When the club achieved promotion at the end of the 2013-14 season, manager Fernando Vazquez caused some friction with the club board after criticising the amount for transfer funds available to him – he was promptly sacked, despite delivering promotion.
His replacement, Victor Fernandez toiled in their first season back in the top flight, and with relegation a threat for the majority of the campaign he was sacked weeks before the season’s end –with safety already assured.
In came Victor Sanchez, and the cycle was repeated, a season battling against the drop, albeit successfully, and he was fired at the end of the campaign.
In 2016-17 Gaizka Garitano and Pepe Mel, shared a half a season each, with the latter extending his stay into the first month of this season – both were evetually dismissed for ‘failing to meet expectations’.
Seedorf’s predecessor Cristobal Parralo had the shortest spell of all, lasing just three months, before being shown the door for Seedorf.
The club clearly has issues with where they expect to be, the glories days of Champions League football are some 15 years behind him, and with an incredible lack of stability, relegation will always be a threat.
However those problems will have to be left on the back burner as Seedorf tries to wrestle with the task of remaining in the top flight.
His management CV does not inspire a great deal of confidence, a moderately successful spell in charge of AC Milan in 2014, was followed by underwhelming spells at Shenzen FC and Atletico Paranese.
His side also look bereft of confidence, with just two points gained since mid December, and Seedorf’s start not really having the desired effect.
His three games in charge have yielded two defeats, at home to Real Betis, and away at Alaves, and a draw at home to Espanyol.
He has not really looked to change much in terms of personnel from the Parralo era, attempting to force the issue with a front three of Florian Andone, Adrian and Lucas Perez – back at the club on loan from Arsenal.
On paper those three are enough of a forward threat to maintain a mid table La Liga position, yet between them they have scored just 15 La Liga goals all season.
Seedorf has brought in former Milan team mate Sulley Muntari on a free transfer last week, but the balance of the side looks all wrong, they lack a defensive leader and a consistent goal threat.
The Dutchman’s first three games represented a chance to generate a new boss ‘bounce’ and pick up valuable points from sides around them in the table.
In the thirteen games between now and the end of the season, Deportivo face Valencia, Villarreal, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, with points looking scarcer for Seedorf’s uphill battle