It has been a strange old couple of days in the English Premier League. First it has come out that Brendan Rodgers left Swansea City to become the new Liverpool boss. Now it has emerged that Norwich City manager Paul Lambert is to walk away from his employers.
The reports suggests that the Scottish manager, formerly of Celtic and a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund, was unhappy about being denied the opportunity to speak to fellow Premier League side Aston Villa about their vacant managers position.
Now that he is clear of Carrow Road –again according to reports –he is free to meet up with Villa’s American owner Randy Lerner.
Despite penning a new contract with the Canaries a year ago, Lambert felt it necessary to move. It is something he has done a few times in his short managerial career. He spent a year at lowly Scottish outfit Livingston as his first job. In 2006 he joined Wycombe Wanderers and led them to some impressive League Cup results against Fulham and Chelsea.
His exploits netted the Chairboys some much needed revenue, but Lambert left the club after failing in promotion bids. He moved to Colchester United and after another season he failed to get them promoted in his first season.
Almost immediately into the next campaign Lambert left the League One outfit. He oversaw his side demolish the newly relegated Norwich side 7-1. As their coach was asked to leave Lambert jumped into the breach despite hammering them in their last game.
Lambert obviously recognized that Norwich were a large side going through troubled times. They also had backers capable of financing Premier League survival. So he fug in and led Norwich to the League One title. Another year saw him gain promotion to the Premier League.
Consolidation is the watchword for the Scot. He likes discipline in his style but he is not adverse to attacking play. He relies on direct play through an attacking midfielder and a target man. His sides always add up to more than the sum of their parts –demonstrated by Lambert’s penchant for signing lower league players with potential –which is something Villa need.
Grossly underperforming this season the Villains are aware that improvement must come from results, rather than flashy football. Lambert may get a bigger war chest than he is used to, but Lerner will want the side to climb. He may even try and take want-away poacher Grant Holt with him.
If Villa welcome him in they will have made a pragmatic choice. Whilst he and Brendan Rodgers have both progressed within a similarly short time frame, Lambert is not one potentially hung by his ‘genius’ tag. Like his days in the Dortmund midfield Lambert is driven by task orientation. Get the ball; supply the ball; score the goal the easiest way you know how.
Such play has seen him clamber past many and it is just what the Birmingham based Aston Villa so richly need.