Everton on Friday announced the appointment of Jean-Luc Vasseur to the post of head coach after former manager Willie Kirk stepped down several weeks ago. Vasseur signed a two-and-a-half-year contract that runs through June 2024, according to the club’s website.
The 52-year-old former Olympique Lyonnais boss arrives at Walton Hall Park as one of the most decorated managers in the game, having won the 2019/20 Champions League with Lyon. During his time in the southeastern region of France, Vasseur won the French domestic title, Coupe de France, Trophée des Championnes and Women’s International Champions Cup.
Vasseur spent nearly a decade coaching men's teams – including Creteil, Reims, Paris FC and Châteauroux – before leading Lyon for two seasons. The Frenchman left his post with Lyon in April; at the time of his departure, Lyon had won 16 of 17 league matches.
As has been the case with Everton dating back to Kirk’s hiring in 2018, the goal remains to qualify for European soccer and bring sustained success to Merseyside.
“I have experience in men’s and women’s football and had two outstanding seasons with Lyon. I’ve learned about winning everywhere and I come with the ambition at Everton to build a team that can achieve Champions League qualification.
“Everton is a club with big history. I have come here to write new history with my team. I have to learn and understand the players and the staff. I know the players, from watching [games] on video, so I am now going to discover the personality and the profile of them. It is very important, this human relationship with the players.
“We need all of them to build a team and to fight every week to win. When we play, we have to believe in ourselves.”
With 22 Evertonians currently on call with their international teams, Vasseur’s first game in charge will be Wednesday 3rd November His first match will see the Blues take on Leicester City in the Continental Cup — the Foxes have not won a league fixture in six tries to start the season after earning promotion this summer.
Kirk’s downfall was an inability to translate high-priced transfers into victories. His failure to implement a coherent system led to several blowouts and his ultimate dismissal. Vasseur will look to take the experience he gained with Lyon and transfer it to an Everton squad brimming with some of the most exciting players in Europe.
“We have a lot of talent and some resources, so I think there is good capacity to improve. I am very excited.
“First, we want first to qualify for European competition and after to win some titles – the cups or the championship. We have to be patient and fight to win.”
His first FA Women’s Super League game as manager will be on Saturday 6th November, when Everton host Brighton & Hove Albion at Walton Hall Park.
| “It’s an honour to be here. I like the vision and I believe in the project."— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) October 29, 2021
Jean-Luc's first interview as our boss... pic.twitter.com/VLa4vYWvyN
Everton brought in nine new players over the summer, including breaking the club transfer record for Swedish prodigy Hanna Bennison, but a miserable start to the season under Kirk showed that the gap between the Blues and the top four sides was still as wide as ever.
Vasseur has shown he has the pedigree to build a team that can be competitive at a higher level, and would not have come cheap for the Toffees. However, it is encouraging to see that the club is committed to spending whatever it takes to break through and qualify for the Women’s Champions League next season.