It will be an opportunity for him to implement his ideas
shouldn’t be so surprising. The Norwegian negotiated a number of loan deals for Manchester City players (Jason Denayer, John Guidetti and Patrick Roberts) during his stint as Celtic manager, with Dedryck Boyata also making the permanent move north from the Etihad Stadium in that time. It would appear that in this process Deila struck up something of a relationship with CFG.
Deila must focus on achieving NYC FC’s immediate targets first. Initially a home for the likes of Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, the club has more recently focused on signing younger players with a potential sell-on value. Alexandru Mitrita, for example, is a 24-year-old Romania internationalist signed for 8m euro last year. Heber is a Brazilian striker who scored 15 goals in just 18 MLS starts last season.
“The captain is a guy called Alex Ring – a superb player, great experience, played in
Germany in the Bundesliga. He’s been all around and has found himself a home in New York,” says Ian Joy, a Scot who is now the lead commentator for NYC FC’s home games – having previously played for Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers.
“They also have an excellent goalkeeper [Sean Johnson] who plays for the US national team and those guys kind of run the locker room.
“There’s not an a ******* , if I can say that politely, in there. So you’re inheriting a team that sort of runs itself.”
But while Deila takes over a well-balanced and talented squad, this is a club with some mental baggage.
NYC FC have earned themselves a bit of a reputation for being knockout-game bottlers, only making it as far as the conference semi-finals last year despite winning the Eastern Conference in the regular season.
In fact, NYC FC have won just one playoff tie in their fiveyear existence.
Deila was frequently criticised for his big-game record at Celtic, infamously losing cup semi-finals to Inverness Caley Thistle, Ross County and even Rangers, who were still in Scotland’s second tier at that time.
Deila was also culpable of failing to qualify for the Champions League group stage. This is something he will need to improve on if he is to take New York City FC to where they want to go.
The Norwegian is, however, a modern coach with modern ideas about the game. Some of those ideas were too progressive for Scottish football traditionalists, but Deila is a good fit for a club that wants to play an attractive, dynamic game as well as provide a platform for youth.
There “will be an opportunity for him to implement his own ideas,” according to Joy, but the Norwegian will be expected to fit into a front office infrastructure that has sustained the club for a number of years. It could provide Deila with the sort of safety net he never truly had at Celtic.