The American Pharaoh has arrived at Liberty Stadium.
Fresh off the sacking of Francesco Guidolin, Swansea City announced it would be appointing former United States and Egypt manager Bob Bradley as his replacement.
Bradley, who was with French second division outfit Le Havre, becomes the first American manager in Premier League history. He brings with him a wealth of experience and plenty of expectations from a fan base across the pond eager to see him – and, thus symbolically, the U.S. – succeed.
Here are three things Bradley will look to bring to Swansea:
Success managing with scarce resources
Bradley began his managerial career at just 22 years old, and his list of accomplishments share a common theme: he’s led teams with limited resources, and facing unique challenges, above their stations and into paths of success.
He won the MLS Cup with the expansion Chicago Fire and clinched playoffs with a historically poor Chivas USA, while his U.S. side won the Gold Cup and topped Group C in the 2010 World Cup. He also stayed with Egypt during its civil war, took Stabaek to the Europa League, and was one goal away from Ligue 1 promotion with Le Havre.
This man isn’t accustomed to the comforts of stability. He’s worked with shoestring budgets and under incredible stress. He will now need to get the most out of a cash-strapped Swansea, reinvigorating players like Borja Baston and trying to solidify a defence missing Ashley Williams, all while trying to convince fans chagrined by Guidolin’s dismissal that his appointment was not a mistake.
A fresh perspective with a door to untapped markets
Bradley is not your stereotypical mid-to-low table Premier League manager, nor is his path to the touchline conventional. But the connections he’s made around the world could prove to be an incredible asset for Swansea.
He’s worked in the talent incubator that is Le Havre, a team that’s produced the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Dimitri Payet, and Paul Pogba. He’s also made connections in Scandinavia and North Africa, whereas his peers are largely limited to the football played in mainland Europe or South America.
More importantly, Bradley has deep connections in North America, a market that’s yet to really take hold in the Premier League. Players like Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey proved they can compete and thrive in England and Bradley could give chances to other young Americans who can do the same.
If Bradley finds success with Swansea, perhaps U.S. soccer would garner a bit more respect across the pond, too.
A hunger to prove himself
Unlike many other managers in the Premier League, Bradley arrives with neither preconceived systems nor a demand for compliance. Throughout his career, Bradley has proven he’s adaptable and willing to learn and evolve. His primary strength is as a motivator, and his strong work ethic and attention to detail are seen most in his preparation work. He is a coach, not just a manager.
Bradley has his preferences, of course; he has historically employed a counter-attacking style of play built on a hardworking defence. Don’t you ever say die under his watch, because he simply won’t have it.
He also joins the Premier League with something of a chip on his shoulder, telling SiriusXM he doesn’t rate himself below Premier League peers, whether it’s Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola, or otherwise.
“I’ll tell you what, maybe I’m stupid, but I think I’m a manager in and around that level,” he said.
“I’m not saying I’m better than these guys – I haven’t had those types of opportunities – but I think people that have played for me have always felt that the experience in the team was different, that training was challenging, that there were a lot of things done to help them become better players and better people.”