Is Alan Pardew waiting for England?


Crystal Palace is in negotiations with manager Alan Pardew on a contract extension

Alan Pardew might be the most divisive manager in all of English football. Some people simply cannot stand what they perceive to be his arrogant way while others point to the attacking football he employs as reason for admiration. No matter what you think of the man, he’s done a great job with Crystal Palace this season.

Given their success on the year, it’s no surprise to learn that Pardew and the ownership group at Palace are already discussing a contract extension. It makes perfect sense that Palace’s owners would like to lock up Pardew so he can continue to build on their current success. However, the fact that Pardew is characterizing the negotiations as “a long way off” would give me a lot of pause if I was a Palace fan.

The optimistic view of Pardew delaying the negotiations is that he’s just trying to get a better deal. He has multiple years left on his current contract and perhaps he’s just too focused on the matters at hand to fully engage in contract negotiations. I can’t buy in to this optimistic view though. In my experience, when someone wants to offer you a raise and long-term security you find time to engage in those discussions.

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I think the most likely reason he’s holding them off is because he’s looking for a different opportunity. While it’s possible that he could be trying to angle his way towards a top four Premier League job, I don’t think he’s got the personality to make that move. Instead I think he has his eyes on a different prize.

I believe Pardew is trying to leave his options open in hopes of taking the England job after Roy Hodgson is inevitable forced out. Pardew hasn’t been shy talking about the England job this year and this negotiation delay looks to play right into that path.

He knows he isn’t in danger of alienating the folks at Crystal Palace even if he drags his feet. They’re thrilled with the way their team is playing and are entirely focused on trying to finish as high in the table as they can. He’s got all the leverage in the negotiations. He’s done such a good job that he can dictate the pace and tone of all contract negotiations.

That’s why he’s trying to slow down the talks as much as possible. He’s no fool. He can see that Hodgson’s time as the England manager is coming to an end. He can also see that he’d be one of the most prominent candidates interested in taking the job on. It’s a sly negotiating tactic by Pardew.

Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace may ultimately settle on a new contract, but you can get it won’t be any time soon. Pardew will be trying to drag it out as long as possible in hopes that his dream England job will open up.