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Is Ronny Deila headed to Standard Liege?

Reports link the NYCFC head coach to the Belgian club, Blackburn Rovers also said to be interested.

JFK is this way, Newark is over there | Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

UPDATED JUNE 11, 2:49 PM: Brussels newspaper La Dernière Heure reports that Ronny Deila and Standard Liège have reached and agreement and that “Deila will be the new coach.” According to journalist Kevin Sauvage, the contract will be signed shortly and it will be made official “on Sunday or Monday.”

UPDATED JUNE 10, 10:07 AM: Belgian newspaper La Libre reports that New York City FC manager Ronny Deila and Standard Liege are “approaching an agreement” after productive talks were held yesterday, although nothing has been signed. The article reports that Deila will bring assistant coach Efrain Juarez with him.

The summer transfer rumor mill isn’t just for players: Reports are circulating that link New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila to Blackburn Rovers in the EFL Championship and Standard Liège of the Belgian first division.

While NYCFC fans eagerly wait to see if Taty Castellanos signs with a top-tier European club during this transfer window, it could be that Deila will be the first to leave New York City.

Journalist Stian André de Wahl of the Norwegian publication Nettavissen broke the news that Standard Liege is interested in Deila, and that the head coach is open to a return to Europe. The article stated Delia’s candidacy was “confirmed by several independent sources to Nettavisen.” More recently, de Wahl tweeted that Deila was also approached by Blackburn Rovers.

Today, the Lancashire Telegraph, a tabloid based in Blackburn, reported that Rovers held talks with Deila. That follows an article published yesterday which reported that Standard Liege hope to get an answer from Deila over the coming weekend. The article goes on to explain that a deal might not be so simple: Standard Liege will need to compensate NYCFC, and New York City might be reticent to part with the head coach after the Belgian team already poached two executives from City Football Group.

The pressure is on the two European clubs, which have unfilled manager positions just days before returning to pre-season training. It’s also on NYCFC, which took over first place in the Eastern Conference just before the international break: New York City are 13 games into a 34-game season, and losing Deila would severely disrupt one of the best starts to a year in the history of the club.

The truth is, there is very little solid evidence of Deila leaving NYCFC this summer outside of the article in Nettavissen and the author’s follow-up tweet. Virtually all of the posts rolling around the internets are retreads of the same story, and offer speculation without any new evidence.

That hasn’t stopped the gambling industry from getting in on the action. Yesterday, handicapped more than thirty candidates for the Blackburn Rovers job, and give Deila a 20% chance of taking over as manager. That’s good for third-best after former Everton caretaker Duncan Ferguson (83.3%), and former Malmö FF manager Jon Dahl Tomasson (33.3%).

This wouldn’t be the first time NYCFC lost their head coach in the middle of the season. On this day in 2018, NYCFC announced that Patrick Vieira would to take over OGC Nice in Ligue 1. Earlier, Vieira had “laughed off” rumors linking him to the French club.