While Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry was gathering steam and Prince Andrew was being told to step down from Royal duties by his mom, the “special one” was taking the first training session of his latest project at Tottenham Hotspurs training ground. Mauricio Pochettino’s vacated office had had barely had time for a vacuum.
Things can change quickly within the space of 24 hours in the Premier League but this change was swifter than most and certainly has divided opinion. That’s what you get with Jose – you either love him or hate him.
Those in favour of the move point to the following:
1) Poch had lost the dressing room
2) Poch had not delivered a trophy, despite the team’s improvement
3) Spurs had only managed 25 points from their last 24 Premier League games
4) A loss to Colchester in the League Cup
5) A 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League
Those opposed to the change cite the following:
1) Poch delivered 4 consecutive top finishes, a first-ever Champions League final – all on a shoe string budget and therefore deserved time to turn things around
2) He improved players and unearthed gems like Harry Kane, Dele Ali, Harry Winks, Christian Eriksen
3) The club’s issues do not stem from Pochettino but rather from chairman Daniel Levy who failed to refresh the squad as was urged by Pochettino.
4) Jose Mourinho will do little to change the mood in the change room. He has also always demanded a massive transfer budget – something he is unlikely to get at Spurs under the tight-fisted Levy.
There are also a few questions that need answering:
1) If Levy initially wanted Brendan Rodgers, as reported, then why offer Mourinho the second-highest manager salary in the world (£15mln) along with a £12.5mln severance package for Pochettino? It smacks of desperation on the part of the usually savvy Levy.
2) Why offer Mourinho a 3-year deal off the bat? – surely a performance-based one year deal with an option to extend would have been more prudent? Mourinho clearly has Levy by the short-and-curlies.
3) Did Levy consult with his senior players before making his move? It’s hard to imagine that there is space for another ego in the change room, particularly one the size of Mourinho’s.
Whichever way you dice it, Levy has taken a massive gamble. He has gone “all in”, but if this backfires he could turn the Spurs faithful against him. Mourinho has nothing to lose, its last-chance saloon for him anyway and he knows it. He is fortunate to have picked up a top job after his dismal past few years – if he fails at Spurs then the writing will be on the wall for him. He may get a job at a national team but he won’t be considered for any of the coveted top club managerial roles.
For Poch the door is wide open now and the future is actually quite bright. He most likely has the pick of Bayern Munich, Manchester United and possibly Barcelona, Real Madrid or even Arsenal if he has some vengeance in his heart.