FanPost

Tottenham Hotspur Manager Shortlist: Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez, manager of Wigan Athletic FC

Career Record: 97-73-83 (34-26-57 at Wigan)

Accomplishments: Not many, at least in the Premier League. Unless, that is, you count keeping a side like Wigan in the EPL, which is in itself a real accomplishment. Most Spurs fans know Martinez' Wigan side as the one that lost 9-1 to Spurs at White Hart Lane in 2009. Martinez's record with Wigan isn't great, but it's been just enough. He earned Premier League Manager of the Month in April, 2012.

However, as Swansea's manager Martinez had a staggering 50% win percentage and took the Swans from a struggling League 1 side to the Championship in just two and a half years before leaving for Wigan. During Martinez's tenure, Swansea became known for the kind up up-tempo, positive, "Barça of Wales" football that then continued under Brendan Rogers.

Before He Was a Manager: The Spanish Martinez had a decent professional career as a player, beginning his career with Real Zaragoza and Tercera side CF Balaguer before Dave Whelan snapped him up for Wigan in 1995, which was then playing in the English Third Division. Martinez made 157 starts for Wigan, scoring 16 goals, and also had a long stint with Swansea, where he made 123 appearances. Incredibly, when Swansea hired him as their manager in 2007, it was his first managerial experience, never having even coached before for any club.

Analysis: Wigan is not a good side. But as Wigan's gaffer, Martinez has shown flashes of brilliance during his short managerial career.

Tactically, Martinez has employed a free-flowing offensive system that relies on swift passing, and ball movement. While he preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation early in his managerial career at Wigan, he found his groove this past season when he switched to a 3-4-3 system that employed two bombarding wing-backs supporting a two-man midfield and wide midfielders that can pull inside or drop into the center if needed to make a defensive 5-4-1. Think that system wouldn't work with Assou-Ekotto & Walker, along with Bale and Lennon doing the double-stuffed inverted wingerz thing? What Martinez's successful Wigan sides haven't usually employed is a trequartista or classic #10 a la Rafael van der Vaart. But to his credit, Martinez has shown that he can adjust his tactics based on the needs of the team or the players at his disposal. Wigan's 3-4-3 worked not only because it played to his team's strengths but because it confounded the hell out of every EPL team that expected at least 4 at the back.

Martinez is a bit (just a bit) of a controversial choice for manager. His detractors point out two main factors:

1) Wigan simply haven't been good during his tenure. Martinez's current favor with larger club openings like Liverpool and Spurs seems to stem from Wigan's phenomenal run of form to close the season that included incredible wins over Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle, and Stoke. Where, his detractors rightfully say, was this Wigan squad the rest of the season? At the bottom of the table, clearly. On the other hand, Martinez has taken what was really an atrocious Wigan side that lost its best player last summer in Charles N'Zogbia, had little funding and no fan support, and managed to keep them up yet again against incredible odds. Wigan isn't a team that keeps its talent, either -- every offseason its best and brightest are poached away to the larger clubs, leaving Martinez to reinvent the squad and try and stay up again and again. This is bloody difficult, and Martinez has always found a way to get it done.

2) Martinez simply "isn't yet ready for the big time." His rise to prominence has been somewhat meteoric, but of the two main complaints this is the one that seems the most silly to me. Either he can do the job, or he can't. It's hard as hell to win with Wigan. Big Sam Allardyce has lots of experience, but I certainly don't want him managing our side.

If his stints as analyst for ESPN during the Euros and the World Cup are any indication, Martinez has a brilliant tactical mind and is a very personable manager, motivating his meager team to a stunning late season run last year. He could do fantastic things at a side like Spurs if given a chance. Wigan owner Dave Whelan publicly stated today that he does not expect Spurs to make an inquiry for Martinez. We'll see shortly if that's the case.

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