Roberto Martinez to Tottenham Hotspur a possibility?

Paul Thomas

As the search for Tottenham's new manager starts to heat up with the season ending, the failure of Everton to secure Champions League football could be opening a door to a move for Roberto Martinez, however long a shot that may be.

After the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, as it became increasingly clear Tim Sherwood was not cut out to become the permanent manager of Tottenham Hotspur, the manager rumor mill has spun red hot with possibilities to fill the position this summer. Frank de Boer was a rumored signing when AVB was first sacked and became increasingly implied as a possibility after Sherwood began to combust. Then Louis van Gaal rumors became intense until the new opening at Manchester United drew him like a moth to a flame. Others like Fabio Capello and Mauricio Pochettino were tossed around as well. Now, with only a week left to the season an old, familiar name has risen through the rags, and the classy journalists at the Mirror are speculating that Roberto Martinez may have risen to the top of Daniel Levy's imaginary shortlist to the Tottenham job.

Being the rather extensive and thorough writers that we are, we profiled Martinez way back in 2012 after Redknapp's departure. I won't waste too long going over ground we tread there, except to add in that since that article was written, Roberto won a rather improbable FA Cup victory against Manchester City, and thus does now have a trophy to his name.

Coming back to the present however, it needs to be noted how unreliable this rumor is. Unlike the de Boer rumors, there aren't any quotes to go with this, and nothing beyond speculation that Levy will return to candidates he had in 2012. This may be a factor of Everton still having a game to play and Martinez simply being incredibly classy when it comes to talking about other jobs, but it shows how far off this deal could possibly be. What makes this rumor so tantalizing is that its not outright outrageous though, and Roberto Martinez to Spurs just sounds like something that would make sense in a logical world. However logic means nothing when it comes to Martinez.

Manager at Wigan for four seasons, Martinez dealt with a situation in which he had a fanbase that was the smallest in the top flight every year he stayed up, was given virtually no money in the transfer market, and had a rather spartan youth system. In spite of this fact he managed to rattle off three straight safe finishes in the league, when Wigan were commonly picked to come bottom nearly every one of those years. Accomplished through a crafty use of the loan system and smart use of his money, what tantalized most casual observers and some EPL chairman was the innovative tactics Martinez used, as the he constantly changed tactics to suit whatever talent he had in each given year. As a result he drew job offers from such clubs as Aston Villa and Liverpool, and despite having the opportunity to move up from a club that kept merely putting off the inevitable Martinez turned each and everyone of them down, not leaving this past summer to Everton until Wigan had been relegated on the final day of the 2012-13 season and leaving a hero of the club.

With such unflappable loyalty, why then would a rumor of Martinez to Tottenham be plausible? A variety of reasons that I'm simply pulling out of my head with no basis, as unlike in my dreams I am not best bros with Roberto Martinez and we don't spend Saturday's laughing at Mark Hughes getting yet another top flight job. Chief among them, Roberto doesn't have a long history with Everton. Whereas at Wigan he was not only a manager but had played at the club for the longest stint in his career, he has never had a relationship with Everton until this season. Another reason he may look to move is that Everton may be looking at an Aston Villa like situation. Just as the Villains dropped from finishing in the Top 7 often in the past decade before financial reality hit, Everton too look about ready to drop off. Lukaku is very likely not to be loaned to Everton again, and without Champions League money the speculation is that Kenwright will once again have no money to strengthen the squad, and may indeed sell off some of their best assets such as Ross Barkley. While Martinez suffered through little to no transfer money for years at Wigan, there is still a question of if he will deal with the same reality with Everton, where the expectations will remain high if unrealistic given the money the club have to spend.

So coming to Tottenham offers Martinez money and talent. However, he still may demure at the idea of a move to North London. After all, moving to this team would do nothing but saddle him with expectations that will likely be Top 4 or bust, a team that likely will have a few players rather discontent at the idea of staying another season. We don't have a loyalty argument to offer, we're not a former playing club of his. Finally, in Martinez' mind there may be no downside to staying another season at Everton. He's banked so much goodwill through his stellar management at Wigan and near Top 4 finish with Everton this year, with less talent than would indicate his teams finish, even one subpar season would likely not tank his chances at a job with a top flight club somewhere in Europe, and why not wait out for a better situation than a messy Tottenham that has now had 3 managers in three years?

It's nice to dream of what could be though, so by all means, let the rumors that Levy wants to make a play for Martinez be true. What's the worst that could happen, he turns us down again?

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