clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tottenham Hotspur manager shortlist: Thomas Tuchel

It doesn't appear as if Spurs have any interest in Thomas Tuchel, but they may want to put a call in.

Thorsten Wagner

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked to Fabio Capello and Frank de Boer. They have been turned down by Guus Hiddink and Michael Laudrup before they could even express interest, if they did have any interest. They have probably considered an inanimate carbon rod to replace Andre Villas-Boas.

But one man who hasn't come up at all is Thomas Tuchel.

That should change.

Thomas Tuchel, manager FSV Mainz 05

Career record: 79 W - 52 D - 68 L for a 39.70 winning percentage. That doesn't sound great, but hear us out.

Accomplishments: Tuchel took over at Mainz in 2009, their first season in the Bundesliga after being promoted and the team hasn't even been threatened by relegation since. In fact, they even finished as high as sixth one year, earning themselves a place in the Europa League. For a relatively small club that hasn't been in the top flight long, avoiding relegation is a good season, but Tuchel has done one better, establishing Mainz as a clear mid-table team. That's not too shabby for a manager on his first senior team job, but not completely unexpected considering he won the U-19 Bundesliga with Stuttgart and Mainz before getting his first crack at the Bundesliga. A reminder: Jürgen Klopp left Mainz for Borussia Dortmund after they were relegated under his control and he failed to bring them back up.

Before he was manager: If Tuchel's dream was to be an oft-injured, marginally talented semi-professional footballer, then he lived up to it all. He was a rather unsuccessful player and retired at the age of 24 to bartend his way through economics school. But Ralf Rangnick, Tuchel's manager at SSV Ulm, convinced him to get into the profession. There, he started by leading the U-14's and worked his way up the academy management ladder. Rangnick figured a player who spent hours studying tape of Arrigo Sacchi's teams had to make for a pretty good manager, and he was right.

Tactical analysis: The only real constant in Tuchel's teams is that they are fit, press relentlessly to win the ball back and are lightning fast in transition to make for a deadly counterattacking team. How exactly they do that changes regularly, though. Tuchel isn't married to any formation and has used five different ones this season alone. The definition of a football nerd, Tuchel talks about the merits of a slew of setups and styles of play, gushing about Marcelo Bielsa's Chile team and their 3-3-1-3 at the 2010 World Cup just like he did a more conventional and defensive Juventus. He will change approach and personnel from match to match depending on the opponent, sometimes drastically so, but the pressing and quick transitions remain.

What else can he bring to the table? As is to be expected from a manager who came up by managing academy teams, Tuchel's teams have been built around young starlets, some having come up with Mainz and other joining on loan. Lewis Holtby was one of those shining young stars, as was Andre Schürrle, and they had nothing but wonderful things to say about Tuchel. He is the consummate players' manager, banning the use of last names, taking interest in the players' personal lives and stressing the idea that the club is a family. It's an approach that has led some to liken his relationship with the players to that of a big brother. Between his tactical acumen, which has proven so remarkable that the tag "genius" has been given to him at times, his record as a developer of young talent and his more personable, yet successful approach to leadership, there isn't much that Tuchel is lacking.

What's the catch? On paper, Tuchel looks ideal, until you realize that his record as a senior team manager goes back less than five years. His inexperience in general, and especially at a bigger club like Spurs were expectations are higher, the club is in flux and he would have to deal with more established players might give some pause. That he hasn't played or managed outside of Germany may be cause for concern as well. There is also the question of whether or not he would take the job, having dismissed Schalke's interest in him less than a year ago.