When Andre Villas-Boas was fired, Michael Laudrup was reportedly one of the top candidates for the Tottenham Hotspur job. Before Daniel Levy had a chance to make a call, he preemptively stated that he would never leave a job in-season. At the time, Swansea City were slightly underachieving, but very much safe from the relegation fight.
Fast forward a couple of months and Laudrup is now unemployed. He was sacked by Swansea on Tuesday, four days ahead of a huge derby match against Cardiff City. The Swans are two points above the drop zone, where Cardiff currently sit. The Swansea board -- who, it must be said, sure have had a brilliant eye for managers in the recent past -- decided that their team would have a better chance of getting a good result from that game and ultimately avoiding the drop if they fired him.
Was it harsh? Yes, almost certainly, purely based on results. Laudrup was forced to refute rumors of a dressing room revolt a couple of weeks ago, but his now former team currently sits in 12th and is playing some pretty nice football, as they did under Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez. They won the League Cup last year. They've just run through an extraordinarily tough set of fixtures, even if they should have done better against West Ham on the weekend. Even if Laudrup had lost the dressing room, it's tough to envision Swansea going down.
Laudrup has achieved decent results, won a trophy, operated on a fairly restrictive budget and has his team playing a nice style of football. He's also an all-time great player who represented Denmark over 100 times and suited up for the biggest clubs in four different countries.
It's understandable why he'd be linked to Spurs and why a lot of fans would be supportive of that. His resume looks pretty nice. Certainly better than Tim Sherwood's.
Cue all kinds of Spurs fans and rumor rags speculating about Laudrup, asking if he should get the job, wondering if Levy has a difficult decision to make. Here are four of them: One, two, three, four. They're all failing to ask the right questions.
Tottenham Hotspur shouldn't be asking themselves if Laudrup is better than Sherwood. They should be asking if Laudrup is the absolute best they can do. They shouldn't be asking if Sherwood is out of his depth -- at least in the context of this decision -- they should be asking if making another managerial change this quickly would have an averse effect on the dressing room.
I like Laudrup and happen to think he's been one of the most unlucky managers in world football. He's had to deal with bad, broke ownership in both of his La Liga jobs and he's certainly done enough from a pure results standpoint to keep his job at Swansea. But he's also done nothing special in his most recent job at a club that has been driven forward significantly by the two of the three managers that preceded him. Judging by the fact that the Swansea board were willing to pay for Pablo Hernandez, Jonjo Shelvey and Wilfried Bony, it's tough to say that Rodgers took Swansea to their absolute ceiling. Even though they won a trophy, they've stagnated under Laudrup.
Stagnant is actually pretty good for Swansea considering their pre-Martinez history, but in the context of evaluating a potential Tottenham manager? It's certainly not what Spurs are looking for, especially considering the fact that two men who outshined Laudrup at Swansea -- Martinez and Rodgers -- manage direct rivals of Tottenham Hotspur.
Laudrup very well might be a better manager than Sherwood, but he's not the best that is going to be out there this summer. There are shock firings and resignations at the end of every season to go along with managers who become receptive to a change of scenery. Additionally, in a World Cup year, a lot of national team managers will be stepping down.
There will be at least a half-dozen coaches with better track records and higher ceilings than Laudrup that will be receptive to interviewing for the Spurs job this summer, in the event that Sherwood is actually a glorified interim manager, which may or may not be the case.
Even if you strongly dislike Sherwood and think he has no business managing a top flight club at the moment, can you really imagine a scenario in which firing him this soon after his appointment and hiring Laudrup is the catalyst that sparks a run to fourth place? And even if you can see that as a possibility, do you really want to shut Spurs off from the race for all of the great managers that will be available in the summer because we pushed all-in on Laudrup?
This is an asinine suggestion, so let's never speak of it again.