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Van Gaal, de Boer or Pochettino? The three types of manager Spurs can hire

Forget about the names available. Let's take a big picture look at football management.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

As this year's game of managerial musical chairs draws to a close, it's almost a certainty that Tim Sherwood will be left standing when the music stops at the end of the season. The rumor mill is already in full swing, linking Tottenham Hotspur with anybody who's ever managed a football club before, or at least had a really good season on Football Manager that one time. We've run an eye over a few of the possibilities ourselves, guys like Rafa "FACT" Benitez, Mauricio Pochettino, and even the dreaded Tony Pulis.

But let's take a step back from the the specific candidates for a moment and take a broader look at what exactly we're looking for in a manager.

After going the in-house route with Tactics Tim Sherwood, we can assume Levy's will opt for someone who's had experience managing somewhere successfully before (or at the very least, has their coaching badges). That's a given. So what kind of successful tenure would most prepare someone for success with Spurs?

We can broadly break managerial success into a few categories:

1. Guys who've won things in big leagues.
2. Guys who've won things in small leagues.
3. Guys who've overachieved with small teams.

So what do these types of managers bring to the table?

Tier 1 - Carlo Ancelotti / Louis van Gaal

If you've won major trophies in a major league, you almost certainly managed one of the biggest clubs in the world. Barring a major catastrophe, these guys should always find jobs at the biggest clubs around. If Spurs could land someone of this pedigree, it would certainly look like a major coup.

Men like Carlo Ancelotti and Louis van Gaal have won trophies everywhere they've gone, no matter what league they're in. When a team hires them, they expect to win the league. On paper that's a mighty fine resume, but what would this type of manager actually bring to the table at a club like Spurs?


- Capable of winning major trophies
- Used to handling a large squad
- Can handle competing in multiple competitions
- Know how to deal with big egos
- Success in Europe


- Not used to having financial constraints relative to competitors
- Usually work with the best team in the league
- Accustomed to relying on top tier talent
- May not be able to build team greater than the sum of its parts

Tier 2 - Frank de Boer / Roger Schmidt

Managers in this category typically work at the biggest club in a mediocre league. This often keeps them off the radar of the major clubs, and a team like Spurs could find themselves a real gem who would otherwise be way out of reach. If Spurs play their cards right, they could land the next Jose Mourinho or Diego Simeone. But great rewards carry great risks, and we could just as easily land AVB v. 2.0.

Frank de Boer and Roger Schmidt have done exciting work at Ajax and Red Bull Salzburg and proven they can build an attacking team capable of winning in a minor European league. But how does this type of success translate to Spurs?


- Know how to win trophies
- Integrate youth team players
- Develop stars-in-the-making
- Used to selling best players every year and rebuilding


- Not used to facing serious league competition
- Unfamiliar with financial constraints relative to competitors
- Haven't had to manage big egos
- Relatively inexperienced

Tier 3 - Mauricio Pochettino / Thomas Tuchel

These managers have done spectacularly well to punch above their club's weight, but even so they've likely never won anything. Is achieving a league position a few places higher than you'd expect enough to qualify them for a job with Spurs?

Mauricio Pochettino has taken the team that had the second-lowest wage bill in the Premier League last season and turned them into an attack-minded juggernaut who have steam-rolled all but the biggest clubs in the league. Thomas Tuchel's done even better in Germany, taking a fairly broke Mainz side into regular European contention. But can they achieve that success at a bigger club?


- Know how to work with financial constraints
- Integrate youth team players
- Work with players on the verge of hitting the next level
- Used to selling best players every year and rebuilding


- Haven't had to manage big egos
- Have never won trophies
- Often take a pragmatic approach instead of an attacking one

Ultimately each type of manager brings a lot to be both excited and wary about. Tier 1 managers tend to have the most experience and the most success, yet they have the least experience dealing with some of the challenges a club like Spurs would face. Then again, they know how to win, and may be just the ticket to turn Spurs from a mid-table nearly team to a real challenger.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 managers may be less experienced overall, but what experience they do have comes with teams used to facing some of the unfortunate financial realities a club like Tottenham struggles with. If a Tier 3 manager can take a club from 15th to 8th, how much further is the leap from 6th to 4th? Or beyond?

What do you guys think? Broadly speaking, is there a particular type of managerial candidate you'd prefer to see?