After months of simmering discontent from fans and in the locker room, Manchester United finally pulled the trigger today, firing Jose Mourinho. Talks are underway to appoint a caretaker manager for the rest of the season before a search for a permanent manager begins this summer.
Why is this of interest to Tottenham Hotspur fans? Because reportedly United’s top choice to take over for Mourinho is none other than Mauricio Pochettino. For many, the United job, which despite never reaching the heights reached by Sir Alex Ferguson since his retirement in 2012, is still one of the top two or three jobs in world football. Whoever is eventually hired to take over for Mourinho will inherit a team of outstandingly talented players, a youth academy with a history of developing players, and more money than God. It’s a plum job, and everyone knows it.
There are also reasons to think that despite signing a new contract this summer, Pochettino might actually be interested in the job this time around. Much digital ink has been spilled about Tottenham’s summer transfer window and the fact that they didn’t make a single signing. There is the sense, founded or not, that Pochettino is vexed that he wasn’t fully supported in the offseason. While Spurs are set to debut their new stadium, and Pochettino will be the man to lead the club into their new ground, it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to keep him here amidst what is expected to be a full court press from both Manchester and Madrid.
On the other hand, Poch is more or less a deity in north London and is already well paid and beloved by fans. He’s already done the yeoman’s work in building the club up and Spurs are poised to enter a new era where it looks likely to compete on a more even financial footing with the biggest clubs in England. If he stays, Pochettino would have a major role in helping set the course. Moving to United or Madrid would essentially mean starting over with a significantly less patient fan base.
Poch is about to embark on a new era at Spurs where he can shape the club for the foreseeable future in exactly the way he wants them to be, tailored to his whole philosophy and he's already laid much of the foundations. It's Poch FC. Would he be able to do that anywhere else?— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) December 18, 2018
We won’t get any confirmation from Poch about a future move, though. Earlier this month he has joked about his job security and also tried to distance himself from the Manchester United job, saying he is in fact happy at Spurs.
“The most important thing is I feel so happy here. Tottenham has given me the value. I feel happy here in Tottenham because I feel the recognition for our job. We feel that.
“When Daniel Levy extended my contract for five years, it is because he believed in that moment and period, we are the best people to manage this boat and this club.”
In today’s press conference ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup North London Derby, he refused to comment.
“After nearly five years a lot of rumours have happened in my position as manager of Tottenham. I cannot answer this type of question because this type of rumours happens in the business. Always I respect a lot the opinion of everyone.”
It’s very likely that Spurs won’t need to worry about Pochettino and his staff leaving until this summer. However, we should probably start preparing ourselves mentally for an especially annoying offseason full of rumors and approaches about Spurs’ manager. Poch has established himself as one of the best coaches in Europe and one of the hottest coaching commodities in the game right now and it’s quite possible that Daniel Levy could have a fight on his hands to keep him.