Is it time to panic? It might be time to panic. Two reports are out — Matt Law, writing in the Daily Telegraph, and Sami Mokbel of the Mail are out with articles that paint a picture of serious problems at Tottenham Hotspur. Both reports again state that this weekend’s match at West Ham is pivotal to the future of Mauricio Pochettino, and both openly suggest that the issue might not be if Pochettino leaves the club, but when.
Both reports also make note of high level discussions between Pochettino and Daniel Levy over the international break about Pochettino’s future, and while the Mail article is devoid of anything resembling quotes or evidence, Law’s Telegraph article is oddly specific, hinting that it might be Pochettino that wants to leave.
A lot of you are going to read this and think I’m out of my mind to believe what I read in the Telegraph and Mail. And you’d be correct in maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism for precisely those reasons. The Mail isn’t exactly known for being an even-handed bastion of reporting even at the best of times, and Matt Law sure has seemed like he’s had an axe to grind with Tottenham over the past year or so.
But both of these articles are echoes of one another with similar information and suppositions. Law may not be my favorite journalist, but he does have sources close to and within Spurs, and he’s using actual (albeit anonymous) quotes to buttress his argument. Take this one.
“Unless things improve dramatically then it is impossible to see Pochettino staying at Tottenham for the entire season. Losing at West Ham would be a disaster for them. Levy would prefer not to sack him, not only because of the money but also because of what he has achieved at Tottenham. But Pochettino has made it look like that is what he might prefer.”
Law’s hypothesis is that limping along to the end of the season is looking “increasingly unlikely” and that Pochettino may want out of Tottenham more than Levy wants him out. There are anecdotal reports about Poch seeming more and more “distant” from his players, and the players are texting one another during the international break about the possibility of Poch leaving. Other reports hint that Harry Kane is looking “frustrated.”
Both the Telegraph and the Mail reference “private meetings” about Pochettino’s future that could mean both parties are trying to find a graceful exit out of the situation that benefits both sides — possibly a mutual arrangement where Poch walks away with a negotiated buy-out.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that this is accurate or what you should think. I certainly have my reasons for thinking that it would be penny wise, pound foolish to sack Pochettino at this point in the season, with no clear plan for a successor and more than half the campaign to go under a presumed, and hypothetical caretaker or Tim Sherwood-like temporary manager. I’ve posted about that personal view a number of times over the past couple of months.
But that doesn’t mean that all of this is hogwash. We’ve seen enough with our own eyes to know that there’s something seriously wrong at Tottenham that goes back to last year. Tottenham are 19-8-19 in all competitions going back to last January. That’s unacceptable, and it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility to think that it may be too late to salvage the situation, even for Pochettino.
And that’s why, after reading these two reports, I’m more and more nervous about what the future might hold. Change is hard, and this change has come swift and been very difficult to handle. I don’t think we can afford to wave these reports off entirely. Because whether or not we believe the sources we’re not fond of in the publications that we don’t especially like, the story is out there and it’s pretty damn plausible. As Spurs fans, we ignore it at our own peril.