In more ways than one, the writing was on the wall at Tottenham Hotspur when Mauricio Pochettino’s firing was announced. Daniel Levy seemingly new as much, too, with a report from Sky Sports News saying the chairman began searching for Pochettino’s replacement more than three weeks ago.
Per the report, it was after Spurs’ 1-1 draw against Watford when Levy first began the process. He was in conversations with agent Pini Zahivi, with face to face discussions with eventual Pochettino successor José Mourinho happening in the last week in London. Among Mourinho’s selling points from Zahivi was a winning mentality, which the agent felt Spurs were missing under Pochettino.
Sky says Massimiliano Allegri, RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann, and Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Tuchel were in the mix, but the report does not suggest any level of communication between Spurs and those managers.
The report also aligns with others that Mourinho wanted a return to the Premier League in the 11 months he spent out of work after being fired by Manchester United. He reportedly was close to rejoining Real Madrid and fielded other offers, including one from China, but was searching for the right project.
Conversations with Levy centered on playing style and the squad itself, with Mourinho believing Spurs already have a talented squad but were underperforming. Levy has told Mourinho that “funds will be made available if deemed necessary” for transfers in January and in the summer.
Sky also reports that the players are “looking forward” to working with Mourinho, and follows up on the relationship between the players and Pochettino from Levy’s point of view. The chairman felt the training ground was “toxic” and that several at the club were unhappy when Pochettino suggested he would leave if Spurs won the Champions League. Additionally, Levy felt he gave Pochettino the players he wanted, and the board was “increasingly frustrated by Pochettino’s demeanour” for acting negatively as a result.