So, as many had predicted, Jose Mourinho’s reign as Tottenham manager turned out to be only a brief affair. His nomination was based on nostalgic memories of previous triumphs, but a once-generation coach who defined the generation has fallen out of touch with modern play.
It was hoped that Mourinho’s arrival as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor would take the North London team to the next level, as the Argentine turned Spurs into Champions League regulars without succeeding in the final leg of securing the silverware success.
There had been a lot of positivity around the shock appointment of the once self-anointed ‘Special One’, but Spurs stagnated under Mourinho’s outdated methods quite predictably, football stale, blame shift and alienation from too familiar players.
The decision to terminate his contract leaves the hierarchy again in search of a new direction.
On the surface, this is a club with arguably the best modern stadium in world football and one of the financially strong ‘big six’ of the Premier League, an attractive project for any coach looking for the foundations for. succeed.
Why then does it appear that no coach of elite credibility has shown interest in taking the reins?
Julian Nagelsmann was the first name strongly linked to the position in North London, the innovative RB Leipzig manager considered arguably the most exciting coaching prospect in the game.
Nagelsmann’s quick attacking style was seen as the perfect antidote to Mourinho’s much-maligned pragmatism, although interest in his services from Bayern Munich provided Spurs with a gargantuan obstacle in their hopes of luring him to the Premier League.
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A duel with the Bundesliga giant was a duel the club was never going to win.
Attention shifted to Nagelsmann, the names of Erik ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers widely circled, the former having guided Ajax to two titles – on either side of a shortened Eredivisie campaign – in addition to the Champions League semi-finals.
Any hope of acquiring the Dutchman from Amsterdam was dashed by Ten Hag’s signing of a contract extension last week, while Spurs’ eyelash beating at Rodgers looks set to end in a similar disappointment.
Rodgers comes across as an idealistic rendezvous, a manager who has proven himself in handling pressure from one of the top six clubs (Liverpool), winning silverware (Celtic) and immeasurably improving teams ( Leicester and Swansea).
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It says a lot about the current plight of Spurs that the Northern Irishman believes he has a better chance of short-term success with Leicester, even given the Foxes’ rapid rise under his leadership.
So where is Daniel Levy to continue his research? Three credible candidates, each appearing to have avoided Spurs advances.
Graham Potter has gained admirers for his work in Brighton and previously at Swansea, but it would represent a huge increase in expectations if he left his post with the Seagulls for the capital.
It’s a similar scenario for Scott Parker, who, although he looks set for a second relegation in three seasons, appears to have gained admirers for his footballing style at Fulham.
Another name mentioned is Nuno Espirito Santo, but will Spurs be drawn given Wolves have retreated this season?
Rafael Benitez is eternally linked with vacancies on these shores, but despite an impressive resume he is a long way from the upcoming management appointment that would be considered by Levy, his old-fashioned defensive style more in the mold of Mourinho.
Spurs need the right date, but is there an outstanding candidate ready for the job? The club cannot afford to play and runs a real risk of falling behind the English elite.
Manchester City are close to a third league title in four seasons and remain the dominant force in the Premier League, while Liverpool will come back stronger next season with the return of Virgil van Dijk, one of the many absent long-standing ready to strengthen their ranks.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to oversee the steady improvement at Manchester United, while Chelsea will invest again after a record spending summer this season.
The leading teams in English football are often colloquially referred to as the ‘Big Six’ and while this may seem true in terms of the financial disparity between the rest of the division, there is a risk that a gap will widen. in terms of real competitiveness between these parties.
Levy had tried to secure Spurs’ place among the elite amid controversial Super League proposals, their inclusion among the founders itself a feat given the club’s lack of tangible success in recent decades.
Spurs only have to look through the North London Division to see an example of how fortunes can change drastically, with Arsenal languishing in ninth and 31 points adrift of the league leaders with little sign that the gap can be closed in the coming seasons.
If Spurs made another managerial mistake, the ‘big six’ could very well become one of the top four.
Finding a suitable successor to Mourinho could also prove key to deciding Harry Kane’s future, with the striker and Spurs’ crown jewel making no secret of his desire to win the silverware that has him until present escaped.
Kane watched Manchester City celebrate Carabao Cup success following their Wembley victory last month, with ex-teammate Kyle Walker at the center of the celebrations.
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The England defender happily stuck four fingers alongside fellow internationals John Stones, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling, signaling his fourth League Cup success since replacing Spurs against the Etihad.
It’s not an image that probably hasn’t been lost on Kane.
Spurs face the prospect of another silverless season outside of the Champions League, with their future resting on the powers in charge selecting the right figurehead for their failing project.
A mistake here and the foundation that was first laid by Mauricio Pochettino could quickly fall apart, starting a downward slide that history tells us is hard to stop. Daniel Levy knows better than anyone that the pressure is high.
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