Guillem Balague provides interesting insight into relationship between Pochettino and Levy

Image: SpursWeb

Much has been said and written about the crisis at Spurs with fingers being pointed at many different causes for the team’s poor performances.

While Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics have come under scrutiny, some players’ desire has also been questioned by some fans. Meanwhile, others have pointed their fingers at the Spurs board and Daniel Levy for failing to regenerate the squad over the past few seasons.

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, who is close to Pochettino and was also the man who authored, ‘The Brave New World’, has now written a column for the BBC in which he gives his take on the problems at Tottenham.

In the article Balague claims that Pochettino and Levy both had slightly different views on the strategy and pace needed to move forward.

He wrote, “It is a situation that has occurred because different elements of the club have had different views on the strategy and pace needed to move forward. It has meant a lack of decisiveness in the transfer market and, by the time decisions on players have been made, it has often not been possible to implement the moves.

“On the one hand, you have Mauricio Pochettino, a coach who wants to make his team as good as it can be and to continue winning. On the other, you have Daniel Levy, the chairman and a man who analyses the football world inhabited by the top clubs in a different way.

“In a nutshell, in Pochettino Spurs have a coach who will look at and evaluate players on the basis of what they can do for the team, while also having one eye on the business. Levy, however, is more likely to view them in terms of what they can do for the business, while having one eye on the football.

“In situations such as this, the final decisions will always lie with the chairman.

“This has led to scenarios where players have had their contracts renewed with a view to maximising their marketability – selling them on – rather than on the basis of what they might contribute to the team on the field. Or of players signed who were not necessarily what the team needed but were considered a good market bargain.

“Pochettino has never asked the club for players or for money. What he has done – and he has been saying this for the past two years – is make it clear he needs to start a new chapter.

“The club themselves feel the refresh has begun already. Pochettino’s coaches identified problems a long time ago and they were not addressed with the pace that was demanded, but the club believe the next phase of the Spurs project is well under way. Some fringe players have been sold or will be sold in January and next summer. New players have arrived recently.

“It is hard to question Levy, who believes he has always done what is in the club’s very best interests. You only need to walk into the gleaming new showpiece stadium to realise that in many ways he has more than fulfilled his brief to Tottenham’s owners.

“And whatever the verdict on his transfer dealings, there have been numerous occasions when departures have been agreed by the manager and the club, only for a deal to prove impossible.

“In fact, in almost all the cases where a move from the squad was agreed, no teams showed interest or eventually the player decided not to move to those clubs making offers.

“Those situations create confusion. It has been reported that Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen searched for – or had the chance of – a departure.

“They remain at the club. Christian Eriksen has been offered a new contract but he needs a new challenge and prefers a move to La Liga, but neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid have shown enough interest to take him away.”

The Journalist, however, insisted that the relationship between the pair remains strong and that both of them are determined to turn around the team’s fortunes. He also claimed that the Tottenham manager will not ‘do a Mourinho’ as he feels loyal to Spurs.

Balague added, “The easy thing for Pochettino to do would be to clear his desk and wave an emotional goodbye to north London. He considered that during the summer and, had he left, would have had nothing to apologise for.

“He has taken Spurs and its fans into a land they could only have dreamed of and has done it by building a team that has played some of the most exhilarating football seen anywhere in the world. But that is not where his mind is now.

“A four-year contractual commitment on both sides will almost certainly prevent any clean break from taking place and Pochettino also feels a loyalty towards the club. When Real Madrid came calling for him last spring and approached Levy directly, the Argentine was the first to state he would not go against the wishes of his employers.

“The worst-case scenario is that things go from bad to worse, especially if Pochettino decides it’s time to leave only to find he is faced with the task of dealing with an agreement that will probably stipulate where he can or cannot go in the immediate future.

“He is not in the position where he could – or would want to – “do a Mourinho”, namely creating a situation so untenable at a club that showing you the door with a fat cheque and no handcuff clauses about your future suddenly becomes the only sensible option.”

Spurs Web Opinion:

Balague’s point about the difference in opinion between Pochettino and Levy on the pace of the rebuild seems to be the crucial point here. One hopes that the team’s poor showing in recent weeks has convinced Levy that the rebuild has to take place faster and the club will thus show more urgency in the January transfer window.

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