Hanging on to Pochettino

Image: SpursWeb

I think it has reached the stage where we would all agree that Pochettino is doing a fabulous job. The Former Argentina centre-back has won over both the fans and the players in his season and a half at the club, during which he guided us to a League Cup Final and to a Europa League place, with some classic matches along the way (think New Year’s Day 2015). Perhaps what has won over the fans most though is the exciting football that we has been played, combined with his commitment to academy and local players – which has paid dividends with the discoveries of Kane and Alli. Furthermore his modest demeanour and non-confrontational style allow him to slip under the radar – avoiding negative press attention although he has clearly captured the respect and admiration of the players, which has been essential to retaining some of our more high profile stars– Hugo Lloris even went so far as to say that he would have left the club if it wasn’t for the renewed energy and atmosphere that Pochettino brought to the club. This considerable success hasn’t gone completely unnoticed though, unfortunately.

It has been revealed that Pochettino is one of the four names on Chelsea’s shortlist of managers who will replace Guus Hiddink at the end of this summer. Also on the list are Didier Deschamps, current France manager, Diego Simeone manager of the highly successful Atletico Madrid and Jorge Sampaoli former Chile Manager. Against such renowned competition one might be forgiven for thinking that our Pochettino was at no risk of being tempted away by the Blues. However in their search for a new manager Chelsea will be looking for someone whose personality will not be as contentious as Mourinhos’ was. Secondly they will be keen on taking someone who is already proven in the Premier League because, as we know, it can be very difficult for new players and managers to adjust and achieve success (*cough* Soldado *cough*). Pochettino suddenly seems like a much better option. And Chelsea aren’t the only team to have expressed interest. On the back of a shocking season from Louis Van Gaal, Manchester United will be looking for a new Manager and many have pointed out that Pochettino’s classic high press, high possession and building from the back strategy would fit right in with the beliefs and ideals of many of the older United talismans.

However we shouldn’t get gloomy yet. All is not lost. There are still many things to attract Pochettino to Spurs and there is more that can be done to encourage him to be tempted by the fallen angels of Chelsea and Man United.

In order to keep Pochettino in Spurs’ Garden of Eden, Daniel Levy must continue to let Pochettino to have control over the Transfer market. In the past season Levy has allowed Pochettino to sell of many of our post-Bale big money flops and also given him the freedom to bring through many of the youth players. Secondly Levy must make sure that other key members of the staff do not leave, in particular John McDermott, the Academy manager, and Paul Mitchell, head of recruitment, who followed Pochettino from St. Mary’s. Pochettino is known to have strong relationships with these characters, and, as well as being detrimental to the club generally, losing members of the managing staff would unsettle the system and set up that Pochettino is building, making him more likely to accept an offer to move elsewhere. Next, it is up to everyone who can to convince Pochettino that he can take Spurs all the way to league, cup and European Glory. Partly this relies on Poch himself continuing the good work and also some luck, but he must also feel that he has the complete support of the fans and of Levy. Furthermore our Star players must not be allowed to leave – Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane, Christian Erikson although this is vaguely cyclical as many of these are more likely to leave if Poch escapes us. The new stadium plans should help this, as it represents the Club transitioning into a more internationally attractive Club, which could respectably host Champions league football. Finally and somewhat cynically, Pochettino must be given the financial incentive to stay, as without a doubt the big clubs will be able to offer him hefty financial packages. He is already rumoured to have substantial performance bonus’ written into his contract, dependent on cup wins and a top 4 finish. However, if I was Levy I would seriously be considering topping up Pochettino’s 2 million yearly salary (He practically can’t afford to live on that, I suppose…).

As long as Pochettino stays, I personally believe that Spurs are going to continue to get better and better, and might even become genuine contenders for the league in just a few years. However if Poch leaves it will signal at least a short term decline as we slip back into the instability of years gone by, and our best players leave in search of Champions League football. That being said, if Poch leaves we might end up with Guardiola, which wouldn’t be so bad.

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