Is Mauricio Pochettino going back to Spurs?

Craig Humpage 2 weeks ago

PSG Manager in talks with Tottenham over return to club during 24 hour managerial merry-go-round bedlam

Tottenham are said to be in talks with their former boss Mauricio Pochettino about a shocking return to North London, just 18 months after he was sacked. After a disappointing season for the Lilywhites, Chairman Daniel Levy is believed to have accepted that this decision was a mistake. A 7th place finish means Spurs will compete in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League next season. Star striker Harry Kane is angling for a move in a bid to compete for major honours at the top of the football ladder. Morale is said to be at an all time low. Pochettino could make things better but will the 49 year old be lured into a Tottenham return?

Pochettino at Spurs: From Champions League Final to Fired

Mauricio Pochettino was let go by Spurs in November 2019 after a poor start to the 2019/20 Premier League campaign. This decision was made after the Argentine had taken Spurs to their first ever Champions League final, secured four consecutive top four finishes in the league and won more games than any other Tottenham manager since World War Two. Modern day chairmen are often trigger happy but this shocked everyone. Despite the slump which cost him his job, he recorded the second best win percentage (54.3%) of any Tottenham Hotspur manager.

Operating under a budget vastly lower than that of his peers, Pochettino nurtured the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Cristian Eriksen into world class players. Given the monetary constraints, you could say he overachieved. In the end though it wasn't good enough for the board at Tottenham and he was sacked, quickly replaced by Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese was brought in to win a trophy, something he had done at every club he'd been at up to that point. He won nothing and was fired earlier this year. Now as the London club languish in 7th with their star players either having one or trying to force a move away, they truly didn't know what they had until it was gone. They are now said to be seriously considering a play for their old boss.

Pochettino at Paris Saint Germain: A Mixed Six Months

The Argentine coach took a sabbatical after leaving Tottenham in which he most likely got some well earned rest. Then PSG came calling. In December 2020 they let German coach Thomas Tuchel go and replaced him with their former player Mauricio Pochettino. One of the main issues surrounding Pochettino's time in North London was the lack of available funds to improve the Spurs squad. That is a problem he won't have in Paris. The Qatari-backed club have an abundance of resources and regularly splurge in the transfer market. On the other hand, with that comes high expectations. The Parisians will settle for nothing less than success.

It's difficult to judge Pochettino's reign in France as he only joined five months ago, but it's fair to say he's not exactly blown minds. For any coach of PSG it's essential that they win the Ligue 1 title every season. Damning indictment of the state of French football, yes, but it's true. The Argentine has failed to do that. That's only happened once since 2012, when Monaco pipped them to the title in 2017. The Parisians were a point behind Lille when Pochettino took over and that's where they finished. He did win the Coupe de France and with a full season to work with the squad who knows what he could achieve, but will he stay long enough to find out?

How Likely is a move back to Spurs for Pochettino?

PSG didn't exactly give their former player their full backing when they hired him. An 18 month contract doesn't inspire much confidence. He now has a year left on that deal and it isn't out of the realm of possibility for him to go back to Spurs. Sources suggest that the French club are keen to keep Mauricio Pochettino but if they are, they will need to extend that contract. If they don't and Daniel Levy is ready to offer big money and a sign him up to a longer deal, the Argentine could be persuaded to go back to the club he clearly loves. The PSG boss hasn't been shy about his desire to one day manage Tottenham again. In April 2020, Pochettino made it clear he would love a second chance to win trophies at his former club: "Maybe in five years, maybe in 10 years, but before I die I want to manage Tottenham." If Spurs are willing to open that door again and put their money where their mouth is, perhaps that romantic reunion could happen a lot sooner.

It's difficult to know exactly what will happen this summer with both clubs linked with several managers. While there is no claim that Pochettino is unhappy in Paris, the club didn't lock him down for the long term and are said to be monitoring other coaches out there who have become available in the last 24 hours, like Antonio Conte who just left Inter Milan and Zinedine Zidane who just left Real Madrid. Tottenham are looking for a new manager to replace interim boss Ryan Mason and are supposedly keeping an eye on several coaches such as Erik Ten Hag of Ajax and Ralf Rangnick, formerly of RB Leipzig. If the Ligue 1 powerhouse could get hold of Zidane for example, they might be willing to let Pochettino out of his one year contract. Spurs have been knocked back by several coaches such as Julian Nagelsmann who just joined Bayern Munich and Brendan Rodgers who has committed his future to Leicester City. In the end, a deal could be made which suits all parties.

Where does this leave Harry Kane?

England captain and Premier League top goalscorer Harry Kane has made no secret of his displeasure with how things are currently going at Spurs. He seems adamant on leaving this summer in pursuit of the chance to compete for top club honours like the Champions League. As one of the best players in world football, he would certainly have no shortage of suitors. He may have offered Daniel Levy an ultimatum: make a big statement to convince me to stay. Luring Pochettino back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could an effective way to bring Harry Kane back to the table. Kane and his former boss clearly had a great working relationship.

These coming weeks will no doubt be crucial for Spurs, Pochettino and Kane.

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