Saturday 24 February 2018

Guillem Balagué - Real Madrid will 'inevitably' try to recruit Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Real Madrid will ‘inevitably come calling’ for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, but the Argentine tactician would be making a big mistake if he walks away from his current job to take over at the Bernabéu.

That’s the verdict of Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balagué, who has spent the last year working on a book entitled 'Brave New World' that explores Pochettino’s football philosophies.

Tottenham take on Real Madrid in the Champions League at Wembley on Wednesday night and after an encouraging display for the Londoners in the 1-1 draw between the two sides in the Spanish capital two weeks ago, Pochettino’s reputation is climbing at a rapid rate in a country where he started his coaching career with Espanyol.

While the lure of a move to manage arguably the biggest club in world football would be hard to resist if the offer was made, Balagué believes the Spurs boss would be sacrificing too much if he swapped Tottenham for Real Madrid.

“Real Madrid will come at some point, he knows that, we all know that, but why would he go now,” asked Balagué, as he spoke to Independent.ie.

“Pochettino was always viewed in Spain as a manager who was doing quite a good job at Tottenham, but the performance and the result at the Bernabéu changed his profile in a big way and the Spanish media are looking at him in a different light now. They are looking at his as a future Real Madrid manager for the first time, but I don’t get a feeling he is wanting for that call to come.

“He is doing something special at Tottenham and even though it can be said that they are not spending money in the way other Premier League clubs are, Spurs are putting their finances into the areas that Pochettino wants and it has become more and more of a common vision with their chairman Daniel Levy. When you have that kind of set-up, you don’t want to run away.

“If he goes to Real Madrid, it will only be for a short period of time. No longer than two or three years I would imagine, it never is for any coach there. So why leave something that you are creating at Spurs for something so short-term?

“It was a similar situation at Southampton. Pochettino and his staff were building something, but then the players and the chairman who helped them put some structure in place at that club left and it that is why the chance to move to Spurs came at the right moment.

“Can he still be at Tottenham in their new stadium in five years time? Why not. There is no big reason for him to leave, unless circumstances change at the club.”

Balagué warns that Tottenham’s relative modest transfer investment compared to some of their Premier League rivals could yet be a factor that breaks Pochettino’s bond with the club, with the sale of high profile players not a scenario he would tolerate.

“He will not forget where his ambitions are and as I have discovered from spending so much time with him in the last year, he is in this game to win things,” adds Balagué.

“He won’t get into a comfort zone and be happy finishing third or fourth with Tottenham for a few years, as he wants more than that.

“Tottenham used to be a club that got players at the age of 23 and sold them for a profit four years later, but that has gone now. The club has a different mentality now and the last big player they sold was Gareth Bale over four years ago and that was for big, big money.

“If the situation changed and the club started selling players to the highest bidder once again, things could change, but at the moment everything is working for Pochettino. He is happy where he he is living, his sons are working at the club in different capacities, so this is a very happy relationship between the manager, his coaching staff and Tottenham.”

Brave New World: Inside Pochettino's Spurs by Guilleme Balagué is available in bookshops and online outlets.

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