Monday 23 September 2019

Why Mauricio Pochettino's meeting with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy last summer could be crucial to his future now

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Mauricio Pochettino may soon have a big decision to make and he may well refer to his meeting with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy last May when he makes what could be a career-defining move.

Manchester United insiders have not attempted to disguise their admiration for Pochettino since they decided to bring down the curtain on the painfully elongated Jose Mourinho era as the club's manager earlier this month and while Spurs are naturally keen to avoid the delicate topic of their manager's future, the man in the eye of this storm would be wise to use it to his advantage.

With his £8.5m-a-year Tottenham contract set to run until the summer of 2023, the most coveted manager in world football holds all the aces in a high stakes poker game that will go through it's initial phase as early as next week.

United's decision to appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their interim manager until the end of the season ensures that any effort to recruit Pochettino will not be launched for a few months, with the Tottenham manager never in a more powerful position than he is right now.

Worryingly for Spurs, there may now be reasons why Pochettino will be more open to the prospect of making a move at the end of this season than he was when Real Madrid came calling last summer.

Last May, Pochettino held a summit with Levy that was crucial to resolving his future with the club, with his comments ahead of the meeting pricking the ears of the media who were present as he muttered these words.

"Today, 100% I feel that I am here, but the most important thing is that tomorrow all can change because it's not in my hands." said the coach who has yet to win a single trophy in his coaching career.

"I have very clear ideas of what we need to do. I don't know if the club will agree with me or not.

"If we want to be real contenders for big trophies, we need to review a little bit the thing. We need to create dreams that will be possible to achieve. Maybe we are a bit disappointed and frustrated because now we are close to winning.

"You need to be brave and take risks. I think it's a moment for the club needs to take risks and tries to work, if possible, harder than the previous season to be competitive again, because every season will be more difficult."

Pochettino signed a lucrative new five-year contract with Spurs shortly after his discussions with Levy, as he was given the assurances he needed that the club was ready to match his ambition despite the £800m outlay on their new stadium.

His demands for the club to shatter their wage structure to hand talisman Harry Kane a new £200,000-a-week contract were answered a few days later, but additional promises made by Levy have not been met.

A fresh crisis looms on Tottenham's horizon, with midfield maestro Christian Eriksen collecting a £75,000-a-week salary he would be instantly treble by moving to one of Europe's elite clubs and advisers for defender Toby Alderweireld failing to agree terms on a new deal after repeated links with a move to Manchester United.

The future of his star players will be one factor concerning Pochettino as he ponders his own future, while he may also reflect that Levy was less than honest when he suggested Spurs would play the first game at their new stadium against Liverpool on September 15th.

Levy would have known such an ambitious completion date would never be met by the hundreds of construction staff working day and night to try and finish a stadium that will not be open until February at the earliest and may not be ready for action until the start of next season, but maybe it was in his interests then to tell his manager what he wanted to hear in a bid to keep him.

In addition, Levy assured Pochettino his transfer kitty would remain healthy despite the outlay on the new stadium, with that vow was undermined by Tottenham's failure to make a single signing during last summer's transfer window.

Broken promises can lead to mistrust in a working relationship and it could be a toxic ingredient thrown into the concoction as Tottenham strive to hang on to their manager.

If another transfer window glides by with Pochettino's transfer wish list left unfulfilled next month and their stadium debacle that has clearly affected their campaign, with today's game at Everton there 11th away match of the season as some of their home games were moved to accommodate the stadium delays.

Pochettino would not have the power and influence he has earned with his current employer if he took the bait from United, but he may use the next few months to assess whether he has taken the Spurs train to its final destination.

It's by no means certain that Pochettino will be the next Manchester United manager, but the alarm bells should be ringing for Tottenham. 

MODERN TOTTENHAM MANAGERS

Mauricio Pochettino - 97%

Andre Villas-Boas - 55.10%

David Pleat - 50.42%

Tim Sherwood - 50%

Harry Redknapp 49.49%

Martin Jol - 44.67%

Terry Venables - 40.6%

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