As predicted by all but Tim Sherwood, Tim Sherwood’s contract has been terminated early at Spurs. In the aftermath of Andre Villas Boas’ sacking in December, the former Blackburn captain was handed the reigns and an 18 month contract. No one seriously believed that Sherwood would remain beyond the summer, even if he did manage to win more than half of his games.
So who will replace Sherwood as the next victim of Daniel Levy’s itchy trigger finger?
As is always the way with managerial vacancies, there have been many names mentioned, the majority of which are utter nonsense. The lack of Champions League football at Spurs next season will be a major factor in the recruitment of a new manager, so the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Diego Simeone will categorically not be gracing the White Hart Lane hotseat.
Louis van Gaal was hotly tipped to take over at Spurs this summer once his contract with the Dutch national side ended after the World Cup. However Manchester United look to have pinched him from under Levy’s nose as they look for a replacement for David Moyes.
Nevertheless, there are a few viable candidates for Spurs fans to mull over.
3. Rafa Benitez
Say what you will about the man – and Chelsea fans had plenty to say last year- Benitez does a good job at the majority of clubs he managed.
He won two league titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia, the Champions League and an FA Cup with Liverpool, a Europa League with Chelsea, and a few weeks ago his Napoli side won the Coppa Italia.
Not a bad record at all. He may not have had the best time at Inter Milan, but to be fair he took over from Jose Mourinho who had won the Champions League with the Nerazzurri. Chelsea fans disliked him as a result of his rivalry with the club during the Mourinho era, but Benitez came in and did a professional job, culminating in the Europa League final victory over Benfica in 2013.
The Spaniard has always talked up his love of England and may be tempted with a move back to London. However he has a quality squad at his disposal at Napoli right now so it would be quite surprising should he take the Spurs hotseat.
2. Frank de Boer:
The 44 year old has enjoyed a successful spell at the helm of Ajax, after cutting his teeth coaching the club’s youth team and as Bert van Marwijk’s assistant at the Dutch national side.
With four Eredivisie titles to his credit as manager, the younger of the De Boer twins has done a good job in the Dutch league. In knock-out competitions, he has fared less spectacularly however. He has won just one Johan Cruijff shield during his tenure. Ajax are Champions League mainstays, but under De Boer have never progressed beyond the group stages.
De Boer hasn’t kept his cards close to his chest as regards the Spurs job. He said recently that he had been in contact with the club, something that didn’t go down too well with Tim Sherwood at the time. If De Boer does get the job he’ll see a few familiar faces in the Spurs dressing room. Cristian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen both played under the Dutchman at Ajax before making the move to North London.
1. Mauricio Pochettino:
The footballing community couldn’t believe it when Southampton sacked Nigel Adkins in January 2013, with the side three points clear of the relegation and fresh off a draw with Chelsea.
In Adkins place came Pochettino, a 40 year old Argentinian who had been out of work since leaving Espanyol two months previous. He was initially viewed as the man who had taken the job of an English manager, but that soon changed as he led Southampton to victories against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
In his first full season in charge, Pochettino’s side have consistently remained in the top half of the table, even occupying third place for a time. Southampton play an aesthetically pleasing brand of passing football, with Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert all stand out performers this season. It’s a club with a big future if they can hang onto Pochettino and their young talents.
If another club such as Spurs did come in for Pochettino in the summer, what could help engineer a move is the fact that Nicola Cortese, the chairman and ally of the manager, was fired in January. In the aftermath Pochettino was rumoured to be close to quitting but ultimately decided to wait until the summer to decide his future.
If he likes to build up a good working relationship with a chairman however, will he really be comfortable working under the notoriously difficult Daniel Levy?
Pochettino has been installed as the bookies favourite for the Spurs job, and fans will hope that if he does arrive at White Hart Lane he might bring one or two of the talented Southampton players with him.
The major complaint levelled against Spurs in the season just gone was their lack of attacking invention and urgency. Cristian Eriksen notwithstanding, the players found it very difficult to break teams down and as such goals were hard to come by.
Under Pochettino, Southampton hassle and harry opponents close to their own goal, so that when the Saints do get possession, the opposition is disorganised in defence and susceptible to quick passing movements. If the Argentinian did make the move to Spurs, he would have a talented midfield at his disposal that would be well suited to implementing such a game plan.