José Mourinho has agreed to succeed Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham Hotspur manager after Daniel Levy’s decision to sack the Argentinian 171 days on from the club’s first appearance in the Champions League final.
Out of work for the past 11 months, Mourinho, the former Manchester United and Chelsea manager, regards Tottenham as an opportunity to win more silverware at the highest level of the English and European game.
Discussions between Tottenham and Mourinho have been taking place for several days. Levy is seeking an immediate turnaround to a poor start to the Premier League campaign, with the club sitting 14th in the table, threatening a financially important fifth consecutive qualification for the Champions League.
Mourinho called his team of assistants to an urgent meeting in London on Tuesday to ready them for work at Tottenham, with the club due to travel to West Ham United on Saturday. A source close to the 56-year-old confirmed last night that the vacant position had been offered to Mourinho and that he “will be the next manager”.
Tottenham confirmed at 7.30pm last night they had sacked Pochettino despite being “extremely reluctant” to dismiss a manager who had given them “many memorable moments”.
Levy, the Tottenham chairman, first tried to hire Mourinho in 2007 immediately after his sacking by Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea, but was prevented from doing so by a poison pill clause included in the Portuguese’s severance agreement. Mourinho’s dismissal by Manchester United last December has allowed Levy to secure a coach who has won more Premier League titles than any of the division’s current managers without paying a compensation package, and on a salary significantly lower than one he received at Old Trafford.
Pochettino rejected Tottenham’s request that he resign as he did not want to leave without compensation, expected to be more than £12 million. The 47-year-old took charge in 2014 and led Tottenham into the Champions League for the last four seasons, culminating in reaching the final in June, where they lost 2-0 to Liverpool.
“[Sacking Pochettino] is not a decision the board have taken lightly, nor in haste,” Levy said. “Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and the beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing. It falls on the board to make the difficult decisions — this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff.”
Dele Alli, the Tottenham midfielder, said last night: “I can’t thank this man enough. He’s taught me so much and I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for me. Good luck and hope to see you again my friend.”
The full back Ben Davies added: “He was amazing to work under, things haven’t been going great lately but we’re definitely shocked to see him go.”
One recent bone of contention for Pochettino had been Tottenham agreeing to a fly-on-the-wall documentary with Amazon, worth about £8 million to the club, in October. He felt Tottenham were not prepared for the intrusion and what filming entailed. The All Or Nothing series previously featured Manchester City and Sunderland.
Pochettino signed a five-year contract worth £8.5 million a year in May 2018 but became a target for Real Madrid when Zinédine Zidane quit a week later. He was United’s first choice when they sacked Mourinho and it may be that United and Real Madrid renew their interest in him. Pochettino hinted that he was ready to return to Spain in an interview with Diario La Grada, a Spanish paper, published yesterday. “You never know,” he said.
Pochettino was followed out of Spurs by Jesus Pérez, his assistant. Miguel d’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez, the coaches, have also left the club. £99m Pochettino’s net spend on players at Spurs, spending £394m on players and recouping £295m. Man City’s net spend in the same time is £667m
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