Without a deeper look at context, one could search through a multitude of parallel universes and fail to find a world in which Mourinho taking over at Tottenham makes sense. Rewind back to March 1st2015 as Spurs took on Chelsea with Mourinho in the opposite dugout –
‘Yes. I couldn’t go. I couldn’t train in England for two years. I would not take the job out of respect for Chelsea fans’
Jose’s rich history with bitter rivals Chelsea, and tendency to create a siege mentality at his clubs – us against them, culture- meant he has never been a popular figure in North London. This combined with his past interactions with Wenger paints him as North London’s greatest enemy.
It is also Daniel Levy’s attitude that further compounds the mystery on how these two came to wed. In recent years criticism has been rife amongst spurs fans with the general consensus being that Levy does not release enough funds for spurs to keep up with their rivals. While as recent last season Spurs famously did not sign a single player, with their wage structure allegedly not paying out as well as other top clubs. A wage structure that has ensured players run out the remainder of the contract, leaving a large turnover of players needed.
Mourinho has always spent money, – big money at that – so surely everything aforementioned, points to Jose being the wrong man for the job? Here’s why I think Mourinho can, without a guarantee by any means, propel Tottenham hotspur in to a new era of success. Can the pantomime villain become the allured hero?
Finance and Profile
Spurs appear to have gone through both catalytic finance and image changes recently; a stadium fit for champions, a guaranteed Amazon commissioned documentary and they also bought a footballer this summer. After research, I can confirm that £7.99 a month is more than worth it to watch a documentary featuring Jose Mourinho asking Daniel Levy to include a golf course in Gareth Bale’s contract. The idea is, this is inevitably going to lead to a higher standing profile worldwide, from the attachment of Mourinho’s name alone.
Another sign that changes are afoot at the club comes with the contract Mourinho has signed on arrival, allegedly at £15m per year, almost twice as much as predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, making him the highest earner at the club. Admittedly, this seems boisterously stupid from Levy in what almost smacks of desperation, but it is a sign of change. As per footeconomics, there is usually a direct correlation between wages spent and success of clubs, Tottenham at the very least are essentially showing they are willing to pay the money if they want to succeed.
Which is what Jose needs. Money. and perhaps with high profile stars about to come off the wage bill such as Toby Alderweirald and Chrstian Eriksen, having finally moved in to the new stadium, Spurs may finally be ready to really back a manager at full hilt.
Jose is perhaps not even the most important cog in this new look spurs setup, as Lille man Luis Ocampos joins Spurs as Sporting director. Campos’ body of work in talent identification is undeniably impressive after stints at Monaco and Lille.
Here is a list of players the man is responsible for finding, nearly all of whom play for top European clubs:
- Thomas Lemar
- Bernardo Silva
- Nicolas Pepe
- Anthony Martial
I would not be surprised to see the recently acquired Victor Omishen follow Campos to his new project. A massive factor in Mourinho’s early success at Chelsea was not only world class coaching, but world class recruitment. And to me, this situation draws parallels. The likes of Didier Drogba and Michael Essien were hardly household names in world football when signed by Jose and could easily have been looked over in other cases. These kinds of signing helped launch Chelsea in to an entirely different stratosphere. It is a common misconception that Jose demands specific players; only a specific type of player to meet his playing style needs. Jose doesn’t need power, he needs structure, culture and ambition, and with Campos’ appointment, has one of the best in the business to work with. Now that, from Daniel Levy, is ambition.
Playing style and culture
I would be lying to everyone in saying that Jose Mourino is guaranteed to play swashbuckling football and win the league with spurs. However, I think while a Jose Mourinho managerial appointment without everyone moving in the same diurection has the potential to tank to new lows, if the vision is sold, the squad can be taken places that Mauricio Pochettino, at this point was unable to take them. The man lives and breathes football. He will know your u21 second choice goalkeeper’s shoe size before you learn his name such is the meticulous planning that goes in to a Jose Mourinho game plan.
It is unfortunately blatantly obvious that players became unmotivated under Poch. Players will run through walls for Jose Mourinho. That’s a fact.
‘He is not player, he is my son’ – Jose Mourinho on Michael Essien
Players have wept upon his departure. The notorious press conferences are only in place in order to create a new talking point and protect his own players. One cannot deny that the like of Dele Alli and even Harry Kane have not played to their potential this season. The idea that Jose can maximise their output on the field should be frightening to other teams. A combination of one’s own hard work and Jose’s guidance has seen players such as Frank Lampard and Cristiano Ronaldo become the pinnacle of their positions. An example of how Jose can help.
In terms of personel, Jose is inheriting a very good squad. Report at past clubs saw teams linked to Serge Aurier, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweirald; players who are in desperate need of change. Jose can do that.
We have seen Jose play high octane, counter attacking football in the past. With some time away from the game, hopefully reflection, motivation and research Mourinho can start to produce again.
Clear player profiles reside at Spurs that we have seen Mourinho work with before.
Son particularly is potentially a player Mourinho will love. A hard-working winger who will come inside to overload the centre of the pitch to create space in behind? Sorted. Eric Dier’s functionality could be key with his defensive awareness in the centre of the park that Jose has relied on in the past, with the likes of cambiasso and Matic in title winning teams. The ball playing centre back that Mourinho always wanted? He has two now. Defensively capable midfielder, ala Ramires being elite in attacking and defensive transitions? The Sissoko-Mourinho link certainly has potential. Dele Alli, another who thrives in the final third and when on his game is amongst the best in the league; one can be guilty of forgetting how young he is.
Fans have feared for new signing Tanguy Ndombele, but let us not forget his success with Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park. Perhaps Christian Eriksen will not entirely suit the plan Mourinho wishes to employ, however his quality is undeniable and Mourinho is a clever man.
Of course, it would be naïve to draw exact replicas from past sides, but we have seen José succeed with these types of players before. It is not an entire overhaul needed, but a change in attitude and tweaks in personnel could see spurs reaping the benefits. Of course, we have could be seeing constant shots taking at Daniel Levy over the next 3 years and both men on the Jake Paul, KSI undercard with Spurs in the Championship. The only thing that is for certain is that I need to sign up to Amazon Prime. Strap in.