Football fans can sometimes have short memories. So much happens in the space of a single season that we forget some of the things that happened the season before. We suspect that a few of you will have forgotten what we’re about to tell you, but here goes:- in 2019, Tottenham Hotspur reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. They didn’t win – the honors that day went to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool – but it was a sign of the progress that the club had made under Mauricio Pochettino. Those days must now feel like they happened a lifetime ago for Tottenham fans.
That Champions League final was as good as things got for Pochettino. He appeared to run out of steam as the club began their next season and was replaced by Jose Mourinho. That turned out to be a mistake. Mourinho already looked like a man whose time at the top had run out when he was fired by Manchester United, and he did nothing to dispel that suggestion during his seventeen months with Spurs. Those seventeen months would have been more like twelve had it not been for the pandemic-enforced break in the 2019-2020 season. Mourinho is on his way to Roma, and the London club is once again looking for a new manager. This time, they won’t have the allure of Champions League football next season to assist them.
One person who won’t be getting the job is Ryan Mason, the 29-year-old who’s been placed in temporary charge until the end of the season. His time will come as a coach, but not for a few years. For Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, it must be like logging into an online slots website. He places his bets, and if he isn’t a winner when the final reel stops spinning, he bets again. If you go too long without a winning line when you’re playing online slots at Rose Slots New Zealand, it can become quite an expensive hobby. A good gambler, as the song goes, knows when to hold and when to fold. Is Levy a good gambler, or is he blindly sticking money into his managerial game of online slots and hoping something will come up good for him? His next appointment will determine that. Here are a few of the possible candidates.
According to most bookmakers, the current favourite for the job is current Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi. He’s been credit with helping Lazio slowly return to prominence in Italian football and is also a man who’s not afraid to commit to a long-term project. He’s been with his current club for five years. Like most managers, he’d relish the chance to manage in the English Premier League, but he’s untested in the division and isn’t thought to speak fluent English. Pochettino didn’t speak good English either, but he at least had experience of the division when Tottenham recruited him from Southampton. He represents a risk, but perhaps an acceptable one.
Parker is also heavily favoured among bookmakers at the moment, which is perhaps surprising given the fact he’s just been relegated from the Premier League with Fulham. Perhaps that’s a measure of how far Tottenham’s stock has fallen in a short space of time. Parker was well-liked during his time with Spurs as a player and is seen as a forward-thinking young manager, but his track record is questionable. Nobody blamed him the first time Fulham was relegated from the Premier League with him at the helm because he was appointed too late in the day to do anything about it. He did well to bring them back up at the first attempt, but his side offered little this season and deserved to go down. What makes anyone think he’d do better with Spurs?
Rodgers is a manager with a better resume than Inzaghi or Parker. He’s won multiple championships with Celtic, narrowly missed out on the Premier League title with Liverpool, and turned Leicester City into a team capable of qualifying for the Champions League. He’s definitely got the reputation and the stature within the game to take the Spurs job, but the question here is why he would want to. His Leicester team look like they might soon contend for major honors. Tottenham, by contrast, look like a team in decline. The history and size of Spurs might appeal to Rodgers, but from a purely footballing perspective, he’d be better served to stay where he is.
This might have been a more attractive prospect for Spurs fans before this season. Under Nuno Santo, Wolverhampton Wanderers have been a team that’s made steady progress every season, culminating in their qualification for European competition. That all went to pieces this year. Wolves have never been in serious danger of relegation, but they’ll finish the campaign firmly embedded in the bottom half of the table, and Santo looks out of ideas. Losing Diego Jota to Liverpool won’t have helped, and the injury suffered by Raul Jiminez was a cruel blow too, but Wolves have seemed out of sorts too many times this term. Still, he knows the Premier League very well, and a change of scenery might be exactly what he needs to revitalise his career. Santo might not be such a bad idea after all.
Former Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez is always fairly near the top of the list of names the press talks about when a Premier League job becomes available. He led Liverpool to Champions League glory and Chelsea to Europa League glory, and also led Newcastle out of the Championship and back into the Premier League, bringing stability in the process. Even with Levy’s poor track record as Spurs’ chairman, working with him can’t be as bad as working with Mike Ashley at Newcastle. Benitez has the experience and the track record of success and would almost certainly accept the job.
We’d say that Benitez is the perfect pick, but the bookmakers don’t agree with us, and that usually means something. Perhaps the job will go to Inzaghi. Maybe Scott Parker is in the frame and will prove everybody wrong. Whoever ends up in the dugout needs to be given the club’s full support and plenty of time to get it right. Levy can’t keep spinning the reels. The next time he backs someone for the job, he has to stick with his decision. Spurs fans are depending on it.