Mauricio Pochettino’s career as a manager has been on the rise. After making his bow at Espanyol in the Spanish La Liga, he moved to the Premier League. Southampton was transformed under him. The Saints played brilliant football under the Argentine.
In his first full season at the club, he led the team to an eighth-placed finish. This was their highest league position since 2002/03, while also recording their highest points tally since the Premier League began in 1992. Significantly, his ability to set up his team in a way that got good results against top sides like Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
As is usually the case, promotion followed. It came in the form of a more successful side in the league, Tottenham. He moved to the London side in 2014 and has since made his mark by making the side a consistent member of the top four and even challenging for the league title. The club finished second on the table in the 2016/17 season, the highest since the 1962/63 campaign.
A top four finish in each of the last three campaigns has also meant that the club has competed in the Champions League. But that has not brought any appreciable success. The club’s outing in the competition this season has left much to be desired. Just a point on the board from three group games leaves them third in Group B, ahead of bottom-placed PSV Eindhoven.
A return leg against Barcelona and a visit by Italian giants Inter Milan still await. After losing to both sides in the first leg, it is unlikely the team will pick maximum points against them in the reverse fixtures. In the domestic scene, despite winning eight out of 11 league matches, the manager is not convinced they will do better this term and has voiced his concerns several times.
He has stated that he will like to win trophies with the club rather than ending the season empty-handed. That is understandable. For a manager that has been commended by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for his brand of football, sooner or later he has got to win something to back up the good football.
The foregoing suggests that with the right offer from a club that’s more ambitious than Tottenham, the Argentine may be tempted to leave. Despite recently renewing his contract with the club for five more years, an offer from a club like Real Madrid may persuade him to leave.
It could be recalled that the Spanish giants were rumoured to be interested in the 46-year-old as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement as Les Merengues struggled in domestic competitions last term. Julen Lopetegui was later chosen after the Frenchman departed, but the rumours have resurfaced following his sack.
Even if he doesn’t go to Madrid, the good job he has done in England so far puts him in good standing to join another top European side. For example, the likes of Roma in Italy and Valencia in Spain can do with his services. But he could also be the ideal replacement for José Mourinho at Manchester United when the club parts ways with the Portuguese.
It may be too early in the season to say if Pochettino will leave Tottenham soon, but his comments and body language as well as the demand for top class coaches in other clubs may act as a catalyst. He should know that being at a club where he will be given ample financial backing will help end his trophy drought as a manager.
Winning trophies in the modern game has become very much a question of how much you are willing to spend. Ask Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Man City and even Barcelona.
The board at Tottenham and is reluctant to splash the cash on additional top-notch recruitments. This accounts for why the club was the only one out of the 20 sides in the Premier League that failed to sign a new player in the summer. Moving to a side where he will be backed with the necessary funds will see him win trophies and cement his place as one of the top managers in the game today.