Premier League: Pochettino or Tuchel to replace Conte

Mauricio Pochettino
Pochettino would jump at the chance to return to Spurs.

Antonio Conte won't be around for much longer and Alex Keble thinks Thomas Tuchel is the best option, although Levy won't be able to resist hiring Mauricio Pochettino...

  • Pochettino a romantic risk

  • Tuchel is a sensible option

  • Too early for De Zerbi

  • Frank not the right style

  • There is no road left for Antonio Conte. He has never really settled into the job as Tottenham Hotspur manager and after almost 18 months in the role has not taken the club forward in any meaningful way, as was proved by a pitiful performance in the Champions League against AC Milan on Tuesday night.

    Conte is a superb manager who deserves our sympathy following a year of tragedy and grief, and indeed there are extenuating circumstances for the pointlessness of his Spurs project.

    It would surely suit all parties to draw a line under the relationship; to declare the marriage a dreadful match and forget it ever happened.

    The timing of his departure will be crucial. Conte is currently the 17/20 favourite to be the next manager to leave his post, and yet with Spurs still (somehow) in fourth it would potentially be risky to pull the trigger now.

    Then again, with Conte seemingly always leaving one foot out the door, and increasingly blaming others for his team's failures, a change now could boost Tottenham over the line.

    Here's a look at the top candidates to replace him:

    Pochettino (11/8) homecoming almost irresistible

    Going back to an old flame is rarely a good idea. So much has changed in the last four years and it would be naïve to assume that Mauricio Pochettino would recapture that youthful spirit. Time has changed him and the Spurs squad.

    His first stint involved young upstarts punching above their weight, whereas this time Pochettino would be managing an older squad expected to challenge for honours - and expected to do so without Harry Kane.

    Kane's likely departure this summer would mean just three survivors from the 2019 Champions League final in Hugo Lloris (well past his best), Harry Winks (on loan at Sampdoria) and Heung-Min Son.

    But here's the thing: Pochettino loves Tottenham and Tottenham supporters love Pochettino, who seems locked out of the elite-club market and therefore would likely be up for another long project in North London. After years of stagnation and diabolical football under successive managers, Spurs fans deserve some warmth - and some fun.

    He is still a top manager, capable - with time - of creating a feel-good factor again to help progress Tottenham to the next level.

    However, he would need significant backing from Daniel Levy, the man he fell out with, to make wholesale changes to the squad. There is no Dele Alli, no Christian Eriksen, no flying full-backs, and probably no Kane.

    Nevertheless there are no other big clubs likely to want Pochettino at the moment, and Levy, under pressure, would welcome an easy win with supporters.

    Back Pochettino to be the next Spurs boss @


    Tuchel (5/1) is arguably the smartest choice

    It's important to move on from the defensive caution of Conte and Jose Mourinho, and if Spurs want to embrace truly modern football then Thomas Tuchel would be a very smart appointment.

    He was never given enough time to build on his Champions League victory at Chelsea, enduring an ownership change and then being sacked before he could use his latest recruits to finally play the football he likes to preach.

    Spurs fans can anticipate a more vertical style under Tuchel, who doesn't press as high or hard as Pochettino but is better at creating possession with purpose; playing directly through the lines in typical Germanic fashion. It is the polar opposite to what Tottenham have been used to, although, like Pochettino, a lot of new signings would be required.

    Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea boss.jpg

    Conte's football was supposed to be urgent yet he got bogged down in the same issues as his predecessors, so there's a chance Tuchel would repeat what happened at Stamford Bridge, when static, strangling possession took hold. But Tuchel was brilliant at Borussia Dortmund and has the detailed tactical plans needed to challenge the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City.

    Tuchel would get the best out of fast or direct players like Son, Christian Romero, and Yves Bissouma, yet he will need funds to strengthen in a lot of areas. Available on a free, some fresh eyes on the scene might be beneficial to the romance of a Pochettino return.

    De Zerbi (11/2) needs to be stress tested

    Thankfully for Tottenham supporters the three favourites are all relatively similar in tactical style, and would all implement joyful attacking football.

    Roberto de Zerbi has taken Graham Potter's foundations at Brighton and created something far more aggressive, leading to a surge up the table as the players now arrive in the final third in space, rather than via rhythmic passing that made chance creation difficult.

    But surely it is too soon to spend money prising De Zerbi from Brighton. He has only been in the role since September last year and despite changing a lot he is still, to a certain extent, enjoying the easy beginning that comes from arriving after a popular manager who left at his peak.

    We need to see De Zerbi in the Premier League for a lot longer before we can say he is ready for a 'Big Six job'.

    We do not know how he reacts to adversity, or how he performs over a whole season. Those tests need to be passed first.

    Frank (8/1) isn't the right style of coach

    Thomas Frank is doing an exceptional job at Brentford, but just because his overachievement at a likeable southern club draws parallels with Pochettino's Southampton does not mean he is right for Tottenham. For all the praise Brentford rightly get for their dynamism and dexterity, Frank's methods are bullish and direct in a way that does not suit managing at the highest level.

    Their 3-5-2 formation involves lots of long balls up to powerful strikers, who aim to cause enough problems for Brentford player to pick up the second ball and drive forward. There are some aesthetic passing moves in there, but the system is not purely attacking enough - nor territorial enough - for a club rightly aiming to challenge for titles.

    Enrique (9/1) has struggled outside Barca

    Spain looked strong in qualifying but performed poorly at tournaments, something achieved by numerous managers who didn't turn out to be very good. We can put Luis Enrique's latest job to one side, then, and look back at a club career that never really impressed outside of Barcelona.

    That Barca side were blessed with Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Lionel Messi, and although Enrique deserves enormous respect for his treble-winning success - achieved by making Barcelona more direct - he was unable to move Spain away from their tiki-taka to the same degree and had mixed success in previous roles with Espanyol and Celta Vigo. Spurs can do better.

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