|Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is hot favourite to take over at Chelsea next season. AFP Photo|
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Mauricio Pochettino has a point to prove in the Premier League, but there’s certainly unfinished business.
The Argentinian is red hot favourite to become the next Chelsea manager, a job I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole if I’m brutally honest, but if you believe those in the know, he will be at the helm at Stamford Bridge come the start of next season.
During his six years as Tottenham boss, Pochettino led Spurs to third place in the Premier League, their highest since 1990, and in 2019 took them to the final of the Champions League for the first time in their history.
The next season didn’t go too well for Tottenham, and Pochettino was sacked in November. You could argue he wasn’t financially backed by the Spurs board, which is not unusual.
In 2021 he went to Paris Saint-Germain, leading the French champions to the Champions League semis in his first season.
During his spell he also won the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 title, so I wouldn’t exactly call him a failure in Paris. That said, he was sacked last summer and hasn’t worked since.
Pochettino is a manager who plays a very high-pressing, attacking style of football, and while I do rate him highly, I wonder if Chelsea will be the right fit.
Since American businessman Todd Boehly bought the west London club in 2022, the team have gone from bad to worse.
They currently sit 11th in the Premier League and look a shadow of their former selves, despite Boehly spending a bucket full of money on new players.
Pochettino will no doubt improve Chelsea, I honestly think anyone would be an improvement on interim manager Frank Lampard, but I worry just how long Boehly will give the Argentinian.
Football is a fickle business, and the days of managers being given two, three or even four seasons, to mould and shape a squad how they see fit, are long gone.
In fact take a look at those in charge of Premier League clubs right now and only Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have spent more than five years with the same team. There are only five managers in the whole league who have been in charge of their respective clubs for two years or more.
As for Chelsea, they change their managers almost as much as most people change their underpants and I hope that Pochettino has been given some sort of reassurance by the owners that his appointment is well and truly for the long term.
It is also worth noting that this week, Julian Nagelsmann's agent has claimed the former Bayern Munich manager was Chelsea's No 1 choice to take over at Stamford Bridge this summer, ahead of the Pochettino, which doesn’t bode well.
We’ll just have to wait and see if Pochettino is given the time to get things right, but if Boehly wants to see the glory days return to the bridge, he’s got to be very, very patient. VNS