In the midst of discussions surrounding the European Super League, Jose Mourinho’s sacking from Tottenham Hotspur came at a surprising time. The Portuguese manager was set to take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final that very week, a game in which Tottenham ultimately lost under the management of Mourinho’s temp – Ryan Mason. Mourinho has moved on in the blink of an eye to AS Roma, while Spurs are still stuck on aspirations of finding their next dream manager, when no dream manager appears to be available. With that, we take a look at some of the potential candidates, what they might offer Spurs both professionally and tactically, and make a final verdict of who should come in to replace Jose before things get very, very desperate.
graham potterEmbed from Getty Images
Emerging as the favourite choice among the wider footballing community, Graham Potter would have been well down the list of potential replacements when Daniel Levy first sacked Mourinho. But with Erik Ten Hag, Julian Nagelsmann and Jesse Marsch out of the picture, having just signed for new clubs or put pen to paper on new contracts, Potter is looking like an increasingly likely candidate. The Brighton & Hove Albion manager plays an attractive brand of football, is flexible in his systems and style of play to adapt, and has a proven track record of making smart tactical tweaks to get the best out of individual players. Further, conceding just 39 goals in 34 games this season, Brighton have a fantastic defensive record. Potter himself, is a fantastic defensive coach, who focuses on quick defensive transitions and a team shape that naturally allows for the team to quickly win back the ball after losing it. He also plays an attractive, possession-based style of football, which would certainly intrigue Tottenham fans.
The major downside to Potter is that it would be his first big club. While other managers have made bigger leaps, the step from 14th place Brighton to 6th place Tottenham might be too much of a stretch for Daniel Levy to feel confident going in for the former Ostersunds and Swansea manager. He’s also only had two seasons in the top flight in England, and during that time has only accumulated a win percentage of 25%. While it’s clear to everyone watching Brighton that they should probably be higher than their current league position, that kind of record is not exactly the most encouraging.
MAURIZIO SARRIEmbed from Getty Images
The links between Maurizio Sarri and Tottenham seem a bit bizarre. It would be the kind of appointment where you’d just expect it to fail, before it even happened. But that’s probably very unfair. Sarri only spent one season in England with Chelsea, but had an incredibly successful time despite facing criticism from the media week in, week out. He led the Blues to a third place finish, the final of the EFL Cup, and won the UEFA Europa League, securing a win percentage of 63%. In fact in all three of his previous managerial stints – Napoli, Chelsea and Juventus, he won over 60% of his matches and left the club only to be succeeded by managers who fared significantly worse. Along the way, he played some extremely attractive football at all three clubs, with a possession-based 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 system. Part of Sarri’s decision to leave Chelsea at the time was to be around his elderly parents in Italy, and it’s unclear whether or not that would stop him from taking a job in England once again. The fact of the matter is also that Sarri is simply too good for Tottenham, even if he’ll likely never get a job of the quality of Chelsea or Juventus again. His reputation’s been slightly tarnished from being let go by two clubs after just a single season with each, despite winning trophies and performing very well with both teams. Maurizio Sarri is easily the best candidate on this list, but also likely the hardest for Daniel Levy to get.
SCOTT PARKEREmbed from Getty Images
Scott Parker is another name on the list of potential candidates, but another name that hasn’t truly established themselves in top-level management yet. The former Tottenham pro only took over the Fulham job back in 2019, and although earning his team promotion to the top flight was impressive, the Cottagers now appear as though they’re going straight back down to the Championship. Parker’s win rate of 36% is better than Potter’s, but also incorporates a 46-game run in the Championship compared to Potter’s two seasons in the top flight. While Parker would also likely provide a solid base in which the team were able to build solid defensive stability to go on and attack, he doesn’t have as proven of a track record as a tactical genius. The Fulham man does however like to play 4-2-3-1, just as Tottenham’s two predecessors did and has a good reputation with the club, having spent two years there as a player. He wouldn’t be an obvious choice, but should be in consideration.
eddie howeEmbed from Getty Images
Eddie Howe’s been out of management for the entirety of the 2020-21 season, eagerly waiting for the right job to come along. For a man that was once linked with the likes of Arsenal and Everton, it’s a bit surprising that no one’s gone in for the young English manager. Now that Tottenham are in need of a fresh face, Eddie Howe is a natural link. But Daniel Levy’s interest in the former Bournemouth man doesn’t appear to be all that high.
Every positive attribute about Howe and his potential for the job can be easily twisted into a drawback, which isn’t encouraging for his chances. He’s young, but also inexperienced at the very, very top level. His win rate (42%) across his career is solid, but comes from several spells in the lower leagues. His formation of choice (4-3-3) would suit a return to possession and playing out from the back well, but so would every other manager listed and their systems of choice. Quite simply, the players are good enough to fit into any system, whether it be a Graham Potter styled 3-4-2-1 or a Scott Parker 4-2-3-1. But unlike Potter’s Brighton so far, Howe and Bournemouth ultimately fell off a cliff into the Championship. Having taken a year off from management, this seems like a bit of a stretch now to go from relegated Bournemouth to Champions League ambitious Tottenham.
oliver glasnerEmbed from Getty Images
The final name that we present is a name that has not been circulated around much in the talk about Tottenham’s next manager. But it really should be. Out of all the names on this list, Oliver Glasner is probably the one we would take over anyone else available. Glasner pulled off remarkable feats with LASK Linz in Austria, winning the second division in 2016-17 and then taking them to back to back 4th and 2nd place finishes. He then earned himself a move to Wolfsburg, and this season looks set to lead the team to their highest Bundesliga finish in years. Glasner plays an intense, heavy-metal style of football, with loads of aggression, pace, power and defensive stability. All of these attributes really are in a lot of ways, what has been missing for Tottenham in recent years. They have all of the players to play in this manner, but for whatever reason Jose Mourinho was not consistently able to inspire his team to play in Glasner’s high-flying way.
A proponent of the 4-2-3-1, but with greater flexibility to adapt to different systems than Mourinho, Glasner would easily be able to get Tottenham back into the UEFA Champions League race. Other than Sarri, he’ll be the only man on this list to get a team from a top European league into the UEFA Champions League, assuming Wolfsburg finish in this season’s top four. While he’s a great defensive coach and has inspired his team to one of the best defensive records in the league this season, he’s also gotten Wolfsburg to play some of their most exciting attacking football in over a decade. Finally, as if Daniel Levy didn’t already have a reason to look at him, it appears as though he will be leaving Wolfsburg this summer, with a host of clubs interested in securing his signature. Tottenham should seriously take a greater look at the Austrian, and consider making him their next coach.
While our personal pick would be Oliver Glasner, he hasn’t been in the discussions at all and it seems too far fetched for Daniel Levy to be that…well…sensible. Brendan Rodgers would be another phenomenal candidate, but it would be very puzzling if he were to leave Leicester for Tottenham, having finished above Spurs in both of the previous two seasons. Maurizio Sarri would be the best candidate out of the available options, but he’s unlikely to move back to England. Levy could just as well stick with Ryan Mason and see how it goes, but he might be wise to secure someone with a bit more experience. As a result, we believe Graham Potter should be the man for the job. Potter’s experience in the top-flight should help, and the British manager has genuinely provided innovative tactics to a Brighton & Hove Albion team that appear to be greater than the sum of their parts. He’d be a natural fit to get the best out of the players, even if other managers have more experience winning trophies and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen, but we would personally love to see Graham Potter get the job at Spurs.
So there it is! Breaking down all the candidates to replace Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur. Who would you like to see take on the job? Comment below to share your thoughts, or share on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
You might also enjoy…
-> Graham Potter – Brighton & Hove Albion – Tactical Analysis
-> Maurizio Sarri – Juventus – Tactical Analysis
-> Scott Parker – Fulham – Tactical Analysis (2020-21)
-> Oliver Glasner – VFL Wolfsburg – Tactical Analysis