Mauricio Pochettino sacked: Who next for Tottenham?
Jose Mourinho is the bookmakers' favourite to replace Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham manager
Last Updated: 20/11/19 9:08am
Following Mauricio Pochettino's sacking as Tottenham manager, Sky Sports' Ben Grounds assesses who could become the Argentine's successor.
"We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters."
- Pochettino sacked by Tottenham
- Carragher: Poch sacking out of order
- The 10 games that defined Poch's tenure
The end of Tottenham's 210-word statement on Tuesday night signalled that the season starts now. Chairman Daniel Levy acknowledges his club is in need of a re-boot.
In the end, it was the spiralling decline in results that forced his hand. One win in seven Premier League matches over the past two months has seen the side slip to 14th in the table, 11 points adrift of fourth.
Levy could not allow a side that had reached the Champions League final in May to miss out on being a fixture in the competition next season. Falling short of fourth would mean having to win the competition to qualify next term.
The end of Pochettino's five-and-a-half-year reign at Spurs was accelerated by growing friction between himself and the board over the club's transfer policy. By the end, his position had become untenable. So, what next?
An iconic manager for the iconic new stadium?
Pochettino turned Tottenham into Champions League regulars on an inferior transfer budget and wage bill to those competing alongside them. But in starting a search for a new head coach for the first time since 2014, the managerial landscape and market in which Spurs can seek to do business is very different.
Jose Mourinho has been installed as the bookmakers' favourite to replace Pochettino, and on one level, the move would make a lot of sense.
The Portuguese has a proven track record for delivering trophies both domestically and in multiple European countries. Compared to the other candidates, his Premier League experience is unrivalled.
But is he a natural fit at Tottenham? Mourinho spent £350m across two seasons at Manchester United in his attempts to return the club to its former glories, while Spurs have sought to maintain the status quo with an outlay of just over £100m in the last two years.
Levy's frugal business plan based around refinancing the club's stadium loans would certainly make Mourinho's presence box office.
Would Ancelotti answer the call?
Among the favourites to succeed him is Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti. The 60-year-old has enjoyed an illustrious managerial career, and despite his connection to Chelsea, the Italian would bring a wealth of experience to the job.
His pedigree is undisputed, with titles won in Italy, Germany and France in addition to three Champions League successes. But it is his Premier League title win with Chelsea in 2010 would also make him a popular choice as someone who has a track record of winning in this country.
Ancelotti's contract expires in 2021, and with the season in full swing, Levy may be frustrated in his attempts to bring him in before next summer at the earliest.
Would Rodgers fit the mould?
Pochettino's successor will need to be someone who is suited to working closely with a hands-on chairman. Pochettino had enjoyed a very healthy relationship with Levy, built over regular meetings.
But those relations reportedly became strained, forcing Levy to swallow the substantial pay-off pill in dismissing Pochettino in order to start rebuilding again.
Brendan Rodgers is another viable option for Levy, who will no doubt have been impressed by how the Northern Irishman has taken Leicester up to second in the table having arrived from Celtic in February.
Rodgers' Foxes contract runs until June 2022, but having sold Harry Maguire to Manchester United for £80m during the summer, the 46-year-old has brought his winning mentality from the Scottish champions and improved those who have remained at the King Power Stadium.
Departing so soon into his reign with Leicester in a strong position to qualify for next season's Champions League would be a major blow, but might Rodgers be determined to test himself at one of the traditional top clubs after his departure from Liverpool in 2015?
Will Tottenham wait on Southgate?
After confirming England's place as a top-seeded nation at next summer's Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate admitted this week there are no guarantees he will be in charge at the World Cup in Qatar.
"That will depend very much on how we get on next summer," said Southgate.
"When you have a week like you've had, you sense that people can fall out of love with you and if there isn't a warmth for you to continue, then that can start to affect the team.
"So, I'm realistic about how quickly those tides can turn, but we've always planned short, mid and long-term over the last eight years."
Southgate will be fully focused on securing a first major trophy for his country since 1966, but a time will come when more regular contact with top-class players battling for major honours will interest him.
With several members of the England squad playing for Spurs, it would be a logical destination - but one that may occur further down the line.
Will Benitez make his Premier League return?
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Rafa Benitez remains focused on making a success of his time in China, and his £12m-a-year contract (after tax) at Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang means the Spaniard wouldn't come cheap.
But Benitez has made no secret of his "unfinished business" in the Premier League. While his family remain based in the North West, the options available to the 59-year-old appear limited beyond Spurs.
As Jurgen Klopp builds a legacy at his former club Liverpool, those ties have always made taking over at Everton an awkward prospect, while his struggles with the Newcastle hierarchy mean he is unlikely to entertain returning to a mid-table outfit with the potential perils of false promises.
West Ham have previously expressed their interest - and that link has resurfaced during Manuel Pellegrini's recent struggles.
Having been parachuted in by Chelsea during the 2012/13 season, Benitez guided the side to a third-place finish in the Premier League in addition to winning the Europa League. Could another marriage of convenience be on the cards?
Nagelsmann a man in demand
Appointing Mourinho would certainly divide opinion among Tottenham fans, with many wanting a return to a brand of football that became the hallmark of Pochettino side during its zenith. High-pressing, swash-buckling football with a young, impressionable manager at the helm.
Julian Nagelsmann is someone who has always viewed building a strong connection with his players as an integral part of achieving results, in part due to the age at which he took to management.
Injury brought his playing career to an early end, and at 28, he became the youngest manager in Bundesliga history - helping Hoffenheim escape relegation.
Nagelsmann underlined his credentials as one of Europe's most enterprising young managers when he followed up his first campaign by guiding his side to the Champions League for the first time the following season, while Hoffenheim finished third in his final term before he took up the reins at RB Leipzig.
There's a lot to like about the 32-year-old, with Leipzig sitting second place behind Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
But Sky Sports News understands any potential suitors for the German are likely to face a struggle to release him from his present deal with Leipzig.
Where it went wrong for Pochettino in numbers
- Prior to the 2019-20 campaign, Mauricio Pochettino boasted the best points-per-game ratio of any Tottenham manager in Premier League history. However, after a poor start to the current campaign, the Argentine (1.89) has dropped to second behind his predecessor Tim Sherwood (1.91).
- Pochettino has taken charge of more Premier League games than any other Spurs manager in Premier League history (202), although in no other season under Pochettino have the Lilywhites been lower in the table at this stage of the season (Nov 19th) than they currently are in 2019-20 (14th).
- During Pochettino's tenure with Spurs, only Arsenal (51) have picked up fewer points against fellow 'big-six' teams than the Lilywhites (60). Since August 2014, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games against fellow 'big-six' sides than any other team in this period (23).
- 2019 has not been a stellar year for Tottenham Hotspur - no Premier League side has lost more games in all competitions than Pochettino's side (18). Spurs last lost more games in a calendar year back in 2008, when they suffered 19 defeats under spells by Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp. Their record for most competitive defeats in a calendar year is 23 (1994 & 1997).
Tottenham travel to face West Ham at the London Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday; Kick-off at 12.30pm. Follow our live blog for updates from 11.30am on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.
It remains unclear who will be in charge of Spurs and whether any replacement will be in place by then.