‘There Will Be a Legacy’

Talk of Pochettino to United doesn’t add up…

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino directs his team during a practice for the Major League Soccer All-Star game Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Commerce City, Colo. The MLS all-star squad will face the Tottenham Hotspur Wednesday night in Dick's Sporting Goods Park in the 20th annual mid-season classic for the league. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

So, according to Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, Sir Alex Ferguson thinks that Mauricio Pochettino is the finest manager this League has to offer. Ah, well. There goes any hope that the Argentine’s luminous talents might’ve gone unnoticed, then.

With several big clubs likely to be on the search for a new coach this summer, the last thing Spurs need is an endorsement from the most proficient trophy vacuum the modern game has ever known. Approvals don’t come much more gold stamped than one from S’ralex.

The surfacing of these comments, of course, comes at a time when certain sections of the press are frenziedly trying to whittle out a Pochettino to Manchester United plotline; a twist in the tale for anyone who thought Mourinho was a sure fire thing.

One such member of the press cohort this week, fired his pistol off a little early and suggested that the Argentine’s agent had gone so far as to meet with Ed Woodward, to iron out the particulars of a big money deal.

The bottom rather fell out of the report, however, when a whole raft of Spurs fans on Twitter raised their hands to politely remind the journalist that Pochettino doesn’t even have an agent. Research. That’s the key, I’m told.

Look, I can see the attraction. For many reasons, Pochettino appears to be the ideal candidate to perform the root canal surgery that United need right now. If the club are looking for someone who could dial the clock back to an age when success was symptomatic of the health of its youth academy, then, well, Pochettino has all the credentials. Unlike, say, Josè Mourinho, the former Southampton manager takes an active interest in all age groups of the club. Here he is talking in January:

“Sometimes we watch the under-eight, under-nine, under-10 teams here. Our passion is to watch football, and it’s a special moment when you detect the talent.”

While not all of Spurs’ exciting youngsters are Development Squad graduates, or even recruited by Pochettino himself. It’s impossible to overlook the rate at which the likes of Dele Alli and Eric Dier have advanced under his guidance.

The reports of United’s youth set-up’s demise, on the other hand, has been well documented. Once an inexhaustible vending machine of young talent, Manchester City are now emerging as the club more willing to inject some of their considerable fortune into their youth teams.

An investigation this year revealed that United’s academy costs £3.5m a year to run, compared to City who’re outlaying a whopping £1m every month. The angle in the pressroom is that Pochettino could be at vanguard of refocusing United’s priorities. Cultivating home-grown talent rather than throwing money at expensive imports.

The only snag in the plan is that Pochettino has reiterated his desire to create a dynasty at Spurs. Long an admirer of the achievements and staying power of Arsène Wenger at Arsenal— who, while often criticized for his entrenched principles, has managed to model a club in his own image over two decades— he’s often spoken of his hunger to forge something similar at Tottenham.

A manager’s life-cycle is as precarious as a drone ant in football these days, but Pochettino talks like someone who’s in for a long stretch. He’s spoken in detail about the new stadium and its importance to the club’s future. Pochettino’s recruitment policy, too, is based on the long-term rather than quick-fixes. It might be frustrating for those who are sustained by exotic, big money signings, but he’s planning years ahead, not transfer windows:

“It’s always my way to work not only for the present and for quick results but to create the future.”

In short, this doesn’t appear to be the mindset of anyone with ideas of hopping on the next train to Manchester anytime soon. Even if it means a job at a higher profile club with buckets of cash at his disposal.

Perhaps it’s just myopic, wishful thinking from a Spurs fan who’s seen too many likable managers hit the dusty trail in years gone by; I’m sure Southampton fans thought he might lay his roots on the south coast. But it doesn’t feel like his work at Spurs is done yet. He’s building something great.

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