In the last 5 years, the path from White Hart Lane to the Bernabeu is well trodden. First Luka Modric swapped North London for the Spanish capital, and then the world most expensive player gave into the overtures of Florentino Perez as Gareth Bale broke out his pigeon Spanish to the assembled press to say how chuffed he was to play for Los Blancos.
Florentino Perez’s next target though isn’t as easy a capture. With rumoured competition from Chelsea and Manchester United for his signature, a new contract in the pipeline with Champions League football on the horizon. This isn’t a rumour about Harry Kane, this is about the rise of Pochettino, the young Argentine manager who has the world at his feet.
La Gazzete Dello Sport reported in the last week that Florentino Perez is already thinking about axing the enigmatic Zizou as Real Madrid coach after Real’s defeat to Atletico in the Madrid derby but would Pochettino swap Tottenham for Los Blancos?
It doesn’t come as a big surprise that Pochettino’s stock has risen so much. His Tottenham side are genuine title contenders for the first time in the Premier League era. Throw into the mix a very strong Europa League showing and you can’t blame any Tottenham fan for being excited about this season and what the future holds. This is a team being built around sound footballing principles both on and off the field with a view of challenging the hegemony of London’s footballing powerhouses in Chelsea and Tottenham’s most bitter of rivals, Arsenal.
Would Pochettino prove to be successful in Spain and particular Madid however? Pochettino certainly has the knowledge of La Liga after turning out over 250 times for Espanyol as a player (winning 2 Copa Del Rey’s in the process) and spending 3 years as the head coach of the side from Catalonia, Pochettino knows Spain, but Real Madrid represents a very different beast in Spanish football. The expectation of Madrid is to win, win beautifully and win consistently – often with a squad that is frightfully unbalanced between attack and defence. It hardly seems a suitable place for Pochettino to implement his philosophy of high pressing, strong team work ethic and promoting youth from within. Can you imagine an aging Cristiano Ronaldo working so selflessly for the team? And when it comes to youth, I struggle to think of the last player to come through the Castilla and become a constant in a Real Madrid side. A square peg and round hole truly come to mind when you try to fit Pochettino into Madrid.
To focus solely on the allure of one of the biggest teams in the world is also a disservice to Tottenham. The job that Pochettino is doing at Tottenham is very, very good. In a season where you really need about 6 manager of the season awards, Pochettino is right up there. Last season, Tottenham hardly set the world alight, but this season is testament to allowing a coach time and some say over transfers in shaping a squad that is completely his. The time spent on the training ground over the last 18 months is proof that Pochettino is a fantastic coach, and with a new stadium on the horizon, Tottenham with Pochettino are laying down the foundations for longevity as well as success. It is an exciting time for Tottenham and surely with such a strong future, an exciting time for Pochettino at the helm.
It comes as no surprise that Pochettino is starting to turn heads of clubs at the top table of European football. Still only 44 years old, he has a long and potentially very successful career ahead of him but would he swap North London for Madrid next season? I highly doubt it.
Rich, The Sweeper Football Blog