Confirmation of José Mourinho’s return to the Premier League, this time as the successor to Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, has divided opinion. The Portuguese remains among the world’s leading managers, but Pochettino had deservedly become a popular figure at Spurs; in his little over five years, he transformed them from an underachieving club to, most recently, Champions League finalists.
He had also done so having nurtured multiple promising young players – one of those, Harry Kane, has become one of the world’s leading strikers and captained England at the past World Cup – encouraged an entertaining brand of football and, by modern standards and particularly in comparison to their rivals, did so while working within a modest budget. Perhaps more than anything, Pochettino will be remembered for establishing Spurs as a consistently superior team to their greatest rivals, Arsenal.
In Mourinho, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has appointed a manager he first approached in 2007, when seeking a successor to Martin Jol. It may even have been his admiration for Mourinho that contributed to his recruitment of André Villas-Boas, once the Portuguese’s protégé, after Harry Redknapp’s departure in 2012. Regardless, there is little question that, even if his most recent roles at Manchester United and Chelsea did not conclude as he would have hoped, he remains among the world’s most iconic managers.