Quite simply, something had to give.
The roller coaster ride that is Tottenham Hotspur’s 2020/21 campaign took yet another sudden turn. Days away from a Carabao Cup Final vs. rival Manchester City, and Spurs currently have a vacancy at manager. Yes, it’s true: much to the delight of Spurs nation, Jose Mourinho has been sacked.
As the season wound down, it became flagrantly evident that Mourinho was no longer the right man for the job. For the first time in his managerial career, he will fail to win silverware for his club as bench boss. Cue the “not even Mourinho could figure out Tottenham’s inability to win” jokes for eternity.
Daniel Levy & co. are hardly to blame for this decision, however. The team’s stretch of play the past few weeks was downright atrocious. They lacked confidence, cohesion, conviction, and composure; worst of all, as was clear this past Friday against Everton, the players began turning on each other. When Mourinho-led teams implode, it truly is a marvel to behold.
So, what now? Spurs are unlikely to crack the top four. The Lilywhites need a new leader to finish out the 2020/21 campaign. Below are three candidates whose names have been circulating the rumor columns, sports bookies, and TV studios as replacements:
Julian Nagelsmann: Der wunderkind. The prospect of the precocious Nagelsmann succeeding Mourinho is a salivating dream for Spurs nation. Yet it appears to be a real possibility; according to numerous sports bookies, the 33-year-old manager of upstart RB Leipzig is in pole position for the job. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Nagelsmann, one of the most coveted young managers in the world, would replace Hansi Flick at Bayern Munich.
However, that succession plan is very much in jeopardy for the German giant. Nagelsmann is by far the best long-term option and Daniel Levy should do everything in his power to sign him. It’ll be interesting to see if the ESL controversy impacts Nagelsmann’s decision at all.
Julian Nagelsmann is Tottenham's leading candidate to replace Jose Mourinho, according to the Daily Mail 👨💼 pic.twitter.com/DOvk2m19BL— Goal (@goal) April 20, 2021
Ledley King: The name might not sound familiar to many new fans, but King is a bonafide Spurs legend. The imperious English center-back captained the squad for seven years, retiring in 2012 having spent his entire professional career with the club. Currently, and most importantly, he is already on Spurs’ coaching staff as assistant manager.
The problem? He has never previously occupied the head manager’s chair and is quite a recent addition to the European coaching carousal. If the Nagelsmann plans fall through, perhaps King can serve on an interim basis. With only a few games remaining on the schedule, a brief stint as head honcho could prove pivotal down the road for King’s managerial career.
Scott Parker: Another former Spurs player, albeit for a much briefer period of time. The former midfielder has 50 Spurs caps to his name, and has recently served as manager of London-based rival Fulham.
The 40-year-old is another solid long-term play; he successfully guided the Cottagers back to the Premier League last season, and his side have proved to be a pesky bunch this year despite their current relegation predicament. Having said that, Parker does not have the same clout attached to his name as other would-be replacements.