Mauricio Pochettino has expressed his desire for an imminent return to Tottenham, so what does that say about the Argentine gaffer?
Pochettino won his first major team honour with PSG, after defeating Marseille with a 2–1 victory to win the Trophée des Champions, less than two weeks after being appointed. He then went on to pick up his second trophy, by beating Monaco 2-0 to win the Coupe de France, within six months of arriving in Paris.
Those two trophies, however, were not enough to satiate the unquenchable thirst of PSG’s top brass. Unable to win the Champions League or Ligue 1 crowns, Pochettino’s first season at PSG was seen by PSG’s hierarchy as nothing more than satisfactory.
Imagine if Pochettino won two trophies — regardless of which ones — at Spurs. Tottenham would immediately erect a statue of the Argentine to commemorate his historic achievement.
So what does Pochettino’s desire to return to Spurs say about him?
A burning desire to complete unfinished business at Hotspur Way
Pochettino has a lot of unfinished business in north London. Multiple times, he was within a whisker of winning silverware at Spurs, the closest of which in the infamous Champions League Final defeat to Liverpool in 2019.
He was on the verge of achieving what no other manager in the Premier League era has at Tottenham. The wheels then fell off. That, however, was more down to Daniel Levy’s defiance than any Pochettino shortcoming.
If he doesn’t win a trophy at Tottenham, it would be one of his longstanding, indelible regrets. Pochettino wants nothing more than to right that wrong.
Quality of life over glory
Returning to Tottenham would undoubtedly pose a great risk to Pochettino’s managerial career. Some would say he’s moving backward, even regressing if he returns to the club that sacked him less than two years ago. Most managers don’t return, aside from the likes of Jose who returned to Chelsea for a second stint, to the scene of the crime.
And leaving a club that guarantees silverware would also be seen by some as a peculiar decision. Especially when the club he’d return to hasn’t won anything in going-on 14 years. But Pochettino has won two major honours in six months with PSG, satiating his need to break the trophy-less duck.
Now that he’s conquered that impediment, he can happily return to London to embark on the biggest challenge of his career, winning a trophy in north London.
Returning to Spurs would show he is a risk taker. It would also prove that he prioritizes quality of life over glory. Pochettino is currently living in a Paris hotel while his family resides back in London. He is reportedly unhappy with both his current living situation and his relationship with PSG sporting director Leonardo.
That for Pochettino simply won’t suffice.
Love for Tottenham and London
Pochettino has a deep-seated love and admiration for both the English capital and Tottenham Hotspur. His family lives in London and so too do most of his closest companions. He poured everything into the Tottenham job and came within an iota of turning his — and Tottenham’s — dreams into reality.
The gaffer puts the things that matter most in life on a pedestal. A loyal and honourable character, Pochettino seeks a return to normality, a return to a life he was so thoroughly content with.
For Pochettino, north London is home. And he has a rapacious need and desire to return full time. Yes, it would represent a Goliath-size risk. But Pochettino won’t dwell too much on the what ifs.
Like always, he’ll put his best foot forward, hope for the support he needs to succeed and let the chips fall where they may.