Regarding the next Tottenham manager, there should be a few things on our minimum and desired qualifications checklist. On the minimum side would include success in developing and winning with young players, preferably on the cheap. With experience in Europe and the Premier League, a bonus on the desired side.
With these few minimal qualifications in mind, we should think about a darkhorse manager out in the market that checks all the proverbial boxes that Tottenham should consider, thanks to Chelsea.
On the short list of candidates, one name almost always on it since the sacking of Jose Mourinho, who is generally liked by fans and the board, has been Graham Potter. However, Spurs have failed to have a realistic chance at signing Potter, as he waited for what he deemed the ‘perfect’ job.
Well, the perfect job did come, and Potter left Brighton mid-season for Chelsea, and now the manager is without a club. Had Chelsea not tempted Potter away from Brighton, he would likely still be the Seagulls’ manager. Instead, Potter is now available, although a slightly stained version of the man in charge of Brighton’s ascension into the top half.
Potter develops players in the way the Tottenham board craves
Despite Chelsea’s lack of success, Potter fits the mold of what Daniel Levy and ENIC are looking for. At Brighton, Potter did not spend a lot of money. Still, he made the most of what he had developing players, whether coming from the lower divisions like Adam Webster and Neal Maupay – Championship – or Tariq Lamptey – Premier League 2 – or smaller foreign leagues, like Leandro Trossard – Jupiler Pro League in Belgium.
Maybe more impressive than Potter’s work integrating and developing budget transfer options has been his work, promoting from within and developing youth. So committed to playing youth it may have even contributed to the loss of his job at Chelsea.
In his brief stint at Chelsea, Potter gave four players under 21 their Premier League debut. Now Chelsea is a deep squad, but still, Potter gave these young players, including 18-year-old Lewis Hall and 19-year-old Omari Hutchinson, their debuts in the EPL. Chelsea lost both games, 1-0, to Newcastle and Manchester City, but Potter still gave his younger players a chance, and the team was in the game.
At Brighton, there is a laundry list of players he brought through that are still contributing to the team or were sold for profits, which should delight the ENIC board to no end. Players like Aaron Connolly, Alexis MacAllister, and Robert Sanchez are still regular contributors to who Potter gave their debut. Others, like Ben White, Maupay, and Marc Cucurella, made the club a lot of money.
Sure, Potter did not have a good experience at Chelsea, but that was mostly due to the impatience of their fans and board. He did win his Champions League group and was slowly building something, with “slowly” the word the Blues did not like.
While the idea of another manager preaching patience to Spurs fans does not sound ideal, if that manager has the patience and, more importantly, the approach to make that patience payoff, then maybe patience is key. If Tottenham wants someone who will play the youth and keep the team competitive while playing a brand of football that is fun to watch, then maybe Chelsea has done Spurs a huge favor or two in taking Pochettino off the market and putting Potter on it.