Tag Archives: Mauricio Pochettino

Real News: The FA Cup draw; Fake News: Arsenal transfers

Morning. Everyone else flued up?

The only real Arsenal news over the last 24 hours was the FA Cup draw.

It sums it up when the draw was more interesting than the Round 3 games. Although watching Liverpool get knocked out was enjoyable.

As the balls were pulled out, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United remained in the perspex bowl. 10 teams left. 8 teams left. 6 teams left. 4 teams left. The aforementioned plus Crystal Palace.

All that was important at this stage is we were drawn at home, regardless of who it was against.

A home tie against Manchester United is easier than an away game in South London.

Due to playing Cardiff City in the league on the Tuesday, Arsenal will play Man U on either Friday night or Saturday. It will be picked for TV.

It will be interesting to see what sort of side both teams put out, as they both play Premier League games on the following Tuesday. I imagine they will be very changed to the sides put out in the 3rd round.

Whilst the FA Cup is real news, there has been plenty of fake news in the last couple of days. Mainly to do with transfers.

It is that time of year when journalists earn their coin, fabricating (or exaggerating) transfer stories. Articles for clicks. Clicks for revenue.

In the last couple of days, Arsenal have had a £63m bid accepted by Real Madrid for James Rodriguez, agreed a £200,000 a week contract with Yannick Carrasco, approached Juventus for Medhi Benatia, been turned down by Pepe, and are set to lose out on Denis Suarez to West Ham as we can not afford the £20m fee.

What a load of rubbish.

So on one hand they are saying we are offering a club record transfer fee for a player who Bayern Munich have first option on (at half the price – they would just trigger the clause, then sell him to us. Easy profit), that we are offering a contract to a player far in access to what was on the table for Aaron Ramsey, but then there are reports we have no money. Want to loan a player from Barcelona, not sign him.

No one really knows what is going on. Not journalists, not fake ITKs who pretend to be journalists, not your mate Dave down the Dog and Duck.

Ultimately all these people are doing is trying to get attention (a bit like the idiot who moaned about Joe Willock after the teenager scored 2 goals for the club he loves in the FA Cup).

The last thing to talk about this morning is that lot up the road.

In an interesting interview, Mauricio Pochettino discusses parallels between his situation and Arsene Wenger’s.

Now ignore Pochettino’s complete lack of success compared to Wenger (or any manager to have won a trophy in English football), some interesting points were made.

Pochettino talks about an “unfair” expectation. That it is unrealistic to be expected to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool when you have huge financial constraints due a new stadium.

The most interesting part of the interview was when he talks about his future. He says he wants to be at Tottenham for 20 years, but then the doubt creeps in.

‘My only hope if I have the opportunity to talk with him is to ask if it was worth it. I don’t know what he would say. I would like to ask.”

He is wondering if it is worthwhile forgoing personal success for offers elsewhere where trophies are guaranteed (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG). Whether it is worthwhile trying to build something over a long period, only to be continually criticised for fans for perceived failure.

Pochettino is clearly talking about his own future.

Wenger turned down the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG whilst at Arsenal.

At all of these clubs he would have made more money, and had a better chance of winning trophies then he did at Arsenal. But he remained loyal. Kept faith in what he was doing. Backed himself to return the club to glory.

Would he say it was worth it? I do not know. But if Pochettino is already wondering if it is worthwhile staying, then he is also thinking about leaving…

A nice week with no football. A chance to recover after the hectic Christmas period. No boozing and get rid of this cold.



Emery the winner / Pochettino the failure

They are born less than 4 months apart. One on the 3rd of November 1971, the other on 2nd of March 1972. Both 46 years old. Yet one is considered as one of the brightest, best young managers in the game, whilst the other written off. Discarded. Considered a panic appointment in a messy recruitment process by Arsenal.

Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino. Two managers who are the same age, yet their story is so different. One is a proven winner with 8 major honours to his name. The other is yet to win his first trophy.

Since the announcement earlier this week that Emery was a poor appointment, I have found the hypocrisy and miss truths hilarious. Especially when you see the unjustified praise that surrounds Pochettino, and to a lesser Klopp.

Pochettino had a decent career at top level. 18 years that saw him go from Argentina to Spain, to France before returning to Spain, retiring in 2006 at 34. He played for the likes of Espanyol & PSG.

By the time Pochettino had retired, Emery was already into management. A journeyman playing career that saw him play throughout the Spanish league was ended by serious injury at 32. Despite no previous managerial experience, he was offered the vacant manager position at his final club, Lorca Deportiva, by the club president .

He immediately helped the club achieve promotion to the second division for the first time in its history. In his second season, the Murcians’ first ever in the second division, the team finished fifth with 69 points, only five points off promotion to the top flight. They suffered relegation in 2007, after the manager’s departure.

Emery then moved to Almería in division two, and again helped his squad overachieve: after guiding them to a first ever promotion in 2007, the Andalusian side finished eighth in La Liga in 2007–08.

By the time Pochettino had entered management in 2009 with Espanyol, Emery had already spent a year at Valencia, leading them to a sixth place-finish in spite of the club’s serious financial problems.

It is at this point, the line of Pochettino and Emery’s managerial career gets close.

Both stayed managing their clubs in Spain until 2012. During that time, Emery led Valencia to 3 third places finishes on the spin in La Liga. Continually rebuilding the side despite losing the likes of David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata.

During those same 3 seasons, Pochettino led Espanyol to league finishes of 11th, 3rd and 14th.

Emery left Valencia in June 2012 to take over a job at Spartak Moscow. He would be sacked in November, a month before Pochettino had quit Espanyol to take over the Southampton job.

Emery returned to Spanish football on 14 January 2013. 4 days later, Pochettino was announced as the new first-team manager of Premier League club Southampton.

It was at this point both managers careers became drastically different, with Emery going on to great success at Sevilla, whilst Pochettino won nothing at Southampton, left for Spurs where he has still won nothing.

It was 3 Europa League wins on the spin that led Emery to join PSG on a two-year-deal in 2016.

In 2 clubs with the French side, he led them to 5 domestic honours out of a possible 6. The only trophy that got away was in his first season when an excellent Monaco side won the league with 95 points – just 1 off the Ligue 1 record.

He left PSG after struggles in the Champions League – although it should be noted he lost to Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Emery story is one of a manager who took his first job at just 32, took 2 clubs to promotion and 1 side to 3rd in La Liga. A story of 3 European trophies and domestic domination in France – including the domestic treble.

Meanwhile, the Pochettino story contains very little real success. Finishing above a poor Arsenal team and “putting the pressure on” Chelsea for one season the highlights of what is now nearly a decade in management.

Just writing this blog highlights the gulf of class between the two. Yet the press are reporting the stories the other way round.

Following the English media, you would think Arsenal had just employed a man who had failed to win a trophy in 10 years, whilst the Spurs manager was one who had a decade of success and 15 years of experience.

I do understand some of the criticisms of Emery.

Not winning the league in France with PSG is a failure. But then Monaco got 95 points. Maybe we should actually be praising Monaco and Leonardo Jardim (who I am sure Arsenal would have approached) rather than using that season as a stick to bash Emery?

Emery’s lack of Champions League success with PSG has also been held against him.

In two years in Paris, he was knocked out at the last 16 stage both times. Against Real Madrid and Barcelona. It is not exactly failure to go out against those sides.

He came in for heavy criticism for the defeat to Barcelona, and rightly so. Leading 4-0 after the first leg, Barcelona beat PSG 6-1 at the Nou Camp to progress.

But I feel the Champions League criticisms are unfair.

Pep Guardiola has had equally as much to spend at Manchester City. In his two years in England, he is yet to win the Champions League.

Knocked out in the last 16 last year to Monaco, and Liverpool in the Quarter Finals this year. I do not see too many criticising Guardiola for his Champions League failures.

In fact, Guardiola has not led a team to Champions League success since 2011 with Barcelona – he failed to lift the trophy with Bayern Munich.

I do not see too many labelling Guardiola as a poor manager based on 7 years of Champions League failure with top clubs. Yet people are labelling Emery the same after his experience with PSG.

Back to Pochettino, we once more see his paths cross with Emery.

In his first two years at Spurs, he managed Spurs in the Europa League. Spurs were knocked out at the last 32 and last 16 stages.

The winners both of those years? Sevilla. Lead by Unai Emery.

One huge criticism of Unai Emery is his “lack of English”. But the language barrier, alongside his age, is probably the only thing he has in common with Pochettino.

Pochetinno spent year and a half hiding behind a translator at Southampton.

He made a decision to speak English only in private at St Mary’s. Emery is similar at the moment.

From watching UEFA interviews, he fully understands English, but chooses to answer in Spanish. This is due to him wanting to get his message across the press, without manipulation, ensuring nothing is lost in translation.

After a few months of living in England, and some confidence in himself to speak English in public, everything will be fine. English will be the language of the training ground.

Based on their careers so far, Emery has outperformed Pochettino. It would not be a big shock to see Emery win a trophy for Arsenal before Pochettino wins one for Spurs. He is the successful manager of the two, the winner. Even if the media will have you believe otherwise.


A Tale of Two Transfer Philosophies

132“It’s very difficult to buy because, if you ask a player of the medium level, they might ask for £55 million, It’s very difficult to enter the market with these prices and in this condition.”

“No. I’m not comfortable. I don’t like to pay a lot of money. If a player deserves it, then it’s right. But for a medium player, it’s right to pay the right price, not £20 or £30 million over. That’s not right. We must be patient and wait. We need to sign some players.”

Not the words of Arsene Wenger, but the words of new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte in this mornings Telegraph.

“I’ve tried my best, but I don’t think in the short term…You can’t just go ‘We have money’, and throw it away and take any players you want. It is always about the decision, you can sign a lot of rubbish with money or you can make really good decisions.”

“I cannot say, ‘It is only money going somewhere else’. We have money, but we are not in Disneyland and can say, ‘Come on, take what you want’. We have a budget, we work with it. This is for the long-term development of the club.”

Not the words or Arsene Wenger, but the words of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp back in January.

“I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough. In the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious. With the cheques that everybody signs, it’s quite scary. But I believe we know what we have to do.”

That one was Arsene Wenger back in July.


This summer there seems to have been a clear line in the sand when it comes to the transfer policies of top clubs.

On one side, you have the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United. Between them they have spent over £300m on players. They are paying what selling clubs are asking for. Turning up with their suitcase full of cash and walking away with the player they need. Even if they are paying over the odds. Between them they have spent more than a third of the Premier League’s total outlay on player.

You then have the other side of the fence, where the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool & Spurs sit. Between those 4 clubs, they have not yet breached a combined spend of £200m. They are refusing to be held to ransom by European clubs who want a share of the Premier League TV money.

So why do England’s top 6 clubs have two very differing transfer policies? The answer is management.

At Manchester City and Manchester United, we have 2 short term managers. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola rarely spend more than a few years at a club.

Manchester United is Mourinho;s 4th job since leaving Chelsea in 2007. Guardiola has been well quoted in the past that he never really wants to stay more then 3 years at clubs.

Both come into clubs with short term plans.

Spend big, win big, move on.

It has proved successful, but it has also proved expensive.

For both, they have been lucky that they have joined clubs where nothing needs to be built around them. The likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid & Chelsea are designed for short term managers, come in, win, leave.

It is what has given them both the philosophy of spending big, spending quick. I would be surprised if any manager in world football has outspend Guardiola or Morunhio in the last 6 years.

It is the way they both work.

Than you have the likes of Wenger & Klopp. Both have built a legacy at the clubs they have spent the majority of their time at. Arsenal & Borussia Dortmund. They spent sensibly, and built the clubs up ensuring that they were not only successful during their era, but giving them the best chance of being successful in the future.

Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino seem to of be of a similar ilk. Even though both have already been through a few clubs, they now seem to want to build a legacy at both Chelsea and Tottenham respectively. They are in it for the long term.

And that is the line in the sand. If you are a short term manager like Guardiola & Mourinho, you are spending big, on short term solutions, with a short term goal of winning the Premier League and Champions League quickly, before leaving.

If you are in it for the long term, you always have one eye on the future.

What Conte has said about transfers is completely correct.

Napoli are demanding £55m for Kalidou Koulibaly. A player whom a year ago no one had heard of. John Stones went to Manchester City for £47.5m. A crazy amount for a player dropped by his club side last season, and did not play a minute at the recent European Championships.

You feel had Mourinho still had have been at Chelsea, Stones would be at the club, and probably Koulibaly too. Mourinho pays the money, no matter the price.The transfer window is a crazy place at the moment. European sides are basically naming their price, in the hope a club pays. It all depends how desperate, how short termist, the club is. Manchester City and Manchester United have thus far paid the price. Other clubs have basically turned round and said “don’t take the piss”.

Of course, this does not justify Arsenal’s lack of spending. Conte talks about the medium player who he values at under £30m. There have been plenty of said players move this summer who would have improved us. Shkodran Mustafi is one.

Just because we do not, and correctly should not, pay £55m on someone like Koulibaly, it does not mean we should not be paying for players who are worth what the asking price is (or a little bit more). And if someone like Antoine Griezmann is gettable at £90m, we should go and get him.

In the last year, Arsenal fans have said that we should have gone and the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte. Their philosophy fits in with Arsene Wenger’s. They would have been perfect for a club like ours. They are in it for the long haul.