HIGHLY-RATED Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino last night emerged as the man most likely to become the ninth Tottenham boss during chairman Daniel Levy’s 13-year reign at White Hart Lane, after Tim Sherwood was sacked.
The outspoken 45-year-old was relieved of his duties following an hour-long meeting with Levy yesterday, bringing to an end five tempestuous months in charge in which he failed to attain Champions League qualification with the club finishing 10 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.
Pochettino’s future at Southampton is also shrouded in uncertainty.
The 42-year-old has one year left to run on his current deal at St Mary’s and held talks with Southampton on Monday to establish the board’s future ambition following the completion of a “five-year project” that has seen the club rise from League One to the top flight, while key players such as Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana look set to leave.
And Levy confirmed yesterday the process of recruiting Sherwood’s replacement had begun.
“Now the season is over, we shall embark on the process of finding a new head coach,” he said.
“We have a talented squad and exciting young players coming through. We need to build on this season, develop our potential and inspire the kind of performances that we associate with our great club.
“On behalf of the club I should like to state our thanks for all of his [Sherwood’s] efforts during his years with us. We wish him well in his managerial career.”
Sherwood spent four seasons as a player with Tottenham, then returned to the club in 2008 as assistant first team coach before moving away from the dugout to take on roles as technical co-ordinator and head of football development.
He was offered an 18-month contract to replace Andre Villas-Boas as manager in December and hit the ground running with five wins in his first six league games.
But cup exits to bitter rivals West Ham and Arsenal, a succession of humiliating league defeats to Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as public chastisement of his players and criticism of the club’s work in last summer’s transfer window led Levy to exercise a clause in Sherwood contract allowing it to be terminated early.
“It is obviously a massive wrench to leave a club of the stature of Tottenham Hotspur,” said Sherwood. “A club very close to my heart.”
Ajax boss Frank De Boer and the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez, now at Napoli, are also among the leading candidates to take the reins at White Hart Lane.
FROM BABYSITTING TO SUPPLY TEACHING, TIM TOLD IT’S GOODBYE CHARLIE
The league position has to meet the club’s expectations otherwise it’s ‘Goodbye Charlie’
SHERWOOD KNEW FATE IN JANUARY
He’s blatantly French but to be fair, I only said to him recently that I had never heard him speak French
ON ALGERIA’S NABIL BENTALEB
I’m a manager, not a babysitter
DEFENDING HIS CRITICISM OF PLAYERS
I’m not going to forget about this by the time we get on the motorway
TAKING SCENIC ROUTE FROM CHELSEA
Until you get a foreign manager of this club no-one is happy. It is not all about tippy-tappy football
SUCCESSOR WON’T BE ENGLISH
The players are much of a muchness
STRUGGLING TO PICK A TEAM
If I had started the season in charge we would be in the Champions League
DEFENDING HIS RECORD
If you have a supply teacher who comes into your school, sometimes they are not treated with the respect that a headmaster is
AUTHORITY BEING UNDERMINED
Somewhere along the line someone is telling porkies
CONFUSION OVER DE BOER APPROACH
WHO WILL BE NEXT IN AT WHITE HART LANE?
PROS: Made stars of Southampton players like Adam Lallana
CONS: One season in England, speaks through an interpreter
Frank de Boer
PROS: Title winner four years in a row with Ajax
CONS: No experience of managing in the Premier League
PROS: Seven trophy-laden seasons with Liverpool and Chelsea
CONS: May be unwilling to leave Napoli who’s in Champions League
PROS: Unattached. Can spot a bargain in the transfer market
CONS: Negative tactics would be frowned upon by Spurs fans
PROS: Brought Andre Schurrle and Lewis Holtby to the fore
CONS: Inexperienced, wants year’s break from coaching
PROS: Hero at White Hart Lane. Would be instantly popular
CONS: Only one season as a club manager. No trophies