Pochettino waits in the shadows as Mourinho faces critical period

As the Premier League season continues on its merry way, so do the rumours about the famous managerial merry-go-round kicking into life once again as well. With Sunderland and Hull changing their head honcho in the summer, only Swansea so far have changed the face in their technical area. That was when Bob Bradley became the first American manager in Premier League history when he replaced Francesco Guidolin at Swansea at the start of October.

Looking at sportsbooks such as betway.com.gh, there are interesting odds for which manager could be the next to fly the nest and leave his club behind. Alan Pardew is odds on after a dismal run of results at Crystal Palace, and Bradley himself is second favourite with David Moyes – incumbent at Sunderland – in third.

What is most interesting, however, is the presence of a certain former Chelsea boss now plying his trade in the north west. Jose Mourinho arrived at Man United in the summer following the departure of Louis van Gaal, and he seemingly fulfilled something of a self-made prophecy that he would take charge at Old Trafford. He never made a secret of the respect he had for the club and its former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and it seemed written in the stars that the former Real Madrid head coach would wind up there at some stage.

His arrival accompanied much pomp and ceremony, as the Red Devils’ fans finally got their man. He followed the appointment up by signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic – the Swedish superstar with top flight titles in Spain, Italy (with three different clubs), the Netherlands and France. Mourinho also re-signed former United youngster Paul Pogba from Juventus for a world record transfer fee, and they started the season in fine form and looking rejuvenated with their new faces on the pitch.

Fast forward a few months, and cold hard reality seems to have thumped down to the ground as United have struggled to maintain their vibrant early season form. Five draws from the last seven games has seen them fall to sixth, and Mourinho’s name has slowly risen up the managerial sack race odds like a rising talent on the racecourse.

It does of course seem ridiculous to think that the club could get rid of such a successful manager after just a few months – but the day will come, at some stage, when Mourinho shuts the doors on his way out of Old Trafford for the last time. Who would the club bring in to replace such a big name?

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino seems to be the name put about most often. The Argentine has seen his stock rise hugely since arriving in England with Southampton, and has helped Spurs finally qualify for the Champions League for the first time in years. Sir Alex Ferguson himself once stated that he believes Pochettino to be the best manager in the Premier League.

So while Mourinho will surely get plenty of time to turn things around, history does have a habit of repeating itself. Just as Jose seemed destined to eventually take the reins at Old Trafford, it would appear that so too does Pochettino at some point down the line.

For the time being, though, Mourinho is a proven manager with a solid track record. Whether he will be a long-term servant to the club remains to be seen, but he should at least be given more time to prove himself before the vultures begin to circle.





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