Julian Nagelsmann will be Tottenham Hotspur’s top option to replace Jose Mourinho should fortunes not soon change in north London, according to emerging reports…
The Telegraph’s Matt Law has claimed that the Portuguese boss is facing a pivotal 12-day period in which his job could be under serious threat past the current campaign.
Spurs have lost five of their last six in the Premier League but do still have a place in the Carabao Cup final and likely the last 16 of the Europa League too.
The RB Leipzig manager, thought to be one of the most exciting up-and-coming coaches in the game, is said to be Daniel Levy’s first choice should he be forced to sack Mourinho.
Whilst it is still too early to say whether or not Mourinho should face the axe – after all, he’s one game away from clinching their first piece of silverware since 2008 – it wouldn’t hurt to consider alternatives just as long as they are genuine upgrades.
And that’s where Nagelsmann is an intriguing candidate.
The 33-year-old has been tipped to reach the heights of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, arguably two of the best managers in the Premier League right now, whilst he has drawn inspiration from the latter.
Perhaps more interestingly, it is comparisons to legendary arch-rival Arsene Wenger that could signal a new direction at Hotspur Way.
During a loan spell under him at Hoffenheim, he was asked if there was a connection, and he replied:
“Yeah, 100 per cent. They give youth a chance like Arsenal do, bringing young talents through like Jack Wilshere. It’s the same with the boss here. He gives opportunities to young players and he has belief in them.”
But it is not only the faith in emerging prospects that makes the German so appealing. He’d certainly help alleviate one of Tottenham’s biggest problems – that leaky backline.
The revolutionary record-breaker has developed Leipzig into one of the meanest defences in the Bundesliga – indeed, no other side has conceded fewer (18) this season. Not even league leaders Bayern Munich (31), who have subsequently splashed €42.5m (£36.5m) on RB colossus Dayot Upamecano.
Known for his innovation in an attacking sense, the German outfit always remain compact defensively and have never spent over €16m (£14m) on a central defender, which will be music to Levy’s ears as it shows he can develop what he has – or at the very least, not spend bucket loads.
They are the fourth-most successful side in the Bundesliga for pressing, though they top the charts for total number of pressures per 90 (50.7), as per FBRef, which makes their impressive goals against tally all that more impressive as despite the constant work-rate, they aren’t letting the opposition into potential gaps and spaces.
This is because Leipzig are compact in the middle of the pitch, leaving the opposition with a lot of long balls to play instead, and that’s also nullified as all of their central defenders tower above 6-foot, whilst they top the division for successful aerial duels won per 90 (59.4%), via FBRef.
No side has faced fewer shots (56) across this season either, so clearly, Nagelsmann is a bit of a defensive genius too. Wenger’s invincibles had a pretty impressive and resolute defence too.
Spurs’ problems at the back are well documented. Only one other top-seven team leaked more goals last term, while this season, Mourinho has chopped and changed his options with every passing week.
Clearly isn’t able to coach the likes of Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez into being better central options, so this is where Nagelsmann could make an immediate impact, as evident above.
“I see [Nagelsmann] as a great coaching talent in all the relevant areas that a coach has to fulfil: leadership, dealing with the players and their tactical development,” said Ralph Rangnick to SPORT1, via Bundesliga.com.
Quite rightly, the Leipzig gem must be atop Levy’s shortlist should Mourinho depart in the near future. They’d be getting their very own Wenger-like leader, one capable of resolving the biggest nightmare.
AND in other news, Three Spurs stars who must buck up their ideas ahead of summer window