Plenty have been calling for Tottenham Hotspur to appoint Marcelo Bielsa as Jose Mourinho’s successor this week…
The ‘Special One’ was sacked after 17 months at the helm, with former midfielder Ryan Mason taking the reins until the end of the season, when Daniel Levy will look to appoint a permanent replacement.
Several names have been linked with the vacant role, ranging from mooted number one target Julian Naglesmann to Brendan Rodgers and even Athletic Bilbao’s Marcelino, but it is Bielsa’s name which is on the lips of many.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Dean Windass claimed the Leeds United boss “would be the one on the lips of Daniel Levy” and he’s not the only one thinking this.
Former Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara stoked the fire even more when he told talkSPORT: “I think he’d be absolutely brilliant and the fans would love him. If you can try and prise him away form there it’d be unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, according to Tony Cascarino in his column for The Times, Bielsa “could regenerate Tottenham”.
The 65-year-old is a very intriguing option to consider, but there must be a few question marks over whether or not he’s actually the right fit for Levy and Tottenham.
He has exceeded expectations at Elland Road and has delivered a strong maiden season back in the Premier League, especially as he’s largely been deploying what is the bulk of his Championship title-winning squad.
They sit tied on points with Arsenal in 10th place and have won away to Manchester City and Leicester, who occupy two of the top three spots.
Mauricio Pochettino is a huge admirer of his, having played under him at Newell’s Old Boys. “For me, he’s a person I will always admire,” revealed the former Spurs manager. “He’s a genius. A person with charisma and a personality very different from us normal coaches, and that’s what makes him special.”
However, the bulk of this success has come down to the 65-year-old’s philosophy – a relentless press, the mantra of putting the side before self, and working on the method before the result.
This means a lot of work is put into training, such as his ‘murderball’ sessions which Leeds’ top scorer Patrick Bamford recently described as “about ten times harder than a [Premier League] game.”
It’s also claimed that Bielsa’s teams suffer from burnout in the final thirds of the season due to built-up fatigue because his high-intensity system places such serious physical demands on the players.
Ultimately, this may well spell serious trouble for Harry Kane, who suffered another ankle injury this week.
In 2019, BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker expressed his fears over the England skipper in an interview with Goal. He said: “It is always a worry when you get a recurring injury and there is clearly a little weakness in there,” adding: “The more you do it, the more you worry the weakness will become a problem.”
Given Bielsa’s ruthless training sessions, let alone his intense pressing from the front in matches, you’d have to have major concerns over the 27-year-old talisman if the Argentine replaces Mourinho.
Spurs rely heavily on the goalscoring and creative exploits of Kane; he has accounted for 60.7% of their 54 league goals this term through either scoring or setting them up.
There’s one other factor which should put Bielsa down the pecking order, as his Leeds side has often suffered from profligacy. Despite winning the Championship last term, the Whites ranked amongst the five worst teams for goal conversion at just 12.5%.
That hasn’t really risen in the Premier League, with Leeds only converting 8.1% of their 614 shots at goal, as per Transfermarkt. In some games they find the net three, four, even five times, but in others they draw a serious blank despite creating so many chances – Kane could well suffer as a result of that, too.
If Levy listens to the aforementioned calls, then he would risk ruining his superstar striker. As good as Bielsa is, he just isn’t the right man to replace Mourinho in N17.
AND in other news, Levy would be appointing Mourinho 2.0 in “stubborn” 62 y/o flop…