If Premier League managers floated on the stock exchange then only the bravest of traders would wade into that market.
They say every army is just three meals away from mutiny and it doesn’t take much more than three defeats on the bounce for a club to stick a fork in their latest manager.
A few weeks ago Ronald Koeman was the innovator leading Everton on to a bold new era. Now he’s tidying up his CV. The fairly unmemorable Claude Puel, just about still remembered for his fairly unmemorable Southampton team, is suddenly back in the fold with Leicester.
But it’s not just their short shelf lives. The Premier League’s incumbent managers blow hot and cold in the face of public opinion from week to week, even those whose hotseats are a little cooler than most.
Think back to August – how long ago that seems now – when Mauricio Pochettino could not buy a win at Wembley, and when it was easy to sell the idea that in his second season Jose Mourinho, as is his way, would bring home the big trophies for Manchester United.
Now? Well, just think of it like a seismograph, the equipment used for measuring earthquakes – in an instant the spikes have lurched to the other extreme.
Suddenly Mourinho the pragmatist is Mourinho the philistine who refuses to change his ways, an old argument that intensifies after a couple of poor results. They need someone new … like Pochettino.
United have gone in every other direction post-Fergie, after all. First you had the tried-and-tested Brit who deserved his shot, then the quirky Dutch connoisseur of tactics, the current ‘born winner’ – it’s time to go all-in on the next big thing in Poch.
Or so one narrative goes. But if you handed the smart investor a few dirhams to dabble in our fantasy managerial stocks, they would surely plough a fair portion of their kitty into Mourinho.
Manchester City are magic. He can feel both Tottenham and Chelsea breathing down his neck. His team somehow made Liverpool’s defence look as impenetrable as the Hoover Dam. Top it off with Huddersfield summoning the spirit of 1971, and there’s been a fire sale on those Mourinho shares.
The thing is, for however regressive and intractable Mourinho’s tactics and philosophy may seem, he nearly always delivers for his stakeholders. It doesn’t matter what you see on the pitch – it’s all a mirage. Just look at that trophy cabinet, bulging with 24 trophies collected from 17 years of management. With Porto, Chelsea (in two stints), Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he has won the league title.
🔴 Man Utd
🏟 Old Trafford
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 27, 2017
Contrast that with Pochettino, who for however progressive and flexible his tactics and philosophy may seem, has not won a trophy. Not one in eight years as a head coach.
The obvious counterpoint to that is he has not been fortunate enough to manage your Reals and your Inters, but he’s into his fourth year with Spurs now and a League Cup finalist’s medal is his only physical evidence of moderate success.
Which is why it was strange that some have claimed that Pochettino will be relieved that Tottenham were dumped out of the EFL Cup by West Ham in midweek, all the while saying that a victory would resurrect Slaven Bilic and the Hammers.
Dele Alli and Eric Dier, supposed cornerstone of this new generation at Spurs, played the entire game and should be desperate for their first cup success. It would be a huge worry if they weren’t.
And this is the problem with Spurs at the moment, which goes far beyond whether they can beat United without Harry Kane. Whereas Mourinho is a proven commodity, when you invest in Pochettino and his players, you invest in potential. It’s about time we see some returns.
Premier League gameweek 10 is upon us and there once again is no shortage of talking points, with Manchester United’s home clash with Tottenham undoubtedly the biggest game of the lot.
Harry Kane’s absence through injury is a huge blow for Spurs while the pressure will be on the Red Devils and leading goalscorer Romelu Lukaku, in particular, to produce the goods after last weekend’s disappointing defeat at Huddersfield.
Liverpool, off the back of their thrashing at Wembley last Sunday, will be desperate to get back to winning ways but will Jurgen Klopp stick with under-fire centre-back Dejan Lovren for the visit of the Terriers?
Elsewhere, caretaker boss David Unsworth will take charge of Everton as they visit Leicester – who will have Claude Puel in the dugout for the first time. The panel discuss the Toffees and how important Wayne Rooney’s role in the side will be.
Gazidis, who was taking questions at Arsenal’s annual general meeting on Thursday, said no one outside the club is aware of the demands being made by players approaching the end of their contracts.
It was reported last December that both Ozil and Sanchez wanted to be paid the same as the Premier League‘s top earners.
Neither of the pair are yet to sign new deals and can walk away for free at the end of the season – something manager Arsene Wenger has said he is prepared to allow happen as long as they contribute to success in the interim.
The board have backed that call and Gazidis insists that shows the club are not solely concerned with the bottom line.
“You don’t always have a choice of where you sell a player, nor do you have control of whether a player extends with you or what demands his agent makes,” he said.
“From the outside, none of this information is going to be in the public domain, that leads to pressure and criticism.
“Those on the outside don’t know the dynamics, don’t know the demands being made, don’t know the constraints.
“Probably the most vocal criticism we have ever had at an AGM was after we had transferred Robin van Persie (to Manchester United) in the last year of his contract.
“That was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make and we were told then we were financially motivated and not focused on football.
“This summer, with stronger underlying financials we have taken a different tack. The decision on Alexis and Mesut Ozil are certainly not decisions that fit the narrative that we put money first.
“We have taken that approach to give the club the best possible chance to compete for trophies this season.”
The AGM at the Emirates Stadium was attended by around 200 shareholders, the majority of whom voted unsuccessfully against re-electing chairman Sir Chips Keswick or director Josh Kroenke in rare move to show their unhappiness with the set-up.
A poll vote was held even though majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and fellow shareholder Alisher Usmanov had already voted via proxy – with their votes in favour of retaining the pair unbeatable.
There was an element of farce as not enough chairs were provided for the shareholders in attendance and the meeting closed amid jeers and slow claps as Keswick refused to directly answer the three questions asked from the floor.