There appears to be no one who actually thinks this is a good idea.
A quick look through Twitter this morning shows a Tottenham fan-base in shock, appalled at their club, who for so long have been lauded for doing things the right way with a long-term project under Mauricio Pochettino, but who have now chucked that all in for the most desperate short-termism imaginable.
Elsewhere, Manchester United fans who know all about him laugh mockingly, while Arsenal fans who feared hiring him do the same.
Fans of these clubs, and possibly indeed those involved with the decision-making at both, will also be all too aware that a potentially superb appointment in Pochettino has now been made available.
For Jose Mourinho himself, the decision to accept this move is obvious; his reputation damaged by the end to his most recent stints at Man Utd and Chelsea, Spurs now represent a decent stepping stone for him to rebuild his career. The Portuguese gets another crack at the Premier League, the Champions League, and, possibly most importantly for him these days, he gets to carry on living in London.
First time in, ooh, about five-and-a-half years I’ll be walking into work embarrassed to be a Spurs fan.
— Welcome #BusWanker (@bankruptspurs) November 20, 2019
Jose deserved the sack at United & said it himself. And unless he's bringing Rui Faria with him I stand by the fact he's done at the top level. I predict an initial bounce like all manager's then failure. Unless Levy gives him 300 million
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) November 20, 2019
Mourinho has now managed Chelsea, United and Spurs and some Arsenal fans were seriously considering him hang your heads in shame he’s the embodiment of the enemy of this club
— h (@_hfafc) November 20, 2019
Mourinho’s personal agenda makes this all the more damning on Tottenham, who are surely now in a good enough position to be above being used in this way.
After their remarkable rise under Pochettino, this job should represent a tempting project for another forward-thinking manager, with up-and-coming tacticians like Julian Nagelsmann or Eddie Howe perhaps ideal to continue Pochettino’s work whilst giving the club something fresh.
Mourinho, based on his most recent exploits at least, is not the man for the rebuilding job required in north London.
The 56-year-old will arrive at Tottenham with Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen all in the final months of their contracts, and without the kind of big-money transfer budget to replace them that he’ll have been used to working with in every one of his jobs for the last 15 years.
Some inside Tottenham may well feel the appointment of the Special One could be the finishing touch to the Pochettino project that just lacked that piece of silverware to show for all the fine work, but this totally misjudges the mood of the more discerning modern football fan.
Mourinho may well have won three trophies in his time at United, but he left no legacy to speak of, and precious few fond memories at all. Pochettino, by contrast, won nothing but totally rebuilt a club, creating a new-found mentality that saw them genuinely challenge for Premier League titles, cause numerous upsets against sides with far more expensive squads than them, play attractive but efficient football with a squad of talented young players the envy of much of Europe, and, of course, reach their first ever Champions League final in thrilling fashion.
Some things are worth more than the odd League Cup, and Mourinho is quite clearly not a man who will ever buy into that philosophy as he temporarily lifts and then trashes every team he works with, souring the mood and leaving a major rebuilding job for his successor. He will care not for the vision Pochettino was working towards at Tottenham, and it doesn’t bare thinking about just how tense things are about to get for him at a club that cannot possibly meet his expectations in the transfer market in particular. If he found Ed Woodward difficult to work with, he might want to take another look at Daniel Levy’s recent record.
We talk a lot in football about panic buys, and this is the managerial equivalent. Spurs announced Pochettino’s departure last night and confirmed Mourinho in the early hours of this morning. It smacks of desperation, of a rushed move without a long-term plan, and it’s almost impossible to believe this won’t end miserably for everyone involved.