At this point it’s no secret that Manchester United will likely be managed by someone other then Louis van Gaal next season. Rumors have flown around over who their next manager will be, most prominently former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, but lately another name has started to gain traction, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
In just three full years managing in England Pochettino has built himself quite a reputation. He started out by taking over a 14th place Southampton side and leading them to an eighth place finish. Now in his second year at Tottenham, he took a team that was perennially on the outside looking in at the top four, and has them in second place, just two points behind leaders Leicester City.
The amount of success Pochettino has had in such a short managerial career has already led some to begin wondering if he is the best manager in England. Meanwhile, former Spurs captain Jamie Redknapp said in the Daily Mail that Manchester United or Chelsea would be mad not to give Pochettino a look.
Following the David Moyes, and now the Louis van Gaal managerial debacles, it’s understandable that Manchester United would be a little hesitant before hiring the next manager. They don’t want another failure, they need the right man and now they are certainly wondering if Pochettino would be a good fit at Old Trafford.
The answer to that question has far less to do with Mauricio Pochettino then it does to do with the Manchester United board, specifically Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward.
Woodward has stated several times that United’s goal is to operate like Real Madrid. That means buying and selling players at the top of the market, or in other words, superstars. There’s only one problem with that, Manchester United have never been Real Madrid, even under Sir Alex Ferguson. The pipeline of talent never went from Spain or Germany to Manchester United. With the exception of Angel di Maria last season the pipeline pretty much always went from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
Furthermore, Real Madrid haven’t exactly been the beacon of success recently. In the past 10 years they’ve won La Liga just three times and the Champions League once. In that same time frame Manchester United won the Premier League five times, the Champions League once, and made two other finals. They did this by operating in a completely different manner than Real.
In a post for ESPNFC Mike Goodman wrote this on the matter.
“Could Pochettino succeed at United? Sure, if he had a front office making a coordinated effort to mold the team into his image. But if they expect him to succeed with this squad and these players while Woodward is out chasing Thomas Muller’s shadow? Not happening. Telling the world you want to be Real Madrid while thinking about hiring Pochettino is the opposite of a plan.”
Goodman is absolutely right. Pochettino would be a great hire for Manchester United but he will only be able to succeed if Ed Woodward gets a clue. Pochettino would not be brought in to turn Manchester United into Real Madrid, he’d be brought in to turn Manchester United back into Manchester United.
United were never a club that bought players at the top of their game. Sure there were some rare exceptions like Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, and Eric Cantona, but for the most part United were a club that developed youth. The club prides itself on youth, the “Busby Boys” and “Fergie’s Fledglings” will forever be glorified by the club.
If you go down the list of recent United superstars, for the most part most of them were either developed by United (Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, David Beckham), bought while they were teenagers (Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo), or relatively unknown and were bought for very cheap (Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Javier Hernandez). That’s not the Real Madrid way, that’s the Manchester United way.
That’s also the Mauricio Pochettino way. At both Southampton and Tottenham Pochettino has turned to both youth and lesser known players and has not only had great success but he’s turned those players into big money players.
If Ed Woodward truly wants to make Manchester United great again, he’d drop his Real Madrid aspirations and turn to Mauricio Pochettino.