Mauricio Pochettino is back in the Premier League.
The former Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain manager will become Chelsea boss next season, his third in charge of the English club.
In the 12 months since he took over at the club, he becomes owner Todd Boley’s third permanent boss – and his fourth appointment – which includes interim coaches Bruno Salto and Frank Lampard.
The Argentine arrives at Stamford Bridge after a tumultuous season for the Blues, who have spent £600m since the takeover.
But what did the Blues get from Pochettino? Why did the 51-year-old decide after almost a year out of the game that it was time to return – to a club that looked like a mess?
“Since leaving PSG, he has turned down a lot of clubs”
Joining Chelsea was not a decision Pochettino took lightly. He has turned down a number of potential suitors since leaving PSG in July 2022.
There was an opportunity for him to join them when Thomas Tuchel left last September, but by then Chelsea had more or less decided to bring in Graham Potter and Chelsea’s attitude towards Pochettino was half-hearted at best.
There are other factors that make this opportunity feel different.
At that time, Chelsea fans still miss Tuchel, who won the Champions League for the club less than three months after succeeding Lampard.
Nor will Pochettino gain as much control as he has now. If there’s one thing he’s learned at PSG, it’s that to be successful, he and his team need to have an impact across the club, from an academic level up.
He hasn’t had an offer since leaving Paris, but no one has ticked the boxes quite like Chelsea, especially in second-round talks with the club.
He was determined to make sure he made the right choice for his next employer – and initially turned down Boehly’s Chelsea until he gained more control.
He has been approached by Benfica, Athletic Bilbao, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. Sevilla have also been linked, as have Villarreal, Nice and Leeds United.
But after six years in the Champions League, reaching a final and a semi-final, he wanted to go to a club he thought could challenge for the title.
He was definitely going to Manchester United and had spoken to them a few times before and after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure, but he was very disappointed that it wasn’t agreed, not least because he had the support of many people at the club, especially from Alex Sir Alex Ferguson.
Everything about Chelsea fits. It’s a young team, a thriving academy, coupled with the owners’ desire to get young players through, and a philosophy of being aggressive, dynamic, high-pressure and dynamic.
Of course, a lot depends on who he can bring in, obviously need to find a striker as the main target. If Romelu Lukaku manages to avoid injury, he is likely to be an option, although he will have to give up some players before considering additions to the squad.
‘Pochettino not allowed to be Pochettino’ – what happened to PSG?
On July 5, 2022, Paris Saint-Germain and Pochettino parted ways.
It was a hasty “marriage” that took just five days from initial contact to signing the contract in January 2021 over the Christmas period, with the relationship ending 18 months later.
Three of Pochettino’s previous four current players at the Parc des Princes (Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel) have gone on to win European trophies since leaving the club, so putting them in the It’s too easy to blame the manager for failures in Europe.
Paris Saint-Germain has a problem of its own, a club that seems to see its coach primarily as a nanny for the immense talent available to them with their untold fortunes.
This will always frustrate someone like Pochettino and his team, who work on developing new talent while maximizing what is available to them, rather than spending most of their time making superstars happy .
He wants to influence his players in a positive way and apply high tempo, high energy football on the pitch. This is impossible in Paris.
These are things you can only do if you are authorized to do so. Once it becomes clear that he’s only there to keep things on track and make sure superstars stay in their comfort zones, his days are numbered because it’s not about coaching.
He also has to grapple with tricky issues as he is the first manager to have Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar all at the same time. The perception is that with three of the greatest players in the world, they should win it all – it’s never been that easy.
Back in November 2021, after Paris Saint-Germain lost to Manchester City in the Champions League group stage, Thierry Henry commented: “Pochettino can’t be Pochettino sometimes in the team.”
Witnessing the difficulties Paris Saint-Germain have encountered since his departure, one can conclude that he is taking the team as far as he can while keeping in mind the constraints placed on him.
In his final season he won back the French title and should have enjoyed a win Real Madrid Champions League Round of 16 – Paris Saint-Germain were in the lead late in the game.
Where has he been since leaving Paris Saint-Germain?
A grueling and grueling season-and-a-half at Paris Saint-Germain has left him in need of a recharge.
The great fun and job satisfaction he had at Spurs ended in sadness, especially four months later when the world went into lockdown, leaving him no chance to process what had happened to him.
This time, he’s been able to handle things. He is back in Japan, the country he last visited with Argentina at the 2002 World Cup, only this time traveling with his family.
Most of his time is spent traveling between London and Barcelona. He didn’t see his son as much as he’d hoped, mainly because travel was impossible while he was at PSG and Maurizio was playing for Watford. He has now moved to Gimnastic Tarragona in Spain’s third tier, and Pochettino can watch him play whenever he wants.
While in Paris, he was unable to see his wife for much of the time due to lockdown restrictions. He spent most of his life in the luxury of a five-star hotel.
The recent break has refreshed him.
He has attended many coaching masterclasses with his assistant Jesús Perez, and he will join Chelsea, first-team coach Miguel D’Agostino, and his son Sebastiano, a sports scientist , and goalkeeping coach Tony Jimenez. The group are inseparable friends and all but Sebastian have worked together since Pochettino’s time at Espanyol.
He also spent a lot of time helping younger coaches earn their coaching badges while learning from their younger approaches as the game continued to evolve.
What does he need to do to succeed at Chelsea?
Pochettino realized that, unlike at Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham, PSG was the first club where he left nothing of real value behind.
His time at Paris Saint-Germain taught him that he needed to get back to his roots, with all his enthusiasm and enthusiasm, not unlike the relationship he had with his players at Tottenham.
To that end, he took a hard look at himself and what he did wrong at the French club, what he could have done better and how he could avoid making similar mistakes at Chelsea.
He needs to be able to shape players, know they’re listening to him, and have the power to make sure that happens.
He realizes that at Chelsea he needs to control the agenda as much as possible – something he was unable to do at PSG.
Pochettino also needs to surround himself with people who know everything about the club, how it works and how he controls things off the training ground.
Most importantly, his message is that this will not be a quick fix and that, aside from the huge sums of money, time is what is needed most. A year will help. He believes that two years will guarantee the repositioning and recovery of the sprawling club.
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