There’s no denying it. Arsenal hiring Mauricio Pochettino after Tottenham replaced him with a man who is trying to prove he’s not a massive bellend would be hilarious.
Perhaps Poch would guide Arsenal effortlessly back into the top four by playing attractive, expansive football while down the road Mourinho would slowly pick at the Tottenham cracks never far from the surface, bringing the whole structure crumbling down in his unique brand of chaos.
Pochettino might even take us to a title instead of merely being able to ‘put the pressure on’.
But we’d have to ignore a lot of things to get to that point.
Paddy Power asked me to write about why it would be great for Arsenal to hire Mauricio Pochettino. I said I couldn’t do that because I didn’t think it would be.
I think it’s a stupid idea.
Firstly, there’s the fact he’s already said he’d rather go work on his pig farm in Argentina than manage Arsenal. If that’s the view you hold about the club I love then off you f*ck to play in some pigsh*t.
Then, there’s the fact he’s a nasty manager who not only sends his team out to kick players in the most snide way possible, but admits it to the media without an inch of shame.
Given that Arsenal already get booked more than any other side in the league, how do you think that would play out at the Emirates under Mike Riley’s cohorts? Even his Wikipedia entry describes Pochettino’s managerial style as to ‘intimidate’ which we all know means ‘kick the crap out of’.
Call me a snowflake if you wish, but I like my football a little more refined and intelligent. Intimidation is for those without the skills to win at the game.
More glaringly, there’s the big empty space on his CV where a trophy, any trophy, should be.
Sure, he got Tottenham to the Champions League final, but they bottled it. Just like they bottled every other final he got them to, too. Which was one, by the way; the League Cup final in 2015 when they lost to Jose Mourinho during his second spell at Chelsea.
Champions League final aside, his biggest achievement in management is guiding Spurs above Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal when the great man’s powers had finally waned to levels more acceptable in N17. And Wenger still managed to win more trophies than Poch in his final hurrah, taking Arsenal to three FA Cups in four years.
Even during their head-to-head time as managers of the north London rivals, Pochettino only won one more manager of the month award than Wenger. One man was meant to be at his peak and the other past it and on his way out.
You think that is good enough for Arsenal?
Mostly, however, I just don’t like him.
Of course, I don’t know him and never will, but that doesn’t stop us forming opinions about people. If it did, we all wouldn’t despise Tottenham’s new manager so much already.
I like to believe that Arsenal is a special club. We hold ourselves to high standards and are a cut apart from the rest. Of course, the fans of every club think that about their own team, but only one can be right and it’s me about Arsenal.
Mauricio Pochettino is not our sort.
Still, at the back of my head there is a tiny, nagging voice whispering, ‘but what if Pochettino could do what Sol Campbell did, wouldn’t that be worth it?’
There is the very real possibility that by joining a bigger club like Arsenal, as he did when he left Southampton for Spurs in 2014, he could kick on and achieve something worth remembering.
Given how much that would annoy Spurs fans even more than us winning more stuff, perhaps it’s not such a stupid idea after all…
This piece was first written for Paddy Power.