Mauricio Pochettino is set to open talks with Tottenham over a new contract at the end of the season but Barcelona boss Luis Enrique suggests that may be a mistake and it would be better if managers were given six-month deals rather than lucrative long-term agreements.
Indeed, Spurs have been impressive this year; almost as impressive as Chelsea were last year.
Last season’s Premier League win at a canter prompted Roman Abramovich to tie Jose Mourinho down to a new four-year deal at Stamford Bridge and we all know what happened next.
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Mourinho is now tipped to replace Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford but the incredible success at Manchester United was elongated precisely because Sir Alex Ferguson signed a one-year rolling contract in 2004 so that he could leave whenever he wanted while avoiding any damaging speculation about his future.
By way of contrast, Rafa Benitez signed a four-year contract extension to his Liverpool deal after almost winning the Premier League in 2009 before coming seventh the next season and leaving by mutual consent in the summer of 2010.
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History repeated itself for the Reds as Brendan Rogers joined from Swansea on a three-year deal and after a quiet start almost won the league in his second year. After signing a new deal that summer the under-performance was marked and he was lucky not to go at the end of his third season. After three wins in 11 games at the start of his fourth season, he was sacked.
Maybe a new contract will not go to Pochettino’s head and derail the potential of his Spurs team but it does not need to be risked.
If Pochettino gets poached, maybe Spurs should let him go. The players will stay and many a good manager would be willing to take over. Indeed, if Newcastle get relegated and Benitez gets released from his contract he would gladly walk all the way from the Wirral to White Hart Lane.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich is seeing out his three-year contract with his ‘I do the job and you let me go’ attitude. He knows that he regularly needs a new challenge and maybe that is the secret of his success. Whether or not he wins the Champions League that the Bavarian giants desire so much remains to be seen, but he can pitch up at Manchester City regardless and go again.
So maybe the current Barcelona boss is right and rolling six-month contracts are the way forward. Either way, rewarding a winning manager with a new contract when he is doing a good job has a mixed record of success.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.