Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea at Wembley in the first ‘big’ game of this season, and it will see Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte square up once again.
While Spurs will be keen to clear any worries about them underperforming at Wembley, Chelsea need to dispel the current negativity surrounding the whole club.
Just like the two teams on the pitch, the managers on the sidelines are among the best in England, possibly even the world.
There’s a problem, though, they’re at the wrong clubs. Pochettino should be Chelsea manager and Conte should be Tottenham manager.
#TheBest nominees/trophies 16/17
— David Kappel (@kappilinho) August 17, 2017
Under Pochettino, Spurs have done a superb job of building a squad that can challenge for the Premier League. Of that, everyone is in agreement.
The Argentine has gone about streamlining the squad into one that comfortably competes with the money rich sides like Manchester City, Manchester United and even Chelsea.
However, unlike those three clubs, they are yet to win a trophy to justify the whole process. While City and Chelsea have won Premier League titles and United have won the Europa League, Tottenham have finished in the top four. They see it as a success but the fact is, it really isn’t and they know it.
That lack of trophies and ‘success’ has already seen questions raised. This summer, Kyle Walker, a beneficiary of Pochettino’s faith, has moved to pastures new because of it.
Most would argue his move to the Etihad was money motivated but there was more to it than that. Walker knows he stands a better chance of picking up medals in Manchester right now.
And that’s why Spurs would be wise to swap Pochettino out for Conte. The Argentine could become a top manager but Spurs don’t have time to wait for it to happen. They need trophies now and Conte is the man to deliver them – the Italian has won seven trophies in his managerial career so far; he’s a proven winner.
It’s what Spurs need, a man to help them get over that first trophy hump. Even an FA Cup win would do the trick. It would justify the way they do things, just like winning trophies has justified Chelsea and Manchester City spending vast sums in the past.
— Boys In Blue (@BoysInBluePods) August 11, 2017
Conversely, Chelsea need a manager who can provide the opposite. There’s enough talent there to ensure they can still compete; they need a man who can bridge the gap between the youth set-up and the senior set-up – Pochettino is that man.
The Blues have one of the best youth set-ups in the world that hoovers up the best talent around. However, a succession of managers have failed to give this talent a chance.
The fact that John Terry is the last youth product to establish himself at the club is, quite frankly, embarrassing. Ultimately, it makes the whole thing pointless. Where is the logic in investing so heavily in youth if you’re not going to give them their chance to impress?
It’s already cost them this summer as Nathaniel Chalobah, Dominic Solanke and Nathan Ake have moved elsewhere in search of football. More will follow that path. Indeed, in future, young players will surely be reluctant to head to Stamford Bridge because it’s evident there’s no progress.
Pochettino would fix that. With the vast resources of Chelsea, Pochettino could build a dynasty that would last a decade or more; the talent is there already to do it.
A Premier League title won with a side full of homegrown talent would 100x times sweeter for Chelsea and their fans. Just ask Barcelona or Manchester United. More than that, it would justify the way their youth set-up is run.
#thfc Kyle Walker-Peters is 8th Spurs academy player to make debut under Pochettino (Onomah, Winks, CCV, Edwards, Walkes, Harrison, Lesniak)
— Ben Pearce (@BenPearceSpurs) August 13, 2017
Ultimately, just like player swap deals, this one is very unlikely to ever happen. Pochettino is at Spurs for the long haul and Conte seems destined to head back to Italy when his Chelsea spell comes to an end.
But should Chelsea suffer a Mourinho season and Roman Abramovich sack Conte, he would be wise to target the man currently in charge of their fierce rivals as his replacement.
And if that were to happen, Spurs would be wise to target the man he’d be replacing. The evidence is there that it would work out well for all parties concerned.