•Tottenham’s current mediocrity and consequential elimination from the Europa League has heaped pressure on Mourinho and as usual, he blames everyone but not himself.
•Arsenal are in a difficult position with their mission to sign Norwegian Martin Odegaard.
If Tottenham fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, I have been told that Jose Mourinho’s position will be seriously reviewed. The club brought him in to win trophies and keep Harry Kane at the club.
Tottenham’s current mediocrity and consequential elimination from the Europa League has heaped pressure on Mourinho and as usual, he blames everyone but not himself. Players refer to Mourinho’s failure to build harmony within the dressing room as ‘The Mourinho Death Spiral!’
Basically, it relates to whatever team he is managing at the time and pinpoints at unsatisfactory run of results combined with dressing room disquiet when he verbally blames players but never himself. It happened at Chelsea and Manchester United. Many Tottenham players seem to have lost the will to give 100 percent.
It seems that Mourinho’s departure is the only thing which will save Dele Alli from being sold. He does not get along with Mourinho and I have been told that one of them has to go.
Full back Danny Rose has played only twice for the under-23's under Mourinho and his contract ends this summer. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is on record criticising the dressing room, saying they have a lack of basics and a lack of fundamentals.”
He also pointed out that Spurs loss of form is nothing compared with what is happening behind the scenes. One of my contacts told me this week that the club is not a happy place. Does that remind you of Mourinho’s last few months at both United and Chelsea?
Paris St-Germain want Lloris but the 34-year-old’s contract has another 12 months to run so Spurs have to cash in this summer or he will leave for nothing. Tottenham are chasing a move for Manchester United’s keeper Dean Henderson but in the current atmosphere, it will be difficult to persuade him to commit his career to White Hart Lane.
Harry Winks is now 25 and he is under contract until 2025 but he has fallen way down the pecking order for only two midfield positions. Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are Mourinho’s favourites and Winks’ only option is to move on. It is difficult to comment on Gareth Bale because neither Spurs or Mourinho have made a definite decision.
However, five goals and two assists in 12 games is impressive but Gareth has said he will probably return to Madrid because he joined Spurs to play regularly and Mourinho has not given him that chance.
There is a way for him to stay beyond his loan period which ends in June but Mourinho’s handling of the mega star will have to change.
Real Madrid hold Bale’s registration and he belongs to them but they cannot afford his £600k-a-week wages for the remaining 12 months of his contract and hence the loan to Tottenham who share paying his wages with the Spanish club.
I reluctantly expect things to get far worse at Tottenham before they get better. I am told RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann and Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers are the two managers under consideration if Mourinho goes.
Arteta wants to build team around Odegaard
Arsenal are in a difficult position with their mission to sign Norwegian Martin Odegaard. The on-loan attacking midfielder has been a huge success for Mikel Arteta’s new look Arsenal and the manager wants to build much of his team around the Norwegian. The problem is Odegaard belongs to Real Madrid and he has a £300 million release clause. However, I have made exhaustive enquiries and Odegaard’s value is thought to be around £40 million. I have learned that Arsenal have a plan to negotiate with Real at the end of this yearand sign him permanently. However, if this fails they will ask to extend the 22-year-old’s loan period.
Wijnaldum heading for the door
Reports are reaching me that Liverpool expect to lose Gini Wijnaldum as a re-organised Barcelona step up their interest. The Dutch international has not agreed a new deal with the Reds and is eligible to sign a pre-contract document with a foreign club. Liverpool will not meet his wage demands and his contract ends in three months. Liverpool have a strict wage structure for players aged over 30 years and his position is the same as Emre Can who was allowed to run down his contract and then leave. Barcelona have limited resources and signing a player of Wijnaldum’s quality for free is an obvious attraction.
Martial’s Man United career in danger
Anthony Martial’s career at Manchester United has been very up and down. Is he a wide-forward or a number nine?
There is mounting speculation within the club that his days at Old Trafford could be coming to an end. Martial scored 21 goals last season but this year he has not been in the same form.
Both coach Ole Gunner Soslkjaer and new football director John Murtough are working hard to bring Borussia Dortmund’s scoring sensation Erling Haaland in as the central striker which puts even more pressure on Martial and he will be under threat.
United have never solved the question of whether to play Martial down the left-hand side of the field or through the centre. When Lukaku left, Martial was given back his favoured number nine shirt which was annoyingly taken away from him when Zlatan Ibrahimovich joined the club.
Since Alex Telles arrived at United to compete for Luke Shaw’s shirt, Shaw has responded with magnificent performances and is one of the first names on the team sheet.
Martial, on the other hand, has gone into his shell since the arrival of Edinson Cavani from PSG. The Uruguayan has scored six league goals in only nine starts whereas Martial has hit the net only four times in 17 matches.
Cavani has sustained recent injuries and therefore Martial has played regularly but Cavani is definitely preferred by Solskjaer. The next few months will be a defining period for Martial and only he can decide his future by giving powerful displays.
Van Aanholt is wanted in Turkey
My Crystal Palace contacts tell me that defender Patrick van Aanholt is wanted by leading Turkish side Galatasaray. The Dutch left-back has a contract which runs out in June and the Turkish side have offered him a three-year deal. Talks with Palace have got nowhere and several other Premier League clubs have phoned the club to show interest. The defender joined Palace for £9million in 2018.
Passion from Mourinho
I had to smile when I was told a Jose Mourinho quote: “Maybe for some people in football, football is a job or a way to make money. For me, it’s much more than that. That’s what I never lose, these basics of football, passion, heart and desire.”
Spoken with strong feeling by the man who earns a basic £15million-a-year.
Feet up time for Pep
For a man who eats, sleeps and lives football, Pep Guardiola made a surprising admission this week.
The international break has arrived and fresh from reaching their third successive FA Cup semi-final, City do not have a game until April 3rd.
Pep says he intends to walk away from football, relax, enjoy his family and take a few days rest. I have never heard him say that before.
Guendouzi still displaying his arrogant side
Sometimes young players do not learn from the helpful lessons given to them. Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi is talented but tainted with a huge ego and a streak of arrogance which has seen him loaned to German club Hertha Berlin. Mikel Arteta lost patience with him.
Arsenal contacted the German Bundesliga club and told them that Matteo could still be available for a permanent signing. The 21-year-old midfielder responded by saying he has bigger ideas and refused the possibility to sign for £27million. He reckons he should be playing at a
bigger club and one which can offer him European football. I think he could end up being a player no club wants to touch. It now seems that Hertha had in fact already told Arsenal that they did not want Guendouzi because of his attitude. The club described him as 'moody,stubborn and “resistant to advice'.
The club says these are the reasons why they do not want to keep him past the end of this season. Clearly Guendouzi has a lot of growing up to do otherwise he could end up wasting a promising career.
Guardiola sings praise of Fernandinho
Once again Pep Guardiola has been speaking words of praise and admiration for Manchester City’s Fernandino who will be 36 years old in May.
He is not big in stature, and unlike Kevin de Bruyne, he doesn’t spread 35 yard passes around the pitch; doesn’t score and rarely makes assists. And yet this remarkable footballer has probably been the best in the world over the last decade for his personal midfield type of play.
What he does do is to always position himself in the right place at the right time and reads the game to perfection. He has also mastered the art of fouling, often just a shirt tug or a nudge here and there and very often not arousing the suspicion of the referee.
Despite that, he has notched up over 350 fouls in his Premier League career which must rate him in the top section of the most booked players!
Manager Pep Guardiola relies on Fernandinho to hold the centre of the pitch in front of the two centre-backs and thus allowing wing-backs Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko to move high into the opponents half of the field and make runs before passing onto the strikers.
Fernandinho is used more sparingly these days given his advancing years. However, Guardiola still puts his name down as one of the first on the team sheet whether it is to play or to sit on the bench. And the master coach talks with passion and caring for his most prized possession in midfield.