It’s been 70 days since Daniel Levy relieved Jose Mourinho of his duties at Tottenham Hotspur.
What began as Mourinho’s redemption arc, after his time at Manchester United came to an abrupt end in December 2018, turned into another nightmare for the Portuguese manager, who before his spell at Spurs had the moniker of winning a trophy with every club he had managed in his professional career.
In an interview with The Late Late Show’s James Corden, ‘The Special One’ claimed to have won “half a trophy” at Spurs, believing he would have won the Carabao Cup Final against fierce rival Pep Guardiola six-days after he was forced to walk the proverbial plank.
He said, "So if you want me to be proactive now you can ask me, 'How many trophies have you won in your career?' I'll tell you 25 and a half. The half is the final that I didn't play with Tottenham.
"You ask the guys who played lots of finals and everybody will tell you, 'To play a final is a dream' and it doesn't matter if it is the first final or number 20 or number 50, a final is always a dream.
"I am the kind of guy that when I close the door of a club, I move and I just wish good to people, but in a funny way I would say I have 25-and-a-half titles because it's something that marks my career, which is not to play a final that I won the right to go there."
Jose’s departure from Spurs came at a point when fans across the continent were up in arms over the European Super League proposal and discussions of ‘what went wrong’ and ‘why Jose left’ were largely left unspoken.
Ryan Mason took charge and for all intents and purposes, remains to be. He took Spurs into the League Cup final with his close friend Harry Kane leading the line, only to come away trophyless, but not embarrassed on his debut as first-team manager against a side vying for five major trophies at the time.
Mason also led Tottenham to a seventh place finish, meaning they will take part in the inaugural Uefa Europa Conference League this coming season. Understandably though, Spurs fans want more. The romance of a passionate ex-player at the helm driving them to silverware is all too Hollywood, they have been in the shadow of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and even Leicester City for far too long and their patience has worn thin.
So who does Daniel Levy bring in? Who can sit alongside the elites at the Premier League dinner table and meaningfully challenge for trophies, attract the best-in-class players from around the world and put Spurs back on the mantle as a serious contender both in England and in Europe? The answer may not be a current club manager, but a manager making a serious name for himself on the international stage: Roberto Martinez.
Fans in England may roll their eyes at the idea of the man relegated with Wigan Athletic, constantly battling relegation year-on-year, taking over at one of the Premier Leagues elite clubs, especially filling the shoes of title-laden Jose Mourinho. But the Spaniard has worked with a pool of incredibly talented players in his time, from Antonio Valencia - who went on to win the Premier League with Manchester United - to Champions League winner Victor Moses, as well as unlocking talents within players to form successful careers in England and abroad
Martinez left Wigan as FA Cup winners, but his accolade was tainted by relegation the same season. He joined Everton the same year David Moyes joined Manchester United to replace Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired after 26-years in charge. Martinez left the Toffees after three-years, but left with praise describing him as a man with "utmost integrity and dignity", a "great ambassador" who played a "key role" in developing young players.
At just 42-years old, Martinez had experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows in club management. A feeling he took with him as he was appointed Belgium’s national team coach, taking control of the countries ‘golden generation’, featuring a host of emerging talent and veterans alike.
Martinez’s skill of unlocking young players’ potential and giving a new lease of life to senior players has helped to form a tight-knit family bond within the Belgium camp, who have turned from a group of skilled individuals into a formidable dream-team feared around the globe. Should Belgium go on to win Euro 2020, Martinez’ stock will no doubt rise and his signature sought after, so Daniel Levy and Tottenham must act fast to claim his services at a fair price.
Martinez is known for his attractive possession-based style of play, credited to Johan Cruyff. He’s worked with little to no budget, knows where to look both inside and outside his club for the best emerging talent as has proven he has the calibre to win silverware without breaking the bank.
Let’s not forget, Martinez has now worked with some of the world's-best football players, he understands how to manage an ego and get the best out of them on and off the pitch. This bodes well for Spurs keeping their talismanic forward Harry Kane and his partner Heung-Min Son together for at least one more season.
Nuno Espirito Santo is currently the bookies 7/4 favourite to be next Tottenham Hotspur manager as they finally replace Mourinho. However, if you’re looking for more value in the market, Martinez is out at 4/1 and expected to drop in price as his Belgium side progress at the European Championships.