Last week, we wrote a rather lengthy article looking at the claims that Inter Milan had contacted Jorge Mendes in order for him to have a quiet word with Antonio Conte in order to convince him to leave Stamford Bridge and return to Italy.
Bottom line is, we didn’t believe it, and we couldn’t quite get our head around why, money aside, the Chelsea manager would want to move to the San Siro.
The same applies for Mauricio Pochettino, who, since Antonio Conte has made it clear he isn’t planning on leaving London just yet, has allegedly become the Serie A club’s priority for their vacant managerial role.
Looking at the two men, they are in similar situations: things are going well, the team is responding to their ideas, and they appear to have the full backing of their club’s owners.
Why, this summer, Pochettino would consider moving to a club that has struggled for many years is beyond us, but Corriere dello Sport on Tuesday seem to think there’s a 30% chance of it happening, with Inter Milan planning a meeting with the Tottenham manager’s entourage to try and convince him to switch allegiances.
Their argument? Money, and lots of it.
The Italian newspaper report Inter Milan would be prepared to offer Mauricio Pochettino a contract worth €10m/year, as well as paying Tottenham the €5m release clause they say is in his deal.
That’s it. That’s all they have. There’s not even a mention of a blank cheque in the transfer market.
In our Conte/Mendes article, we said: “Having already fired two managers this season, who’s to say Antonio Conte will be given time at the San Siro next year?
“Despite finishing fourth in 2015/16 under Roberto Mancini, their best season since 2011, the new owners replaced him with Frank De Boer, who lasted a grand total of 11 league games.
“Unless you were looking for a new job, or wanted an upgrade on your current one, would you join a company with such a volatile environment? Probably not.
“Antonio Conte isn’t in either of those positions. He seems happy at a club where things are going very well, and only a disagreement of the tallest order with the board could turn that around e.g. what happened at Juventus.”
All of this also applies to Mauricio Pochettino, who has managed to take Tottenham from top-four outsiders to title contenders, even if Chelsea’s freak season under Conte did make their achievements this year appear less impressive.
The Argentinean manager himself has made it clear he is aiming for the Premier League title next season, even if switching to Wembley as their home ground could make that goal a tad harder to reach.
Furthermore, Spurs don’t need to sell, meaning they are likely to keep their core group, and few clubs in England are more attractive than them these days, making them an ideal destination for a lot of top talent around Europe.
Yes, their financial appeal might not be as great as the likes of Manchester United or Manchester City, yet a lot of players won’t be looking for just a big payslip.
They’ll want somewhere where they can express their talent under a manager who has now proven himself to be one of the best in the Premier League.
Pochettino also has Champions League football to look forward to, while Inter Milan aren’t even expected to be in Europe next season following their rather disastrous season.
Going from Espanyol to Southampton was a logical career step. So was moving from St Mary’s to White Hart Lane.
Six years ago, deciding to leave Tottenham in order to join Inter Milan would have made sense.
These days, it simply doesn’t.