Blame AAU basketball, blame the one-and-done generation, blame whatever you want, but what cannot be argued is that there is an international wave taking over the NBA. Increasingly it seems like the best and most influential players in the NBA are from countries and regions outside of the U.S.
Far-Fetched Friday: Tottenham Win Trophy in 2020-21
By: Jake Lofgren
For a team that is a part of England's "top six" clubs, Tottenham receives constant banter about their relatively empty trophy case. Compared to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea, Tottenham is not close to the level of silverware that the other clubs own. Tottenham's last trophy was the League Cup in the 2007/08 season, and before that, you'd have to go all the way back to their 1998/99 season for their next trophy where they were League Cup champions again. Over the last decade, Tottenham has had plenty of talented players and good squads, but have failed to win anything. Now it isn't like they haven't come close, they of course almost were Champions League winners last season, just narrowly losing to Liverpool in the final. At this point for Tottenham fans, it must almost feel like they are cursed.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday we look at the Chosen One.
About nine months ago, Tottenham shocked the football world when they decided to fire Mauricio Pochettino, one of the best managers in their club's history. Then they made an even more shocking decision by hiring Jose Mourinho. It is not every day in sports you see a team hire one of their biggest rivals' most iconic managers, but Tottenham decided that was the best direction for them. Pochettino carried Tottenham to a very high level, but the end product was never really there, starting the season in 14th place and losing to Bayern in the Champions League 7-2.
Clearly, the club was tired of the process Pochettino had gone through to build a decent squad, and it did start to feel like Pochettino had taken the club as far as he possibly could. So if the club wanted to hire a manager who could help them win a trophy, there weren't many better choices than Jose Mourinho.
If Mourinho doesn't win a trophy at Tottenham, they would become the first club Mourinho has ever failed to win some silverware with since 2002. Throughout his career, he has won eight league titles, two Champions Leagues, two Europa Leagues, among many others. Mourinho has more trophies than Tottenham throughout their entire history, so if you look at hiring from the perspective that they want to win something, Mourinho was a fantastic hire.
Although Mourinho wins trophies, there is also a lot of baggage that comes with Mourinho being your manager. Mourinho has never managed a club for longer than three seasons at one time. This is because of Mourinho's heavy focus on short-term success. Mourinho is such a decorated manager because he has taken control of some great squads and is great at leading these teams to success, but he is notorious for excluding young talent and risking the long-term success of the club for instant results.
Look no further than Mourinho's stint at Chelsea from 2013-15. In the 2013-14 season, Mourinho led Chelsea to a Premier League trophy and a League Cup. After that successful season, Mourinho went on to get a new four-year deal that was only ripped apart by mutual consent a few months later after losing his first 9 of 16 games in the Premier League. Chelsea also had two players in their squad named Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah, who were never really given a chance to develop under Mourinho, and instead sold off, only to become world-class players at rival clubs. Someone else was then relied upon to pick up the pieces, and Chelsea finished that season in 10th place.
That is the type of immediate effect I expect Mourinho to have on Tottenham next season. Unlike their London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, who have squads built around promising young players, Tottenham's designed the team to try and win now. Harry Kane, Heung Min Son, Toby Alderweireld, and Hugo Lloris are all around the age of 30 and only have a few years left to perform at their best. They have also made some good transfers, recently bringing in players like Steven Bergwijn, Tanguy Ndombele, and Giovani Lo Celso that look like they could contribute to a winning team.
Mourinho is a great manager, but taking this Tottenham team over Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League doesn't even seem like something "the special one" can accomplish. Although I do believe that Tottenham will win at least one of the Europa League, FA Cup, or League Cup trophies. After coming sixth I think Tottenham are in a great spot to win the Europa League next season. At this point, I even think Tottenham would be willing to sacrifice League success to have a bigger chance of winning a European trophy.
That said, I would be very nervous as a Tottenham fan if they don't win a trophy next season. Because knowing Mourinho's track record, he isn't going to be in charge of a long-term project, and whoever manages Spurs after him is probably gonna have to patch up some holes he leaves behind.
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