This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Even before the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, rumours were rife over who would take over from the under-pressure Argentinian.
Eventually, the pressure told, though while Spurs acted swiftly to secure his replacement in Jose Mourinho, they may have overlooked a potential candidate that could have provided them with a more long-term solution to their problems.
While not a serial trophy winner, the credentials of one-time would-be successor Eddie Howe’s rise in the managerial world are there for all to see, having guided Bournemouth to the top tier of English football and kept them there ever since.
The reasons for sacking Pochettino were damning, with Spurs in 14th place and winning on just five occasions this season by the time he walked out of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the final time.
In hiring Mourinho – a man who has not lasted longer than three years at a club since returning to English football in 2013 – Spurs potentially risk their short-term future (as some pundits have already questioned the appointment).
By ignoring the merits of Howe, Spurs offered a departure from the way they selected Pochettino in the first place, who had arrived after turning Southampton into a solid top-half force after an eighth-placed finish during his one full season at St. Mary’s.
Howe has had plenty of admirers. They include former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, who backed the Cherries manager to ‘make a mark in English football’. Meanwhile, he was linked with the Arsenal job after Arsene Wenger stepped down and his achievements at the Vitality Stadium led Gary Lineker to label him as ‘the English Special One’.
Having taken Bournemouth from the brink of oblivion to becoming part of the Premier League furniture – with their lowest finish to date being 16th in their debut season – there is little more that Howe could realistically achieve (bar taking the Cherries into Europe, perhaps).
With the resources at Spurs already leading Mourinho to secure two wins from two, it could easily be argued that the once-vacant spot at Tottenham was the kind of step up that Howe’s CV warrants.
Time will tell, but should Mourinho’s Tottenham tenure end the way his previous Premier League jobs have finished, Daniel Levy may yet regret not giving Howe a call – especially if he spoils the Portuguese’s copybook this weekend.
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