Swansea City head coach Steve Cooper has emerged as a surprise contender to replace Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur, report The Telegraph.
The UEFA Champions League winner was given his marching orders from the London club yesterday after just 17 months in charge, and it came less than 24 hours after news broke of the European Super League plans that Spurs are a part of.
Ryan Mason will be in charge for the rest of the season but the process has already begun to find a new man to lead them from the 2021/22 campaign and beyond, with The Telegraph reporting months ago that RB Leipzig’s Julien Nagelsmann was the top target of Daniel Levy to replace Mourinho eventually.
Other names touted include Gareth Southgate, Roberto Martinez and Scott Parker, but Cooper’s name has also emerged in the pack.
This is Cooper’s second season at the Swans and he’s set to lead them into the play-offs for the second campaign in a row – barring a winning run of form and a collapse from Watford which would mean automatic promotion – but would a jump to Spurs this early in his senior coaching career be a step too far?
Let’s look at three qualities the 41-year-old could bring to Spurs if he was indeed the man to replace Mourinho at the helm.
Tottenham fans would probably like to see more youngsters come through their academy and into the first-team – Dele Alli has been the most recent youngster to come in and make an immediate impact however he was purchased from MK Dons.
The only young player really involved in the first-team squad right now is Japhet Tanganga, but with Cooper’s track record of coaching youngsters for England at the under-16 and 17 levels, we could see a faster development of Spurs’ best young stars.
He was able to get the best tune out of Rhian Brewster at Swansea last season and he’s brought academy graduates of their own in Ben Cabango and Liam Cullen into first-team prominence – maybe he can do the same with the likes of Dane Scarlett who is rising to prominence.
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The football under Mourinho could be quite dour at times – in certain games he would sit back and hope for the best, and at times he would accept a draw before the match had even kicked off.
Cooper likes to play out from the back though and he also likes his players to attack – a key feature of his systems are the wing-backs really getting forward which sees the likes of Connor Roberts and Jake Bidwell always dangerous when the Swans go in search of goals.
We know that Spurs have some elite attacking talents – Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and many others are so dangerous in-front of goal when on-song, and Cooper could perhaps get the best out of all that talent with his philosophy.
For most of this season, Mourinho would stick to his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1, whilst the season prior he was more tempted to switch to a three centre-back system on occasions.
A three centre-back formation has been the one for Cooper this season at Swansea – if Tottenham were to switch to that then they’d probably have to make some more signings as the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier have been less-than impressive this season.
When things have gone wrong though, Cooper has gone back to the 4-2-3-1 that worked so well last season in getting the Swans to the play-offs, proving that he does indeed have two different plans that he tries to develop.
Of course he could have more in his locker that we aren’t aware of yet, but he’s not even completed two seasons as a senior head coach yet – he’s still learning but he’s already proven to have a lot of tactical nous.