LONDON: Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed to the jinxed managerial role at Tottenham Hotspur.
The ex-Southampton boss has been handed a five-year contract and takes over from Tim Sherwood who was promoted from youth development manager in succession to Andres Villas-Boas in midseason.
Pochettino was a controversial appointment at St Mary’s in January 2013 in place of Nigel Adkins. His possession-based, attacking game and focus on home-grown talent soon won over fans and Saints managed their best Premier finish of eighth.
He said: “This is a club with tremendous history and prestige and I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be its head coach. There is an abundance of top-class talent at the club and I am looking forward to starting work with the squad.
“Tottenham Hotspur has a huge following across the world and I have great admiration for the passion the fans show for this team. We are determined to give the supporters the kind of attacking football and success that we are all looking to achieve.”
Pochettino had a year remaining on his deal at St Mary’s and has taken with him assistant manager Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D’Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez.
It is unclear what those appointments mean for Spurs’ existing backroom team, while there have been reports questioning the future of technical director Franco Baldini who was responsible for spending the £90m raised by the sale last summer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
The demand for Pochettino is the same as it was for Villas-Boas – securing Spurs a top-four finish.
Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Mauricio I believe we have a head coach who, with his high energy, attacking football, will embrace the style of play we associate with our club.
“He has a proven ability to develop each player as an individual, whilst building great team spirit and a winning mentality. We have a talented squad that Mauricio is excited to be coaching next season.”
Pochettino’s Southampton future has been in doubt since the January departure of divisive executive chairman Nicola Cortese, having last summer claimed he would follow the Italian out of the club should he leave.
The former defender did stay on at Saints after Cortese exited but only for a matter of months, with the club concluding negotiations with Spurs on Tuesday after accepting his resignation.
Malky Mackay, Steve McClaren, Murat Yakin and Michael Laudrup are among frontrunners to replace Pochettino, while the departure will see speculation intensify over the future of Southampton’s players.
Highly-rated teenager Luke Shaw and playmaker Adam Lallana have attracted interest from Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, while Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Jay Rodriguez have also been linked with a move away.