Jose Mourinho was reportedly reluctant to bring Gareth Bale back to Tottenham amid claims his stance on the Welshman caused a divide between the Portuguese and chairman Daniel Levy.
With Mourinho having been fired on Monday, talk has already switched to his successor. Indeed, the latest name linked with the hotseat is former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri. However, the finer details over what led to Mourinho’s demise also make a fascinating story. And it seems a disagreement over Bale proved the beginning of the end.
Bale is out of contract with Real Madrid in 2022. He is currently on loan at Tottenham after a move that was designed to help him rediscover his better form. It hasn’t all gone to plan, though, despite some glimpses of his quality. And Spurs’ chances of keeping him have always been in doubt.
Indeed, it has now emerged that Mourinho was reluctant to bring Bale back to the club in the first place. The Daily Telegraph reports the signing was very much on Levy’s insistence and Mourinho accepted the move against his better judgement. Mourinho even went as far as telling Levy he was against his return. However, the paper insists that was just one of a number of disagreements the pair had at Tottenham.
At the heart of Levy’s concerns were the alarming way Tottenham fell off the pace. With Spurs top of the table in December, they have since suffered a poor run of form. It leaves the club desperately scrambling to secure a top-six finish.
Concerns were also being raised by Levy over the style of football. The Telegraph claims Levy was growing increasingly concerned that Mourinho’s style would not be accepted by fans once they were allowed to return to stadiums.
As such, they state Levy began to think about sacking Mourinho back in February. However, it wasn’t until the journey home from Goodison Park on Friday when Levy made up his mind.
What followed over the weekend were talks over his severance package. Mourinho had until the summer of 2023 left on his contract. As such, Spurs had to pay an enormous amount to get the coach out of his terms early.
Previous reports have speculated at the figure, with £34.8million touted at one point.
According to The Independent, however, Spurs will fork out £15million to end Mourinho’s tenure.
That exit was announced on Monday morning with the briefest of statements from Levy.
Souness has reason for Mourinho sack
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness, meanwhile, has another take on why he thinks Mourinho was axed.
Souness told Sky Sports News: “I’m surprised at the timing given they have a cup final this weekend. But something has gone on that has brought it to a head. I don’t think he [Daniel Levy] is too happy at their league form. They’re sixth now and they’ve been in and out the top four. It looks tough for them though.
“I think – and I’m second guessing – Jose is a top manager, an experienced manager – he’s got so frustrated with some of the players. I think in that situation – and I’ve been there myself when you get frustrated and have tried everything – you end up having harsh words and falling out with them. And if you end up falling out with one, you end up falling out with four or five, if not more. That ends up getting back to the powers that be, and then there’s only one outcome – and that’s the manager has to go.
Mourinho was appointed in November 2019 to help Tottenham end their long trophy drought. With the club ready to face Manchester City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, it was put to Souness if Mourinho should have been given more time.
“It’s very unusual that you sack a manager in the week of a cup final. And as I say, something’s brought it to a head, there’s been an incident. It’s forced the chairman to make the decision, he’s made the decision. Does that improve their chances of winning next weekend? Who knows – we’ll have to wait and find out.”