José Mourinho has said a lot of provocative things over the years. There was the time he dubbed himself “a special one,” and the time he dubbed Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger “a specialist in failure.” During a rough patch as Manchester United’s manager in 2018, he held up three fingers to denote the three English Premier League titles he had won and noted that it was more “than the other 19 managers together” before storming out of a news conference demanding “respect, respect, respect.”

But one jab during the tail end of his second tenure as Chelsea’s manager was less remembered. Ahead of a match against Tottenham Hotspur, Mourinho revealed that the North London club had made an attempt to hire him after his first departure from Chelsea in 2007. He couldn’t take the job for two reasons: His exit clause prohibited from coaching in England for two years and he wouldn’t have considered the Tottenham position anyway.

“No, because I love Chelsea supporters too much,” he said.

Fast forward to Wednesday, and Mourinho is Tottenham’s new manager.

Mourinho replaces Mauricio Pochettino, who was fired after five-plus seasons of mostly overachievement, a tenure that was capped by Tottenham’s surprise finish as Champions League runner-up last season. But that run through the European club championship masked disappointment on the domestic side of things: Tottenham has won 3 of 12 Premier League matches this season and sits in 14th place. Since February, it has earned only 25 points from 24 matches.

“In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football,” Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement. “He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”

In the modern Premier League, Champions League qualification and the massive financial windfall that comes from it is a must for any team that considers itself a power, and Tottenham had accomplished that in the previous four seasons under Pochettino. In 2017-18, Tottenham received a 61 million euro payment from UEFA and didn’t even make it out of the Champions League’s first knockout round. For making the final last season, Tottenham is expected to bring in more than 80 million euros from UEFA.

And considering its gleaming new stadium, which opened in April after the team borrowed heavily to pay for its construction, and the spiraling costs of top-flight player salaries, Tottenham needs every cent. But it sits 11 points out of Champions League qualification at the moment (the top four teams in the Premier League standings earn a spot), so Pochettino had to go.

Mourinho certainly has the bona fides, with his two Champions League titles and three Premier League championships at Chelsea (he also more recently managed Manchester United, to less acclaim). But he also has yet to spend more than 3 1/2 consecutive years with one club, his elevated self-worth grating on players, team owners and reporters. His Tottenham contract is almost exactly that long, through the 2022-23 season.

“I am excited to be joining a Club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” Mourinho said in the team statement. “The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

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