Murat Yakin: Tottenham’s saviour or a Gross misjudgement?

Following the embarrassment of a 5-0 defeat on home soil against Liverpool, Tottenham dismissed André Villas-Boas from his position as manager of the north London club on Monday.

Ever since, a host of names have been coined as potential replacements for the Portuguese head coach – some logical and some ludicrous.

Despite the likes of Fabio Capello and Michael Laudrup being linked with the vacant position, there has also been a case building in the European press that FC Basel manager Murat Yakin could be amongst the candidates.

Given the St Jakob-Park chief’s nationality, comparisons to another Swiss former Tottenham manager are natural, with Yakin being likened to Christian Gross.

Although any potential appointment is still some distance off, would Yakin be a success at White Hart Lane or follow in his countryman’s less-than illustrious footsteps?

The progression of Basel as a club has been notable over the last couple of years, with Yakin having a significant part in the side’s positive evolution.

Domestically, the St Jakob-Park have been the dominant force in Swiss football of late, winning the last four top-flight titles, with Yakin spearheading the achievement this year.

Murat YakinHowever, it has been on the continent that Basel have raised their fair share of eyebrows in recent seasons, as despite the club’s modest means they have excelled in both the Champions League and Europa League – with plenty of English scalps during their journey.

The Swiss champions may well have been eliminated from Europe’s top tournament this season at the group stage, but it was not before they beat José Mourinho’s Chelsea both home and away.

Spurs have also had a close encounter with Basel and Yakin recently, with the north Londoners eliminated from the Europa League at the quarter-final stage by the Swiss side last term.

At 39 years old, Yakin seemingly has a bright future ahead of him, with a taste of success and European football under his belt already in his short-lived managerial career. However, the same could have been said about Villas-Boas before he moved to England, and he has since endured dismissal from two Premier League teams in the space of less than two years.

The ill-fated tenure of Christian Gross at the north London club over nine months in 1997 and 1998 will serve as a warning to his countryman, as will the lack of patience with Villas-Boas. Gross was scrutinised by the British media, while AVB claimed that English journalists showed him a lack of respect.

With the summit of the Premier League as tight as at any point in the recent memory, whoever the next Tottenham manager is has a substantial job on his hands. The level of expenditure on the squad and lofty ambitions of Champions League football mean that there is very little room for error.

Yakin certainly fits the ilk of a manager that has all the qualities to manage in the Premier League, but whether he would be given the time or respect needed to lead Tottenham to the top four remains distinctly questionable.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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