COMMENT: Tottenham are running out of ideas in their quest to appoint a new manager but Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira represents an exciting opportunity worth considering.
Daniel Levy is quickly running out of suitable candidates for the current Tottenham managerial vacancy, yet there is one name lurking in the shadows that is certainly worth considering. Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira, who has been earmarked as the ‘next Jose Mourinho’ is a master of his craft, whose ceiling is simply yet to have been embraced by those watching on with admiration from Europe.
Paris Saint-Germain have been loosely linked with the 44-year-old Portuguese tactician in recent days as they prepare to part company with Christophe Galtier at the end of the season.
Reports in Brazil also indicated in February that Chelsea were keen to speak with Ferreira in the aftermath of Graham Potter’s sacking in February.
It was also speculated in recent months that super-agent Jorge Mendes attempted to lure Ferreira back to Europe to save relegation-battling Valencia, an invitation that was politely declined.
Yet scratch beneath the service and Ferreira is a coach that must be taken seriously, even though there will be reservations about whether his achievements in South American football can be replicated in a top European league.
He previously spent time coaching Sporting’s B side, Braga and PAOK before moving to Brazil with Palmeiras but his achievements in Sao Paulo must be taken seriously.
In three seasons, Ferreira has won two Copa Libertadores – the biggest prize in South American football – the Brazilian Serie A title, the Copa do Brasil, two Campeonato Paulistas, Recopa Sudamericana and Supercopa do Brasil.
He also led Palmeiras to the final of the Club World Cup in 2021 where his side were narrowly beaten by Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Yet it’s not just his ability to win trophies that makes him an enchanting candidate. He has man-management skills, a clear style of play with emphasis on counter-attacking football and a proven track record of developing talent.
Ferreira was fundamental to Danilo’s development, for instance and the young Brazilian midfielder was influential in Nottingham Forest’s survival bid following his £16million transfer in January.
Real Madrid’s new exciting teenage gem Endrick, who will join the club in 2024, Bournemouth’s Matias Vina and Porto’s Gabriel Veron also flourished under Ferreira’s leadership and guidance.
Tottenham supporters shouldn’t be disturbed by the comparisons between Ferreira and Mourinho, who has simply been his compatriot’s biggest reference point since he started his coaching venture.
While Ferreira has previously admitted himself that he took three Mourinho books on his honeymoon to study the Special One’s philosophy, he has sculpted his own footballing idea – one which has achieved trend-bucking results in Brazil.
He has since been keen to point out that it was Mourinho’s work with Porto and Chelsea (first stint) that really ignited the fire within.
“Our biggest reference is Mourinho,” Ferreira said in 2021 on behalf of his coaching staff. “For me, he is the top reference for Portuguese coaches, for what he won and in the clubs he won with. It’s one thing to win at big clubs, another to win at FC Porto, Chelsea.”
“When I got married, I took three Mourinho books for my honeymoon. My wife asked what I was going to do with the books. ‘There will be no time to study or read,’ she said [laughs].
“I was still a player and I took them to find out why they talked about him so much. Everyone talked about him and the FC Porto players said he gave them confidence that made them feel like Pele.”
Tottenham need a manager with key qualities, somebody that has a clear vision, can develop young players and work vibrantly within a structure.
Ferreira ticks every box and is said to be available for a small release clause, not too dissimilar to the one written into Arne Slot’s previous Feyenoord deal (since signed an extension).
Ange Postecoglou, Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann are still believed to be potential options in play but if they were well down Tottenham’s original wish-list, they should now delve further into alternatives.
Just because Ferreira works in Brazil, he shouldn’t be frowned upon. It’s only a matter of time before he is back coaching in Europe making waves.
It’s the kind of brave, left-field move that would create a quiet buzz and cautious optimism around north London following another painful season. It’s worth a roll of the dice.