Just who does Ruben Amorim think he is? Why Liverpool have DODGED a bullet

One question has been on my mind this week as the Liverpool manager search took its frequent and improbable turns. Just who does Ruben Amorim think he is?

When I first clocked the news snippets that the Sporting CP manager was headed to London - by private jet no less - alongside his agent to meet West Ham, I assumed it was bull. There was no other explanation. 

Are we really supposed to believe that a manager of a team at the top of the league, going for the double for that matter, in the week of a possible title-deciding game against an arch-rival, would be taking his talents - however briefly - to a mid-table team in another league to discuss a job offer?

Pull the other one. 

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Nothing about it made sense, not least that it was “only” West Ham. Had it been Barcelona or Bayern Munich, I might have understood. But West Ham?

As the afternoon unfolded, somehow it appeared to be true. There was the flight tracking data, there was a grainy picture of Amorim and his agent Raul Costa on the tarmac at the airport. 

Holy moly, Ruben Amorim was really heading to London to talk to West Ham. Odemwingie writ large. 

Ruben Amorim next Liverpool manager

Ruben Amorim during UEFA Europa League 23/24 game between Sporting CP and SK Sturm Graz at Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal. Maciej Rogowski Lisbon Estadio Jose Alvalade Portugal Copyright: xMaciejxRogowskix sporting-sturm-23-24-full-67

Bear in mind David Moyes is still in a job and still has a contract and should probably have some choice words for the Portuguese upstart should he ever meet him. 

And back he came early on Tuesday morning, a mere six hours after landing in London, blearly eyed and his tail between his legs, telling the press that he would see them Saturday and nothing else.

Amorim's head is not in the game

It is alleged that Hugo Viana - the Sporting CP sporting director - and club president - Frederico Varandas - approved this little jaunt. Given that Sporting had two full days off following their weekend win against Vitoria Guimaraes, Amorim was indeed entitled to spend his time off however he liked. 

But surely they can’t be happy with this?

Sporting are two wins from the title, which would be Amorim’s second, and are into the Taca de Portugal (Portuguese cup) final, where they will play Porto at the end of May. 

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This Sunday they play Porto in an away game at the Estadio do Dragao, which could actually see them claim the Liga Portugal. 

What kind of message does a trip like this send? To the club, to the players, to the supporters?

Your manager’s head is not in the game; it’s on his next move. 

Players look up to managers and want them to facilitate their bonds. If he’s already checking out, that feeling is contagious. 

Arne Slot Feyenoord

Arne Slot Feyenoord

And what about down the line, when things get sticky? To see that your manager is looking to swing to the next platform when things are going swimmingly doesn't bode well for when times are tough. It was a failure of a character test.

And then we get to the so-called ulterior motive for the trip. 

Amorim's amateur trip backfires

According to Bruno Andrade, the most respected voice on Portuguese football, Amorim and his agent concocted the trip in an attempt to exert pressure on Liverpool. Yes, you read that correctly. 

Ruben Amorim was unhappy that the Reds were dragging their feet over offering him Jurgen Klopp’s job. And, in an effort to shock them into moving faster, opened negotiations with West Ham instead. 

Amateur hour. Talk about a backfire. 

There was probably no real need for Amorim to visit London even if the trip was geared towards landing him the West Ham job. Don’t they have Zoom in Portugal?

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The Irons are believed to have offered the 39-year-old more money and more control than he would have got at Liverpool. Well if that’s the truth, crack on Ruben. 

As is abundantly clear by the imminent appointment of Arne Slot, Liverpool have a budget and a structure in mind and this time they are not prepared to rip it up. 

And, even if they were to do so, are the indications that Amorim is the right man to accommodate? With all due respect, the jury is still out. 

Jury is still out on Amorim

He is about to win his second Primeira Liga title. Good, well done. It puts him on par with Jose Mourinho for a start in that respect.

But Jose had also won the UEFA Cup and the bloody CHAMPIONS LEAGUE with Porto before Chelsea opened the cheque book. 

“[Rafa] Benitez won the Spanish league with Valencia and the Uefa Cup. And I won the Portuguese league, Uefa Cup and Champions League,” the Special One told Sam Wallace of the Telegraph earlier this week

“So to come to England then it was not just enough that you did something nice in a smaller league. Or that your goalkeeper builds from the back with backheels. What you needed to do was something really big to open that door.”

Even Andre Villas-Boas managed to win the Europa League along with the league title and Portuguese cup before jumping ship for Stamford Bridge. 

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

Right now Amorim could well end up like Rui Vitoria and Vitor Pereira, two-time Liga-winning managers for Benfica and Porto respectively, who have gone on to achieve not all that much since leaving their native shores. 

It’s hard to gauge the level. Sometimes a coach or a player can look like a world beater in Portugal and very average outside that. 

Don't forget Fabio Silva moved to Wolves for €40 million and that the all-time record outgoing transfer for a player from the Portuguese league is Joao Felix. 

Liverpool dodge Amorim bullet

Who knows? Amorim might not end up the second coming of Jose Mourinho after all. 

He’s not yet 40 and didn’t have that amazing of a player career. Maybe his eyes are lighting up at being described as the next big thing and the sums of money that go along with that moniker. 

His behaviour this week certainly suggests so. 

And now comes the news that Amorim will pledge his future to Sporting, for another season at least. 

Can it really be described as a U-turn if you’ve run out of options elsewhere?

Liverpool might have dodged a bullet this week and for that they’ve got to thank Ruben Amorim and the agent who helped him cook up his masterplan. 

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