Back to Square one and another search for a manager… options!
By Don Scully
A lot has been written about the competence of Daniel Levy (while overseeing the team), even though there are some who are loyal-blind supporters who can see nothing wrong with his Chairmanship. Still, whichever way you look at it, the saga keeps rolling along while those on the side-lines shake their heads in sadness.
So far, we’ve gone through and rejected (or they rejected us) Gennaro Gattuso, Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino and Paulo Fonseca, who have all been linked with the Spurs job. Of course, that is without including Brendan Rogers, Mason, Harry Potter (sorry, not that Potter, but the Seagulls one), Scott Parker and a few others who were suggested. I’ve also heard of speculation about approaching Mr Bean, but he turned down the offer (he didn’t want to be made to look silly). So, as I said, it is becoming a mad long-summer saga, with plenty of Agatha Christie plots, lots of twists and turns, so many suspects lined up to be shot instantly down.
The most hilarious was Gennaro Gattuso, who was the latest name linked with the vacancy, but now Gattuso is no longer being considered because of supporters outrage. The whole process has been farcical. Making us the laughing stock of the footballing world.
It’s over two months since Mourinho’s dismissal (19th April) and just under two months until we open the season against Manchester City on 14 August. Still, we are no closer to replacing Mourinho.
Of course, if you look at what is coming out of Tottenham, their officials are saying that everything is going as planned and nowhere as disorganized as it appears from the outside. From the people I know, who work within the walls of Tottenham, it is precisely that, chaotic and muddled. One fraction wants this, while another wants something else. And, of course, Levy has already overruled his new Director of Football. Total confusion and muddle.
The joke is, and if you know how negotiations work, Levy could claim not to have made an official offer to anyone (official, no, offer, yes), and therefore could claim that they have not been turned down. Of course, that would smack of desperation.
As for Conte, who had an abundance of experience and had won trophies for various clubs, it was negligent in having ignored someone of his calibre who was available after quitting Inter. There is a record by the Beatles called “The fool on the hill,” and it doesn’t take any great imagination to put that tag with Levy & Lewis. What was so crazy, if they had done their homework, they needn’t have met him to decide that they could not work with him, whose demanding style exceeds most managers. I would have thought that this is precisely what you wanted… but then I don’t live in Levy’s Twilight zone mind.
There was some involvement from the club’s new technical director Fabio Paratici in these talks. And Paratici was undoubtedly a central figure in Thursday’s dramatic events, having identified Paulo Fonseca as Mourinho’s replacement, then dumping him when former Napoli boss Gattuso became available, only for that to collapse as well. The Crazy World of Daniel Levy.
The problem with Fonseca was a divergence in the styles of play each felt suited the squad. Fonseca’ favoured an attacking style, while Paratici wanted a more defensive-minded team; in the end, a free-thinking manager was too much of a risk, and he had to be dismissed. Even though he thought he had a gentleman’s agreement to take over at the club. Silly sod, he also should have done his homework on Levy’s way of thinking and working.
So, what options does Levy have left? Roberto Martinez’s contract with Belgium runs to 2022 but can be easily broken if Levy wanted him. Now another name has come into the mix, Roberto Mancini, former Manchester City boss, but he extended his contract with Italy to 2026 barely a month ago. It is also reported that Levy has made soundings to Julian Nagelsmann, who joined Bayern Munich.
How about Julen Lopetegui’s who manages Sevilla? His contract was extended to 2024 in January, but he is another name that has been linked with the job in recent days. Ten Hag’s another possibility. Or how about Nuno Espirito Santo or Eddie Howe? Both are out of work and would jump at the job. Even though it has been rumoured that Espirito might sign for Everton.
Is money dictating events?
In a recent interview, Levy said: “We know where we were two years ago – the Champions League final. Are we satisfied where we are today? Absolutely not. We need to turn it around.” However, the chief source of funding for the £1bn Stadium project has been lost because of COVID and no fans in the stadium. Levy estimates £200m of non-recoverable revenue has been lost. He said, of all Premier League clubs, the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have been “more severe” for Spurs than anyone else, and the timing of it “could not have been worse. We have to be realistic,” he then went on and added. “We will have to be careful over the next coming years. We have to be prudent. Our duty is to protect the club.”
So, who will suffer? As Levy says, if resources are stretched, compensation for a manager reduces the figure to spend on wages and transfer fees. And if that is Levy’s thinking, it will get worse. We can’t compete with the likes of Chelski, United, City or even Liverpool, and I am sure that the Gunners are thinking that this is an excellent opportunity to get one over the old enemy and move above us.
How I see things (possibly!)
I think it will be several years before we get back into the Champions League, and we could even struggle for a Europa place. Another option would be if Levy and Lewis sell up and sell to somebody who will invest in the team and bring us back the Glory days.
By Don Scully
I have been following Spurs since the sixties and work in London. My current job is as a professional writer (working in the media), and I have work connections to the club and had previously worked for them. Including working at the old White Hart Lane stadium.
I also have my own blog and have written for the SpursWeb app & its website.