Sports writers are in mourning today as Harry Redknapp has been given the heave-ho by Daniel Levy at Spurs, but who out of these four should replace him at White Hart Lane?
We all saw it coming. The way our season fettered out without achieving Champion’s League qualification, the doleful look in Harry’s eyes as he sits in Poland with Hansen and Shearer, and now the news that we’ve all been expecting for the last week – Harry Redknapp’s reign as the purveyor of the finest football in the Premier League is over. But there’s no time for sentiment, we need to get someone in fast or else risk having our best players picked off, thereby undoing all of Redknapp’s work over the past four seasons. These are the front runners so far:
David Moyes (Everton)
The steely eyed Scot is the third longest serving manager in the Premiership, behind Ferguson and Wenger, and you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who has a bad word to say about him, unless they’re from the red half of Merseyside that is. Bookmakers are making him an early favourite for the job, but is he ready to make the step up?
The first thing he’d have to deal with is the weight of expectation that coming to a club like Spurs would bring. At Everton Moyes works with a limited budget, limited resources, and the expectation of the fans is measured accordingly. Evertonians don’t expect the Champion’s League, they don’t really expect the Europa League, all they really hope for is a decent cup run and maybe to do the double over Liverpool. Moyes has exceeded these expectations on a number of occasions, but how would he deal with a stadium of fans who will be demanding a top four finish every year? Fans who think we could challenge for the title?
Then there’s the question of budgets. Moyes has a decent record at signing players for comparatively modest amounts, Nikica Jelavic already looks a bargain and Marouane Fellaini has more than paid back the £15million or so Everton shelled out on him, but at Tottenham he’ll have to set his sights higher and start playing with bigger numbers, which would be an added pressure.
On the plus side, Moyes is a good coach and his sides are guaranteed to fight to the end and perform efficiently. He’s also great at working with youth, as evidence by the career of Leon Osman, one of the most underrated midfielders in the league, and so his hiring would surely see more Tottenham youngsters getting a chance in the side, as well as ironing out the fitness issues in the side which contributed to our dismal end to the season.
Style of play: 7/10
Previous success: 6/10
Long-term sustainability: 8/10
Andre Villas-Boas (No club)
The Portuguese tactician arrived at Chelsea last summer with high hopes placed upon his young shoulders. Tasked with revolutionising the style of football at Stamford Bridge having enjoyed a highly successful season with FC Porto, many fans were excited about the appointment of Villas-Boas, dubbed the Special One MK: II.
He got off to a slow but steady start with the Blues, but the expectations for him to succeed were always going to be high, especially with the season he had just overseen with the Portuguese champions. Owner Roman Abramovich believed the 34-year-old was the man to bring about a new era in West London, and can you blame him? Young, clearly talented and brought in for the long-term benefits of the club.
Yet, not all went to plan. Slowly, Villas-Boas began to lose the backing of the dressing room and with the board becoming tetchy; it wasn’t long before the young manager found himself out of work. Coming into Chelsea, having only proven himself on the continent for one season, not including spells with the British Virgin Islands and Académica, was never going to be the easiest of tasks.
Having been recommended by Jose Mourinho for the role, AVB must be doing something right
Attempting to rid the ‘old guard’ of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba from their imperious positions too soon and too swiftly after his arrival proved to be his downfall. Abramovich wanted the new man to rid the more senior players from the squad, but unfortunately for Villas-Boas he went the wrong way about it, opting to axe the trio prematurely, causing disharmony in the Blues camp rather than slowly ease them out of the squad.
This isn’t to say his time in England, as brief as it was, was a total waste. The experience will stand him in good stead and having been recommended by Jose Mourinho for the role, he must be doing something right. At such a young age, taking over a team of Chelsea’s stature with the personalities in the dressing room, it was never going to be an easy feat.
At Spurs, the level of pressure placed upon him would be nowhere near as high. Yes, there will undoubtedly be expectations to succeed, as with any manager at any job, but that will be significantly lessened at White Hart Lane compared to Stamford Bridge. Should he arrive, the backing of the board will be imperative to his success in North London and having received the blessing of Mourinho, the higher-ups would be wise to through their weight behind Villas-Boas, if he is, as rumoured in some quarters, set to be announced as Redknapp’s replacement.
The style of football he wants to instil is exactly what the fans want to see at White Hart Lane, whilst the chance to build a team from the bottom is exactly the vision that Levy and Enic want to see come to life with the club. If Redknapp is indeed set to be sacked, Villas-Boas is the man that should be brought in to succeed him.
Style of play: 8/10
Previous success: 6/10
Long-term sustainability: 10/10
Fabio Capello (No club)
The man who threw Spurs’ season into jeopardy when he resigned from his role as England manager following the John Terry scandal back in February, Capello has been out of work since his decision to step down from the role. Many questioned his capabilities to manage at international level and, to an extent, they weren’t far wrong.
The Italian was never going to excel in a position where he doesn’t have regular contact with his playing staff. What makes the 65-year-old such a successful manager is his disciplinary approach to his previous roles in club football. The credentials don’t lie either; 16 trophies across Serie A and La Liga – of which two were revoked during his two-years with Juventus as a result of the Calciopoli scandal back in 2006 – during his 20 years of management.
As mentioned, the reason he failed to manage England was his lack of face-to-face time with the players. Whereas he had the ability to stamp his authority and get his tactical ideas across to the playing staff in the long run at club level, these were wasted on the international stage when players would be forced to quickly adjust from one approach to another in relatively quick succession.
Capello comes with a scintillating CV having managed AC Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid in the past.
A major flaw of Spurs is their inept inability to defend even the simplest of set pieces. Capello has previously built teams with a solid defence, something that the North London side have lacked at various points in recent seasons. However, his arrival would need to see the wage budget shifted slightly, with the FA reported to have been paying the Italian £6m a year during his four years as England manager.
Nevertheless, Capello possesses a sterling club record and his arrival, if it comes down to it, could be an astute one by Tottenham. The football on offer may not be the most eye catching, but it certainly reaps the rewards. If Capello was, ironically, brought in to succeed Redknapp at Spurs, he would bring with him a winning mentality, something the club desperately lack if they are to move to the next level, and comes with a scintillating CV having managed AC Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid in the past.
The one critique could be his age, with the Italian almost a year older than Redknapp. If Levy wants to build a team for the future with a long-term manager, Capello wouldn’t be the way to go, unless he feels he can continue over the next five or so years, ala 73-year-old Giovanni Trappattoni. Nevertheless, a born winner, a strict disciplinarian, a man that loves London and is accustomed to English football, Capello could be exactly what Spurs need.
Style of play: 6/10
Previous success 9/10
Long-term sustainability: 4/10
Roberto Martinez (Wigan)
The manager on the list with the most Premier League experience, Bobby Martinez is regularly been linked with a move away from Wigan Athletic on a yearly basis. Last summer it was Aston Villa, before he opted to stay at the DW Stadium, whereas just the past week it was with the vacant Liverpool role before Brendan Rodgers was appointed.
Martinez is one manager that will, one day, manage at the highest level. He plays the right brand of football, but just needs the right team to really showcase his managerial credentials. Yes, Wigan have regularly come perilously close to relegation, but credit must go to the 38-year-old for keeping such a small club up each and every time.
The football he has his team playing is exactly how many fans want to see Spurs play and it is no surprise some have called for him to be appointed once Redknapp eventually departs White Hart Lane. The only problem is some still don’t believe he is ready to make the step from Wigan to a club that is hoping to be challenging for a top four spot and, hopefully one day, the title.
If he were to be brought in with a senior director of football, Jupp Heynckes or Louis Van Gaal, for example, it may help to bring him on as a manager and would indeed favour the continental model that Levy appears to prefer
His age, 38, would be perfect for Levy’s ideal long-term planning and, as mentioned, the style of football would certainly appease the fans. His loyalty to Wigan could also be perceived as a positive sign to some, with Martinez often turning down the overtures of the bigger club’s to remain with the Latics.
If he were to be brought in with a senior director of football, Jupp Heynckes or Louis Van Gaal, for example, it may help to bring him on as a manager and would indeed favour the continental model that Levy appears to prefer. This would further enhance Spurs’ chances of bringing in the major talent, with the bigger name ex-manager working on the transfers, and will be able to consult with Martinez over possible managerial conundrums that could arise.
Style of play: 8/10
Previous success: 4/10
Long-term sustainability: 9/10
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