Did Tottenham miss the boat with managerial appointment?
As the White Hart Lane hierarchy embark on their quest for a new manager, their Merseyside counterparts are sitting comfortably with their new man already in place. Former Swansea City boss Brendan Rodgers has been trusted to fill the Anfield hot seat but as Tottenham Hotspur start the long and arduous task of interviewing the same set of names Liverpool just finished perusing, has Rodgers signed away his future prematurely?
Naturally the aspiring Northern Irishman will be eager to embrace his new role at such a historic club but Spurs have leapfrogged Liverpool in the Premier League recently and currently possess a better squad of players. Rodgers also earned his glowing reputation by playing beautiful football, something more commonly attributed to the North London side despite Liverpool’s decades of success. Former manager Harry Redknapp blended a group of skilful players into an attractive passing side while Kenny Dalglish’s efforts created a more workmanlike feel that focused more on British directness than European flair. If Rodgers wanted to walk into a readymade Swansea upgrade then Tottenham would probably have been his preferred choice. Still he’s excited by the potential project the Anfield club have in store for him and is unlikely to regret such a hypothetical situation when he has an enticing opportunity ahead of him. He told the BBC:
“This is long-term, that was important to me, to come into a project over a number of years.
“For me, the attraction is to defend the principles of this great club — offensive football with tactical discipline and to retain the values of the club.
“That was the attraction, along with the history of the club.
So Rodgers is embracing his new surroundings and with the motivation of returning Liverpool to their former glory, any prospect of filling the White Hart Lane dugout has effectively diminished. Spurs are now reportedly interviewing familiar names like Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Martinez who were both considered by the Fenway Sports Group prior to Rodgers’ appointment. Given how suitable the Northern Irishman would’ve been for the role in North London, did Spurs miss a trick but not appointing Rodgers sooner?
After all he was tipped to replace Redknapp back in April when the wheeler dealer was odds on to fill Fabio Capello’s England shoes. Had Chairman Daniel Levy been more accommodating then Redknapp could well have been coaching in Poland and Ukraine this summer but instead Tottenham’s season petered out and their former boss is playing the role of pundit not coach. A Tottenham insider told the Mirror:
“There’s been an increasing belief for months that a parting was inevitable. We could sense that there was a different agenda for the board and the manager.
“The England speculation did affect people. It seemed it was just a matter of time when Harry left to replace Capello.”
Levy had lined Rodgers up to replace Redknapp if he eventually accepted the England post but the FA’s decision to appoint Roy Hodgson left Spurs in limbo. With Redknapp still contracted to the club and Rodgers then accepting the Liverpool post it was deemed the best solution would be for the former West Ham and Portsmouth boss to see out the final year of his deal. Reports suggest Redknapp then changed agents and pushed for a longer deal so Levy nipped the situation in the bud meaning Spurs now find themselves without a manager or their preferred replacement. Names like former favourite Jurgen Klinsmann may get fans talking but is was the credentials of Rodgers that suited them best. Villas-Boas is currently the odds on favourite but his stock has fallen since his failure at Chelsea while Martinez seems to have committed himself to Wigan despite being interviewed for nearly every position under the sun this summer.
While Tottenham may not be able to get their ‘most wanted’ in Rodgers, they offer an exciting challenge for prospective employees and still possess enough of an attraction to draw some of the best names in Europe. France manager Laurent Blanc and former Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick are some of the other names being linked and with so many talented individuals vying for such a coveted position, it would appear they may not suffer too much without Rodgers. After all Liverpool’s owners might have more money to invest but their squad is in much more pressing need of an overhaul than Tottenham. Whoever the new man turns out to be, he will inherit a better team than Rodgers currently has and if players like Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale can be convinced to stay then they can challenge for silverware immediately instead of having to build a progressive project.
Rodgers was highly sought after because Swansea played a brand of football that the majority of Premier League teams would’ve been happy to replicate. He perhaps could’ve implemented his philosophy a lot quicker at Spurs but Liverpool will provide him with the suitable challenge his fledgling managerial career needs. Meanwhile Levy’s search for success means Tottenham must go back square one and while they may be ahead of Liverpool currently, fail to find a suitable replacement and some envious glares will be heading out of North London come the end of the season.
Do you think Brendan Rodgers would’ve been better suited at Spurs? Who do you want in charge at White Hart Lane? Will Liverpool finish higher than Tottenham next season?
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