The ideal man to fill the Tottenham void?
In times of managerial change at a football club, the emphasis of discussion is so often based around surveying the wreckage, as opposed to cleaning it up. The goings on at White Hart Lane may fall short of a fully blown crisis, but unless swift and decisive action is taken, Daniel Levy’s decision to call time on Harry Redknapp could well descend into an extremely damaging episode for the club.
As the back pages went to town on the board and the fans that supported Levy’s decision, it appears difficult to not loose sight of the problems that existed at Spurs before the Redknapp debacle sparked into life. Regardless of whether Harry was to remain employed over the course of next season, there are massive issues to address in a squad that for all it’s footballing merit and attacking pedigree, is in need of some elementary changes.
If Tottenham could have simply frozen the starting XI of the 2011-12 season in time, then perhaps the search for a new manager would have not been greeted with such murmurings of fear and concern. Because as they proved, for at least half a season anyway, the first team have the genuine potential to throw a spanner in the works for at least a top three league finish. You would of thought that unless a really quite radically defensive minded tactician came in, it would be difficult to do too much damage to the expectation of a top-four push.
But as it is, the first XI and in fact a very large proportion of the entire squad, face an uncertain future at White Hart Lane. The Spurs attack has been in a large part, completely dismantled. Emmanuel Adebayor has gone back to Manchester City and it is looking increasing unlikely he will return. Louis Saha, never more than a stopgap figure, has been also been released, leaving Jermain Defoe as the only recognized striker at the club. Even if you ignore the fact that Defoe has voiced his intention to leave, there are massive decisions to be taken up front.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Defensively, an area that Spurs fans have never really felt truly comfortable with in years, is showing the sort of cracks that would see a building condemned. William Gallas is the at the wrong end of 34, Ryan Nelsen has been released, Michael Dawson remains injury prone and Ledley King cannot be relied on any longer, as harsh as that feels. As a footnote, Brad Friedel, despite his solidity, cannot go on at this level forever.
Despite what Redknapp supporters will cry, Luka Modric was just as likely to leave before he left his post and Gareth Bale’s future is unclear. If either go, the investment of whatever funds are raised, will be one of the most important transfer moves for the club in years. Make no mistake about it, whoever the new boss is at Spurs, they’re not inheriting the keys to some exquisite Ferarri that is ready to drive. They have some real, genuine work to do to get it up and running for next season.
And that is why the decision on the new boss must be swift, but also based on genuine, footballing principals; not a perceived ideology. There is a school of thought- and it has been claimed that Daniel Levy is a disciple of this- that the young, intelligent and tactically astute manager of today, is of the mould that a club like Spurs should be plumping for. And to a certain extent, that holds some gravitas. It has been well suggested that one of Harry Redknapp’s greatest flaws, was his apparent inability to change the fortunes of his Spurs team through a tactical change or a quick substitution. The term ‘Plan B’ become something of a furious buzzword in the concourses of White Hart Lane. And it is the likes of Andre Villas Boas and Roberto Martinez who fit the bill of a manager that is up to speed with the modern game- men who could take the gifted bunch of players that are at Tottenham’s disposal and pick up the lost points that Redknapp failed to when against the bus parkers of the league.
But the realities of employing a Martinez or a Villas Boas are far more complex. For their role isn’t going to be as simple as pleasing the supporters baying for a change of formation when the strike force is struggling to break down a QPR. They are going to be trusted with one of the most important recruitment drives in recent memory this summer. It is a game of educated risk when appointing any manager, but the risk is just too high at this period of time. If the wrong appointment is made, then there is the capacity to take the club back several years in progress. It would resemble something of a Juande Ramos-esque Groundhog Day.
This is why, and although so many reading this will exhale a deep sigh of disappointment, Everton’s David Moyes has to be the outstanding candidate for Daniel Levy. People will cry pragmatic football, whine about his style of play and mention Diniyar Bilyaletdinov several times in conversation, but that only represents a really quite blinkered opinion of the steely Scot.
The myth that David Moyes plays negative football is nothing but an absolute urban myth. Yes, he may not necessarily play the ‘Tottenham way’ and some of his teams have perhaps been a little more direct, although during his tenure, the Toffees have played some outstanding football. Moyes is a student of the game, a real footballing man and you can rest assured that at the very least, Tottenham would finally stand a chance of developing a resolute defensive foundation. He has played a type of football that dovetails with the resources and players at his disposal- don’t underestimate what he could be capable of with the sort of attacking talent and money that would be available to him in N17.
But it’s Moyes record, his determination his genuine, proven worth that makes it difficult to accept that Martinez or Villas Boas are superior choices. In the game of risk, there is a far less chance that Spurs will go backwards under Moyes than the other two. Every single year, he guarantees a top ten finish at a club with nowhere near as much financial muscle as Spurs. Yet Martinez plays three at the back during a win against Arsenal and suddenly that achievement makes him a more favoured candidate than David Moyes? It doesn’t add up that Spurs should sack a man whose team pummeled Wigan 9-1 into the ground, with the opposing number that day.
No one is denying that Martinez or Villas Boas have talent. But David Moyes is a better Premier League manager, simple as that. He is the man to be trusted with this Spurs team, the man to be backed to the hilt and the man whose credentials should never be under looked. Doubting David Moyes ambition could stunt Tottenham Hotspur’s.
Moyes, Martinez, AVB or someone else? What would be your main issue with David Moyes managing Spurs? Or do you believe that the obsession with a foreign tactician could potentially cost us? Tell me what you think, for all things Spurs, follow @samuel_antrobus