The rumour mill is a viscious and tireless beast, but it does provide excellent opportunities to consider other futures that may never come to pass. One new murmur cropping up nowadays is Carlo Ancelotti to Tottenham. This is not a mean, Martin Jol-Juande Ramos, behind-the-back job but a consequence of Redknapp’s constant lip-licking and eyeballing of the England job. In the not-too-distant future Fabio Capello will relinquish his post, leaving a headless England team even more headless. The press know this and have generously thought of who Tottenham should bring in to replace the country’s gaffer in waiting.
The two names topping this very forward thinking list are David Moyes and Carlo Ancelotti, (both great managers to have in the frame). Redknapp himself apparently backs Moyes, (I’m not quite sure how the press extracted that information from him) but I can’t help feeling that Ancelotti may be more suited to the Tottenham tradition.
The real question is, would he be an upgrade on Redknapp himself?
Redknapp has taken Tottenham further faster than most would have predicted. Drafted in to halt the great depression of 2008, Harry had previously built himself a reputation as a relegation-dodging specialist but this skill has never been called upon at Spurs. His impact was instant and he now has a great squad performing consistently. He has achieved Champions league qualification and has a team that can challenge for fourth every year. Could Spurs ask for much more?
If Redknapp has a weakness, it is as a strategist. There is a suspicion that he lacks the tactical finesse to take Tottenham any further. Redknapp comes under fire for two reasons. The first is his inability to come up with a satisfactory plan B. When Spurs struggle, far too often they resort to hoofing the ball long to the big man, formerly a very isolated Peter Crouch, (on their worst days they started matches doing this, a very poor plan A), rather than sticking to their strengths of using the pace on the wings and maintaining possession. Redknapp’s second tactical weakness was, and still is, his Football Manager technique of whacking all his best players into his starting eleven and going for it. Last season he squeezed Rafael van der Vaart into a free role at the cost of a more productive 4-4-2 formation, which Spurs flourished in the year before.
At the moment Spurs fans can have little complaint with Redknapp but it’s still worth considering Ancelotti.
Tottenham’s craving for attractive, flowing football would be well met by the Italian. His Chelsea side were free-scoring in their double-winning 2009/10 season and continued into the next with an attacking 4-3-3 formation. He has a tactical fluidity and inventiveness (he claims the Christmas tree as his own masterpiece) that gets the best out of his players and believes in building the formation to fit the qualities of his players rather than jamming the players into a set shape. This may not sound revolutionary but Redknapp rarely thinks this way.
Tottenham currently have a squad full of players with both the ability and inclination to play flair football, with Modric, Van der Vaart, Bale, Adebayor and Lennon there are numerous attacking possibilities and it is a team full of entertainers.
Ancelotti’s track record as both a player and a manager make him an exciting and flattering possibility for Spurs. With the current squad and Ancelotti’s focus on attacking, possession football it could be a great match.
He has an autobiography entitled: The Beautiful Games of an Ordinary Genius, it would be great for some of those beautiful games and some of that genius to be at Tottenham (and those eyebrows).
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