Tottenham’s recent demise has seen them slump from Champions League contenders to Premier League also-rans in a matter of months. European football is far from the guarantee it should have been this year, and with Tim Sherwood’s position bordering on the untenable this is fast turning into a nightmare season for the North Londoners.
Sherwood is battling in a race against time to prove his worth; constantly undermined by fans, press and even his employers these are a critical few weeks for the fledgling English manager.
Yet he remains a man difficult to get on board with, everything he says and does has shades of the amateur in it. People are starting to see past the fresh-faced enthusiasm into a darker and wholly more desperate side to the man.
The sense of unease and loss of control was evident when he was asked about the future of Spurs stopper Hugo Lloris; the Englishman coming up with another absurd response:
“He is one of the top goalies and unless someone is going to spend £100m on him, and keepers do not get bought for that money, I don’t think he will leave,” Sherwood told the Sunday Mirror.
“He is one of the best keepers around. Of course people are going to want him. But I’m also sure the club won’t be tempted to get rid of him.
“It was only that kind of figure that tempted the club to sell Gareth Bale and he desperately wanted to leave to progress his career at Real Madrid.”
Sherwood is supposed to be a football manager and not an auctioneer; snatching figures out of the sky isn’t going to impress anyone and certainly not a business savvy man like Daniel Levy.
Hugo Lloris has been one of the few players to impress this season. He is a real commanding presence, with the footballing intelligence to make that sweeping position at the back work and to enable to backline to push up. The Frenchman is almost certainly in that top bracket of goalkeepers, and few Spurs fans would doubt that he above all deserves to be playing Champions League football next season.
Worryingly for Spurs fans I think that he will. With only a couple of years left on his contract and plenty of suitors out there I think the time is right for Daniel Levy to cash in on his man, given that Lloris is looking increasingly unlikely to sign a new deal. This is a significant blow for the club but one that hardly comes as a surprise given their current predicament.
Like all good negotiators though Levy never looks desperate, always the man with the upper hand holding all the cards. You only have to look back at when Lloris was brought to North London to remember the sorts of underhand wrangling that Spurs employ.
An experienced head would have swerved the question rather than tried to tackle it head on, an amateurish repost from someone that clearly doesn’t know better.
Looking back on goalkeeping deals of the past you realise just how ridiculous Sherwood is. Gianluigi Buffon is the most expensive keeper ever bought for £33m back in 2001, but since then the dealings have been pretty meagre. In fact it is Manuel Neuer at £19m who comes in as the next most expensive, a stopper that many now consider the best in the world.
Clearly a players value is whatever someone is willing to pay for them, but even so £100m is a stupidly largely figure for someone to bandy about in relation to a keeper. Spurs would be lucky to get upwards of £20m, and I imagine Daniel Levy would realise this without the economics expert Sherwood suggesting otherwise.
Sherwood feels the world is against him, that he can’t really win whatever he says. Sometimes though the best thing to do is to just say nothing rather than to hash together some clear illogical spiel.
This may have been the Englishman trying to hold firm and appear resolute, but all he has done is to come across as the amateur many are happy to paint him as.