Tottenham Hotspur’s managerial search took another worrying twist last week, leaving chairman Daniel Levy running out of viable options.
According to the Telegraph, the North London outfit abandoned their pursuit of Antonio Conte after both parties had major doubts about the fit for one another.
It’s thought that the 51-year-old – a nine-time major trophy winner – wasn’t sure if Spurs could match his ambitions, whilst the club didn’t believe he would give enough of an opportunity to their young prospects, with the likes of Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon due to be involved next season.
The Lilywhites are now back at square one but as per the Mirror, they could revisit their interest in Ajax supremo Erik ten Hag, who the club distanced themselves from after he signed a contract extension at Ajax.
This could be the last chance that Levy has to show some ambition and get a coach that could genuinely revive the faltering North Londoners, especially when considering the uninspiring other names involved.
It’s previously been claimed by The Athletic that the Dutchman is among a four-man shortlist in which disastrous ex-Everton boss Roberto Martinez, Brighton’s Graham Potter and the unemployed Ralf Rangnick feature.
After clinching his second Eredivisie title at the Dutch giants, ten Hag could be intrigued by a new challenge in the form of Spurs and he ticks a whole lot of boxes for Levy.
His two main criteria appear to be a) an attack-minded system, and b) a willingness to commit to developing the club’s emerging talents.
You can put two big green ticks against the 51-year-old’s name as he’s renowned for both of these facets.
Ten Hag has created his brand of football having drawn inspiration from the likes of Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff.
As explained by former Manchester United star Daley Blind: “Johan Cruyff’s philosophy and spirit still flows around in this club. Erik ten Hag is doing very well now. He wants us to play attacking football but most of all without any fear.”
At Ajax, the Dutch coach has won 74% of his matches, bringing home a whopping 2.34 points and 2.71 goals per game, via Transfermarkt, which has earned him the most glowing of endorsements from Jurgen Klopp.
“Erik is rightly regarded as one of the most exciting coaching talents in world football at the moment because of the work he does with Ajax,” claimed the Liverpool boss.
Meanwhile, plenty of young players have come through the academy set-up under ten Hag before going onto be sold for mega fortunes, with two prime examples being Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus (£65m) and Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona (£65m).
“What he is managing to do with such young players is remarkable,” former striker Pierre van Hooijdonk told TV station NOS in May 2019 (via Planet Football). “The likes of De Ligt, De Jong and Van de Beek have only just come out of the academy and are already playing like veterans. Ten Hag deserves huge credit.”
On the above evidence, Levy won’t be able to find a better choice to take the helm at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – barring a surprise U-turn of Conte or a new name emerging from the shadows.
He must go for broke on the Dutch gem or risk facing the consequences from the Spurs fanbase.