Hindsight is a wonderful thing but the current situation at Tottenham Hotspur was hardly unpredictable.
Daniel Levy wanted an attack-minded head coach post-Jose Mourinho and what they settled on was a beta version of the sacked Portuguese boss in Nuno Santo.
After three straight heavy defeats in the Premier League, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers boss is under increasing pressure to turn things around in north London, despite kickstarting the season with a trio of impressive 1-0 victories, in which they defeated defending champions Manchester City.
The Lilywhites are arguably one of the weakest attacks in the English top-flight, even with Harry Kane back involved.
Spurs are currently averaging the fewest shots per game (9.3), which is fewer than all three teams in the relegation zone, whilst they rank second-last for expected goals (5.47 xG), a feat that only winless Norwich City are worse at.
It could have been a completely different story at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, though.
Levy and co were linked to plenty of coaches that deploy an attractive system, including the likes of Julian Naglesmann and Brendan Rodgers – even former manager Mauricio Pochettino held talks with the north London hierarchy.
This week, it emerged that Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter, who currently has the Seagulls well above Spurs in sixth place, rejected the chance to become Mourinho’s successor.
According to the Telegraph, the 46-year-old ‘had no interest in risking his flourishing reputation under Levy.’
Whilst he would’ve been a great candidate to match the philosophy that Spurs were initially looking for, it’s not the biggest loss in the world.
However, as the struggling London outfit prepare for UEFA’s new third-string competition on Thursday, another one of Levy’s summer managerial targets continues to light up the Champions League, the very competition Spurs made the final of over two years ago.
Ajax continued their 100% record in the competition with a routine 2-0 win over Besiktas on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, they look on course to win the Eredivisie for a second successive year.
That’s all down to the impressive coaching exploits of Erik ten Hag, who quickly rose up Tottenham’s shortlist after Nagelsmann opted for Bayern Munich, as per the Telegraph’s Matt Law.
His progressive and attacking style of football would have been one that resonated well with the Lilywhites faithful and he too has a fantastic track record of developing young players into mega profit-earners – think Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt.
“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.”
Ajax’s latest win means the 51-year-old now has a phenomenal 74% win-rate in charge of the Dutch giants, where he has averaged 2.76 goals per game, via Transfermarkt.
By comparison, Spurs have managed just 1.4 goals per game under Nuno thus far.
If there’s any manager that Levy and co should regret not appointing, then it’s certainly the Dutchman, who has continued his admirable work at Ajax this campaign.
It could well be his biggest mistake yet.