Tottenham Hotspur have suffered early setbacks in their bid to find the best replacement for the recently sacked Jose Mourinho.
Daniel Levy has missed out on two of his mooted top managerial targets in Julian Nagelsmann, who has rejected the north London outfit to become Bayern Munich’s next head coach, and Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, who has downplayed swapping the Champions League-bound Foxes for struggling Spurs.
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is now expected to quickly rise up the shortlist, according to the Telegraph, whilst names such as Gareth Southgate and Ralf Rangnick feature.
The 51-year-old Dutchman is said to be affordable for Spurs as he will soon enter the final year of his contract at the Eredivisie champions.
We know that Levy is also targeting an attack-minded and progressive coach that can fit in with the club’s culture after reports suggested that Mourinho had ‘sucked the life’ out of the squad prior to his departure.
Ten Hag has brought success to Ajax – recording a 73% win percentage since taking over in 2017 – through his flexible 4-3-3 system, which has been inspired by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff.
“He ticks a lot of boxes for Tottenham. He’s very good at developing young players and he has Ajax playing with real style,” claimed Alasdair Gold in a recent Q&A on football.london.
So Levy won’t have to worry in terms of excitement on the pitch there and indeed, the former Bayern Munich ‘B’ head coach could fix another one of Spurs’ mounting problems.
As further revealed by Gold, there have been concerns over the fitness levels of the current squad despite a lot of these players still remaining in N17 from the Mauricio Pochettino era, where they were among the fittest in the Premier League.
‘Numerous mistakes have been made on the pitch during this campaign due to tiredness both physically and subsequently mentally,’ wrote the reliable journalist in a recent column.
Ajax were unofficially crowned champions on the same weekend Spurs looked legless in their Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City, and Ten Hag has credited their success to the squad’s impressive fitness levels.
“Everyone hopes that Ajax is at the end of his rope, but we are far from being there. It appears every time that we can switch in the second half and the opponents are destroyed”, the 51-year-old revealed to reporters (via Teller Report). “We brought that [fitness change] in and it certainly plays a role in this title. But I think that we have played very well in many phases this season.”
In another interview, sourced by football.london, he echoed these thoughts: “The team is good. We are very fit, very eager and very fresh. We can certainly perform at our best, we know that.”
On the above evidence, Ten Hag seems like an ideal candidate and a more than worthy new front-runner for the vacant Spurs job. In appointing him, Levy could solve more issues than one.
AND in other news, Alli and Bergwin? How Spurs could line-up under managerial target Erik ten Hag…