Having harshly missed out on Champions League football due to Chelsea winning the competition as well as having parted ways with manager Harry Redknapp, many Spurs fans began to fear the worst for the club. However, in recent weeks things have began to look up for Spurs, despite the club being managerless.
Keeping Gareth Bale
Keeping Bale is probably the best bit of news to come out of Tottenham so far, with the left-winger signing a four year deal last week. With the club failing to secure Champions League football next season many pundits felt the player might move on, with some of Europe’s top clubs undoubtedly keen on him. It is clear that Daniel Levy managed to convince Bale of his long term plans for the club, despite the club being without a manager. Bale’s contribution to the side can not be overstated with him scoring 9 league goals as well as recording 10 assists. His dynamism as well as eye for goal has led him to be one of the most sought after left sided players in world football and keeping him can only be regarded as a coup for Spurs. At just 22, one would expect him to get even better next season.
AVB being installed as the new manager
Harry Redknapp did a very good job at Spurs but arguably with his limited tactical know-how, took them as far as he could. Losing such a huge lead over Arsenal and failing to adaquetely get Spurs out of their slump reflected very badly on him. Some of the continental managers linked with the job are far more tactically knowledgeable and better versed in modern training techniques. André Villas-Boas has been confirmed as the new manager of Spurs but has strangely been dismissed by some journalists as a bad choice. Let’s not forget the brilliant work he did at Porto during the 2010/11 season despite his young age, winning the league unbeaten and winning the Europa League. His time at Chelsea demonstrates how his man management skills need to be improved but it could also be argued that the board did not adequately back him to bring about his new vision. Chelsea were a side of experienced pros who lacked dynamism. Spurs on the other hand have dynamism in abundance, especially in midfield and will perhaps, if he has learnt lessons from Chelsea, be better suited to this job.
AVB’s methods were clearly quite advanced which in some ways makes him a polar opposite of Redknapp; not the best man-manager and a meticulous planner. With what he has achieved in Porto and a good global reputation intact, he could also serve to attract good quality players to the club. Spurs’ last attempt at bringing in a high profile European manager was with Juande Ramos, which ultimately failed although he was relatively much older and didn’t speak particularly good English. AVB has a good understanding of the English game due to his time with Chelsea as well as his stint as opposition scout at the club under Jose Mourinho. Spurs fans should not let the debacle at Chelsea put them off and his confirmation as new manager could be the start of an exciting new dawn for Spurs and their fans.
Spurs have finally secured a deal for Sigurdsson, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Swansea. One thing Spurs lacked last season was goals from centre midfield. Van Der Vaart is essentially a support striker and thus Modrić, Parker and Sandro combined only managed a disappointing 4 goals between them from a combined 88 appearances. Sigurdsson on the other hand was prolific in his short spell with Swansea, scoring 7 goals in only 18 appearances for the club – an incredible record. He not only provides goals but a different option. Under Redknapp, Tottenham lacked a Plan B or different options on the bench but Sigurdsson will provide real depth for the side and offer a good goal scoring option from midfield. He could feasibly slot in beside Modrić and Parker, comprising of a midfield three, which AVB would likely utilise in a 4-3-3 formation.
Further squad reshuffling
Spurs have began to reshape the squad. Niko Kranjčar and Vedran Ćorluka were sold for a combined £11 million, with Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen being released. Further to this Giovani dos Santos is reportedly close to finally getting the move away that he desires with Atletico Madrid reportedly close to an £8 million deal. In addition, despite what a brilliant servant Ledley King has been, he is likely to play even less next season. His playing future at the club remains unclear as he may be there as a coach next season. Regardless, his absence from the first team will not be a bad thing per se. His performances dipped last season and if Ajax centre-back Jan Vertonghen eventually signs it will allow Michael Dawson to form a regular solid partnership at the back for the first time since King was fit.
Vertonghen appears the club’s first choice and wishes to leave Ajax although a move has stalled; it is however likely it will still go through before the end of the transfer window. Spurs will also be welcoming Steven Caulker back as another centre-back option who had a brilliant loan spell at Swansea last season. It is reported that AVB will be given £50 million to reshape his squad so new signings are surely imminent.
There is still work to do however Spurs need to add some strength in depth with Redknapp rarely rotating things last season. First and foremost, the club need to bring in a striker with Defoe the club’s only recognised forward as things stand. As well as this, they will need to bring in another winger to provide depth. Too often last season were attacking midfielders such as Kranjčar or Van Der Vaart played as wide men. With their tendency to come inside this led to over crowding and disrupted Spurs’ natural game.
However, the squad is on the whole very young, and if Spurs can address the issue of bringing in a good striker as well as another option out wide they will be in a strong position going into next season. Clearly much will depend on how AVB will adapt to the challenge, but if he settles in well and is allowed to bring in players to suit his style Spurs could mount a strong challenge for a top four position next season.
Follow Think Football on Twitter here: @Think_Football
Like Think Football on Facebook for more updates: https://www.facebook.com/thinkingfootball
Stats are as always from whoscored.com