It looks like Tim Sherwood will be replaced in the summer as Daniel Levy looks to find the manager to take Spurs into the top four and challenge for trophies, but which manager should he choose and would they come to Tottenham?
In my opinion, the main criteria that Levy should use to judge potential candidates are:
- A track record of success, preferably winning trophies
- Tactical sophistication – increasingly important in the modern game, especially if you have Champions League ambitions
- History of improving players and bringing through youth prospects – important to compete if you don’t have the financial muscle of a City or Chelsea
- Reputation for playing attractive, attacking football – Spurs have a long tradition to maintain
In an ideal world, my choice for Tottenham manager would be Jurgen Klopp. The German has all the attributes required to be a great coach. The ability to motivate players, an eye for a bargain in the transfer market, he’s tactically astute and has a winner’s mentality. His trophy cabinet contains two German league titles, the German Cup and he made it to last season’s Champions League final. In addition he is a likeable and entertaining character, and his sides play attractive, attacking football.
In the real world Klopp is unlikely to leave Dortmund and, if he does, will have offers from all over Europe. Maybe he would see Spurs as an interesting challenge? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely.
Trying to be more realistic, my manager wishlist would be:
- 1. Louis van Gaal
- 2. Frank de Boer
- 3. Massimiliano Allegri
- 4. Mauricio Pochettino
Van Gaal – odds 4/1
Unfortunately, van Gaal seems poised to take the vacant Manchester United job. He has previously expressed an interest in managing Tottenham and is reported to have spoken to Daniel Levy, so I wouldn’t rule him out completely. The Dutch coach is the kind of manager Tottenham need, the kind to revolutionise a football club. He has a CV that blows away the competition, and is a proven winner and tactical genius (not a word I use lightly). Add to this his ability to get the best out of players and develop young talent – both vital if you aren’t backed by a petrochemical billionaire – and he becomes an obvious first choice.
On the negative side, he’s famously arrogant and difficult to work with, and his complicated tactics can take time to bed in. If we manage to hire him, Levy has to give him full control and plenty of time, luxuries he hasn’t afforded previous managers.
De Boer – odds 9/1
Frank de Boer is potentially a younger, less belligerent version of van Gaal. Steeped in the Ajax tradition, he has has progressed through their famous development system, both as a player and a coach. His Ajax team are on the verge of a fourth successive Dutch title but he’s found it difficult to translate this to European competition – this year they were humiliated 3-0 at home by Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League. It looks like he may have taken Ajax as far as he can, so hopefully he’s looking for a new challenge.
De Boer was previously head of youth development at Ajax, and can count Christian Eriksen amongst his successes. The one question mark hanging over him, is whether success in the Eredivisie with one of the big three Dutch sides is a real gauge of top level management ability. Taking charge of Spurs in the Premier League would be a much sterner test.
Allegri – odds 3/1 Favourite
Allegri is the current favourite with the bookmakers. I’ve seen many fans making disparaging comments about the Italian on fan forums, most of them uninformed. He has a good track record in Italy and, despite the Italian stereotype, has a reputation for attacking football.
In his first season in charge of Milan, he won the Italian League, breaking the stranglehold that their city rivals, Inter, had on the competition at that time. Milan hadn’t won the title for seven years. He followed this up with creditable second and third place finishes. His fourth season was less successful, and he was finally sacked with the team in 11th position, but this came against the backdrop of the club selling off many of their best players.
Maybe most importantly, he’s currently available. The biggest negatives would be his lack of experience outside Italy and the language barrier.
Pochettino – odds 7/2 second favourite
I have Pochettino on my list as a backstop. If we can’t get any of my first choices, then I think he would be a decent fall-back option. He has experience in the Premier League, where he has been reasonably successful whilst playing nice football, and he seems fairly tactically astute.
Young English players like Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Luke Shaw have flourished under his leadership. He still conducts interviews with an interpreter, but I’m not worried about the language issue, as by all accounts he speaks English competently with the Southampton players.
He’s last on my list because he doesn’t have the big club experience or track record of success that the others possess.
There are some managers, who have been mentioned in connection with the job, that I definitely don’t want:
- Keeping Sherwood – little previous experience, not tactically astute, not good at dealing with players or the media.
- Benitez – competent and relatively successful but typically plays defensive football. Not someone to drive a club forward, or develop the long term view.
- Mancini – see comments for Benitez.
- Klinsmann – no real club management experience, apart from a disastrous reign at Bayern. More about public relations than real substance.
- Moyes – do I really have to elaborate? Boring football, tactically lacking and a failure.
Whoever Daniel Levy chooses, a large proportion of Spurs fans will be unhappy. After flipping from one strategy to another, and treating a succession of managers poorly, the chairman has created a deeply divided and discontented fan base. This is a key appointment, as success on the pitch is the only thing that can unite them.
Do you agree with my list? Would you prefer a British manager? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.