The appointment of Andre Villas Boas was considered a gamble by the media and the fans at the inception. Now, it’s been reviewed by the media and fans alike after his first week at office. This new ‘project’ cannot be considered as a gamble any more.
Unlike Roman Abramovich, Spurs have a chairman who has mastered the art of negotiation and does his business with great aplomb. Daniel Levy has a remarkable acumen in business matters and it is well known to the clubs who have dealt with him in the market. When an astute businessman and a master tactician join hand in hand to create a new chapter, the beginning has to be perfect and the buzz can be witnessed at White Hart Lane.
Spurs are known for their free flowing, attractive brand of football from the early days. Harry Redknapp made them a Top 5 side in the previous seasons and his successor needs to make it at least a step bigger to prove his doubters wrong. Failures are the stepping stones to success and AVB, as he is fondly called, has shown signs that he has learned from his past mistakes in the way he responded to the media about the Modric situation.
Another interesting thing that will come into the foray will be the manner in which he treats his players. He is trying to build a team on his own and the latest arrivals are giving a lot of hope to the Spurs’ faithful even though few key players might be on their way out. Spurs are acting quickly in the transfer market; they are trying to capture young players with huge potential who can provide everlasting impact. The current crop is also happy with the new training ground, new manager and the new arrivals.
Expectations from Villas Boas
Villas Boas is a manager who has his own philosophies. A master tactician with his own template; it has a high back line with pacy defenders and a goalkeeper who can play the role of a sweeper if needed; three man midfield which can adapt to shift the momentum of the game accordingly as well as producing the fluid game while being intact and responsible without the ball. The front 3 is the key to his success breaking the opposition with lighting attacks and also calm, composed and assured build up with the help of wingers who can cut in and overlapping wing backs hugging the touchline.
Many questions will arise at this juncture. Is this template suited for the North London team? Do they have enough players at their disposal who can play his beloved 4-3-3 formation?
What about those players who will not fit in this scheme of things? The coach is known for his ill attitude towards such players as seen during his stint with Chelsea and will he be able to handle big egos at the dressing room? Can he keep the fans happy with good results? Most importantly are Andre Villas Boas and Daniel Levy on the same page? These quotes from both personnel paint a rosy picture.
Andre Villas Boas on Daniel Levy – “He knows what he is doing, approaching the market in a different way, he is a person of great football understanding and he had the effect of giving me the assurances I wanted in terms of building something.”
On unveiling Andre Villas Boas, Daniel Levy as a part of the head coach’s brief, stated –“Andre shares our long-term ambitions and ethos of developing players and nurturing young talent, and he will be able to do so now at a new world-class training centre.
It is important we now look to develop the potential within the squads at all levels, while strengthening the first team in the summer in key positions with players who will become part of the future success of the club.”
Villas Boas and his staff will do the homework behind the scenes but it is the players who need to implement it on the pitch. Goal keeper has a huge role in the coach’s astute tactics; Brad Friedel is consistent and provides a safe pair of hands with his vital experience but the veteran doesn’t posses the speed or the agility and can be seen rooted at the post for most of the time. Gomes could have been ideal keeper but his inexplicable blunders cost him his spot. Cudicini can only be a good back-up. The scenario points to a new arrival and the Frenchman Hugo Lloris fits the bill perfectly, but it remains to be seen whether Daniel Levy can reach an agreement with Lyon because of his high valuation.
The acquisition of Jan Vertonghen is the best gift a manager can receive from his chairman. He is the missing piece of the jigsaw in a back four along with Walker, Kaboul and Assou-Ekotto. Youngster Steven Caulker made rapid strides in EPL last season and it’s time for him to step up for the Lillywhites as an intelligent and ball playing defender.
What will be the future of NH17 legend Ledley King and the man who was supposed to take the baton from him – Michael Dawson? Ledley King is almost about to take his place in the coaching staff after a career curtailed by long standing knee problems. Dawson might need to bide his time as injuries have slowed him down and the arrival of Jan means he has to fight for his place. William Gallas has a big ego and needs to be handled carefully; Sebastian Bassong is looking surplus to the requirements at the moment. Attacking fullbacks are available both in quality and quantity. Kyle Naughton is back after his heroic EPL stint at Carrow Road whereas youngster Adam Smith provides tough competition for him to be the understudy to the PFA young player of the year, Walker. The capture of Manchester United prodigy, Ezekiel Fryers, means that an able back up is there to challenge Assou-Ekotto along with Danny Rose. Two out of these four will be send out on loan to gain more experience and it remains to be seen who will get their chance.
Midfield remains the strength of this team. Scott Parker is all set to lead the team this season. But, his place in the starting lineup is not guaranteed as Sandro has improved leaps and bounds over the course of time and is fit again. Huddlestone can provide another dimension from the middle of the park; youngster Jake Livermore has already made the grade while another academy product, Thomas Carroll, is waiting for his chance after his exploits in Europa League last season.
. Villas Boas
Influential playmaker and the creative nucleus, Luka Modric, is looking more likely to leave this summer with giants across the continent waiting for the big scalp. Spurs has been rumoured to fill that void by capturing either João Moutinho or the Brazilian Oscar if that happens. Van der Vaart remains an integral part of Villas Boas’ plans but his role in the team is still unclear after the arrival of Sigurdsson. There are also rumors of Ganso ending up at WHL as well.
Gareth Bale signed a contract extension and can be assured of the Left wing role unless rested to give some game time for Pienaar or for grooming Townsend. Aaron Lennon may face tough competition from Giovanni Dos Santos and Steven Pienaar as Right winger/forward role is looking more suitable to these kind of players in the new setup. Even VDV can occupy that role if AVB prefers to give the central role to Sigurdsson. Jermain Jenas and David Bentley are two players who might say good bye to the team. Iago Falque is already a forgotten man.
The talking point in and around White Hart Lane is about who will lead the line in the new season. The only established striker in the setup, Jermain Defoe, is also rumoured for an exit as he is not suited for the new style and he needs more starts as well. England U-19 star, Harry Kane is expecting a breakthrough season but he will not be the one to spearhead the attack this season; same is the case with Souleyman Coulibaly. Emmanuel Adebayor’s signing will make AVB breath easy after the ex-Arsenal striker’s successful loan stint last season. Liandro Damiao, Loic Remy, Adrian, Guiseppe Rossi and Burak Yilmaz are few names linked with Tottenham and atleast one of them may join the big Togolese striker to compete for the strikers spot.
Redknapp preferred older players in his tenure while Villas Boas’s arrival has brought young players along with him. Experiments can be expected at the start of season to find the right balance. The fans can only hope that the new manager gets it right and need to be patient with him. As the cliched adage goes – Rome was not built in a day. Fans need to believe in the revolution and their full support in difficult times can ensure big success in future.
Written by Joseph George