Was the writing on the wall for Andre Villas-Boas? The former Tottenham manager found himself without his best player and with seven new signings to start the season, although he was against the arrival of most of them, making the debacle that keeps on going more of a mess created by Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini.
After, before, it doesn’t matter. Gareth Bale was sold for a record fee of €100 million, and Spurs’ management decided to spend it all on new players. Management, you say? Andre Villas-Boas has been the manager since last season, but apparently he didn’t have much of a say in who is coming and who’s not.
Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Soldado were the players the Portuguese manager agreed on. The others? Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli? Four players he didn’t want to sign for a total of £56 million, but the tandem of Baldini and Levy decided their manager’s opinion on the team doesn’t really matter.
The result? Well, Spurs are actually where they should be. Their pace of points is on par with last season, but they’re 7th, as things have gotten a bit more difficult this season in the Premier League. Manchester United are in some sort of decline – temporary or long term, but Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle seem to be much better sides than they were a season ago, leaving Spurs a bit out of the loop right now in terms of top 4 aspirations.
Much has been made of Villas-Boas going on with the wrong tactics, changing to the right ones and reverting to a disastrous high line before the Liverpool match. The wrong tactics for the wrong players, they say. However, it seems he never really had a say in the personnel that was going to fill his team, making it less of his own failure, and more like something the man in charge of him made.
But a replacement is going to come, as Tim Sherwood in all likelihood won’t carry on with the caretaker job for much longer. One of the hottest names right now is Frank de Boer, the Ajax manager who has led the team to three consecutive championships in the Netherlands, bringing back some long lost recognition to the Dutch club over the last few years. The question isn’t just money, but does he feel if he’s maxed out his accomplishment with Ajax. Tottenham might be a richer club playing in a better league, but his chances of winning titles and making it in the Champions League are actually better if he stays in Holland.