A Little Bit of History…
Are you sitting comfortably? Because this is a tale and a half…
Everything seemed to be in place for Tottenham Hotspur to take the final step to becoming a genuine title challenger. An underachieving club for so long, they had managed to slowly build an impressive squad of players, playing free flowing, energetic football. With a beautifully redeveloped stadium, and one of the most highly regarded managers in Europe, Mauricio Pochettino, at the helm, the future was so bright that sunglasses we’re an essential purchase when visiting White Hart Lane. But how quickly fortunes can change.
In November 2019, just five months after taking Tottenham to their first Champions League final, Pochettino was sacked as manager, to the astonishment of football fans everywhere. “We were extremely reluctant to make this change. It is not a decision the board has taken lightly, nor in haste,” said Daniel Levy at the time, Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. “Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.”
Replaced by José Mourinho the very next day, Tottenham finished the 19/20 Premier League season in 6th position, outside the cherished Champions League places. Amazingly, Mourinho only lasted 17 months in the role, and was sacked in April 2021. The team finished in 7th place last season. The upward progression was over.
The hunt was on for Tottenham’s next permanent manager, and the best word you can use to describe the search is ‘protracted’. A new name would appear in the press every day; Julian Nagelsmann (he chose Bayern Munich instead), Erik ten Hag (signs a new contract at Ajax), then Brendan Rodgers (won’t leave Leicester City). Incredibly, the next target was apparently Pochettino, the man who’d been sacked in November 2019 and was now in place at Paris St-Germain. PSG understandably and quickly dismissed the idea of letting their new love return to the ex that had dumped him 19 months ago.
So, it was onto Antonio Conte, who had left Inter Milan after winning the Italian title last season. He had been in talks with Spurs, but they failed to reach an agreement. The club then turned its attention to Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui. They apparently made him a “dizzying” in trying to woo him, but it was quickly rejected.
Former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca then looked like the new appointment but talks abruptly ended. And finally, ex-Fiorentina manager Gennaro Gattuso was linked to the job, but that was quickly aborted on a back of criticism from the fans regarding controversial comments that he’s apparently made on social media about same-sex marriage and woman in soccer.
So after the possibly the most protracted and public search in Premier League history, Tottenham Hotspur finally appointed former Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo (below) as their new manager.
The Season Ahead…
It goes without saying that the summer transfer season foe Spurs can be summed up in one four-letter word; Kane. After he emerged alone at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after the last home game of the 2020/21 season, and walked around the pitch applauding the fans (the universal way for a football player to say goodbye), everyone knew that he was on his way out, possibly heading north to Manchester. But things have taken a decidedly murky turn, and we now find ourselves in a strange limbo as the new season edges closer. Everything seems to revolve around the claim that Harry Kane (below) has a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in place at Tottenham that would allow him to leave, but we’ve seen zero movement so far. Unsubstantiated rumours were flying around that Kane had refused to turn up for pre-season training, essentially going on strike to try and force a move out of the club, but these were vehemently denied by the player himself.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Manchester City are interested in the player, but whether they consider the $208 million price tag that Kane apparently too high in unknown, but it’s all gone very quiet on the transfer front. Of course, the fixture gods have served up something delicious for all non-Spurs fans to enjoy. Who do Tottenham play in their first game of the new season? Manchester City of course…
Although Kane gets a huge amount of coverage in the media, we can’t forget that there is still some serious talent in the Tottenham squad. Son Heung-min is one of the most accomplished and reliable forwards in the league, capable of scoring incredible goals. World Cup winner Hugo Loris is a gifted goalkeeper and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has been a workhorse in midfield since his arrival from Southampton.
Stories keep circulating that Tottenham will make an offer for striker Lautaro Martinez at Inter Milan, but is this to play alongside Harry Kane or to replace him?
Adding to the squad, the club have signed defender Cristian Romero from Atalanta for $58 million and 21-year-old Sevilla winger Bryan Gil, who has agreed a five-year deal. There have been several departures too. Danny Rose has signed for Watford, Erik Lamela has moved to Sevilla, Toby Alderweireld has left for Al-Duhail and Joe Hart has headed to Scotland and joined Celtic. And Gareth Bale has returned to Real Madrid after an okay-ish loan spell at the club.
Location Tottenham, London
Stadium Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (62,850 capacity)
20/21 Final League Position 7th
Opening Game of 21/22 Season home to Manchester City
21/22 Predicted final League Position 9th
This is a big call for a club who were once on the cusp of challenging for the league title, but Spurs seem to be a period of disarray. Nuno Espirito Santo was not the most inspired appointment, and his two year contract gives you the feeling that he probably won’t be there for a long time. But everything rests on Kane. If he stays, the 9th might be pessimistic. If he goes, a mid-table finish is probably on the cards.