After taking a big gamble a few weeks ago by dumping Harry Redknapp, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has effectively gone “all in”, with Andre Villas-Boas on the verge of taking the Spurs job.
The move for AVB signals a shift in policy at The Lane. After 18 months of uncertainty over Redknapp’s future, Levy is now looking to install a young, dynamic coach for the foreseeable future. A new project. The expectations will be there. Harry set the bar pretty high in pure results terms.
Villas-Boas will be expected to, at the very least, challenge for 4th spot again. But there’ll be no ultimatums. No Chelsea like reactions to any stumbles on the way. He’ll be given the chance to implement his blueprint.
His Porto side were dynamic, easy on the eye, but ruthless. That’s what Spurs fans want. Too often in recent seasons, the football has been breathtaking, but the clinical, killer instinct was missing.
At Chelsea, he was changing the way the team played, trying to be more expansive, and a little easier on the eye. They were too, but they were also vulnerable, and once the senior players turned, he was done for.
Now Spurs aren’t exactly watertight as it is, but with a solid base of Walker, BAE, Kaboul and Parker, there’s something to work with.
How he accommodates the flair players will be telling. Where does Van der Vaart fit in? Lennon and Bale play as conventional wingers, not exactly a Villa-Boas trademark.
And what of Modric? The Portuguese coach was desperate to take him to The Bridge. Can he persuade him to stay at The Lane? It’s unlikely. A move to Real Madrid is on the cards, but with Levy renouned for his ability to play hardball, Spurs will get a good deal. Higuain and Sahin have both been mentioned as possible makeweights in any deal.
He’ll need to address the striker role with some urgency. Only Jermain Defoe and the youngster Har ry Kane remain after the cull of the last 12 months that saw Crouch, Keane, Pavyluchenko and Saha shipped out, and Adebayor return to City.
After that a long term goalkeeping option, a regular partner for Kaboul (if the Vertonghen deal falls over)and a new Modric are the areas of concern.
I believe it’s an exciting appointment. He’ll be brash and at times controversial. He may not achieve immediate success. But we’ve seen enough from AVB over the past 2 years to know that he is the real deal. The Chelsea experience will serve him well, and he will surely go about things a little differently.
It’s a new era at The Lane. A risky one, sure, but To Dare is To Do.