Is Levy out of Luck?
With Tottenham Hotspur’s search for a new manager going disastrously wrong, Harry Richards looks into the potential options Daniel Levy could consider as chairman of the club.
Twenty months after Daniel Levy appointed Mourinho, he is once again on the search for a new manager. From the rumoured targets, no discernible style or parameter can be established. Managers have varied as much as Conte, Gattuso, Fonseca and ten Haag.
Despite claiming that “we haven’t even spoken to some of the individuals that have…apparently rejected us” the optics for Levy is that he is struggling to find the style, let alone the helmsman, of Spurs’ next project.
And to be fair, it is hard to see where he, and newly appointed General Manager Fabio Patarici, starts. After Mourinho ripped up Pocchetino’s blueprint, it is not unfair to call Tottenham a club without an identity. So, what should Levy be looking for in his next manager?
The Feel-Good Stop-Gap – Ryan Mason (Alternatives – Eddie Howe, Scott Parker)
For the Athletic’s Seb Stafford-Bloor, the perfect solution is Ryan Mason – a manager who would “restore the players’ lost confidence and…heal the warring factions in the fanbase”. After Mourinho and the Super League, a priority Spurs’ hierarchy need to repair their relationship with the fanbase.
Mason’s CV is unspectacular, as were his results as interim manager. However, the same could have been said for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has matured into one of the best coaches in the league.
One more year of Mason would allow him to mature and should see a renewed harmony between the board, squad and the fans.
It is also possible more managers might be available next summer, making 2021-22 a “stop-gap” before a more suitable manager can be lured to North London.
For that reason, he has to be on the shortlist.
The Dark Horse – Sean Dyche (Alternatives – Rafa Benitez, Nuno Espiranto Santo)
What do you think of when you think of a Sean Dyche team? Physicality, low blocks, and combative press conferences?
You might not think of how effective Burnley are at pressing, and that would be a mistake. A key part of Burnley’s system is pushing out of their low block and giving their defenders time to breathe. This is evidence to suggest Dyche would be able to coach a bigger team effectively.
The reputation of Dyche as a defensive coach may not benefit him in relations with the fanbase or the players, but the job he has done with Burnley is impressive enough to warrant an interview, at the very least.
The Big-Money Target – Ernesto Valverde (Alternative – Max Allegri)
Ernesto Valverde has struggled to find a job since being relieved of his role as Barcelona manager. After embarrassing Champions League exits to Liverpool and Roma, his reputation has been damaged disproportionately.
This is still a coach who averaged 2.23 points a game at Barca, and won back-to-back league titles against the Real Madrid team who had won three successive Champions Leagues in 2018 and 2019.
His signing would cement Spurs as one of the big six clubs and might even convince Harry Kane to stay. However, there are several problems: a manager of his pedigree would probably warrant a larger budget than Spurs can afford, and why would Valverde be convinced if Conte was not?
Spurs’ squad is in a period of transition – does it need a coach who is willing to rebuild the club, like Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Liverpool, rather than repeating the mistake Levy made appointing Mourinho?
On balance, it is easy to see why Levy and Paratici have struggled this summer. There is a dearth of available, top quality managers.
Regardless, the board will want to sort their managerial crisis out sooner rather than later. The longer the wait goes on, the less likely both pre-season and the summer transfer window are as effective as they need to be for Spurs to return to the top four.