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Tottenham: 5 Most Likely Replacements for Harry Redknapp as Spurs Coach

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2012

Tottenham: 5 Most Likely Replacements for Harry Redknapp as Spurs Coach

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    Chelsea's decision to part company with Andre Villas-Boas has created yet another managerial vacancy at the perennially unfulfilled club.

    A genuine vacancy, unlike the assumed one at Tottenham Hotspur, that may be forthcoming anytime between now and August should Harry Redknapp take the England job as expected.

    Villas-Boas' sacking has implications for them in that their London rivals now will also be looking at candidates Spurs may have been eyeing up in case of a possible Redknapp departure.

    Both jobs differ in expectation and the materials available to work with for each's respective incumbent, but both can claim to offer candidates the chance to work with a top-six club.

    Just who Spurs might be looking for remains to be seen.

    Redknapp's appointment in October 2008 was a break away from the continental system Daniel Levy had previously structured his club with since 2004. Critics of this system, which utilises a controversial sporting director role to oversee player recruitment, often negate to examine the reason why the Tottenham chairman implemented it in the first place.

    Levy was keen to move on from a series of managerial hirings that had failed to turn Spurs into a club capable of challenging for a regular top-six position. While it worked for a time in realising a different approach of bringing players to the club, it was not entirely different from before in that its success was essentially down to the personality of the manager.

    Jacques Santini and Juande Ramos were both managers appointed on the basis of their records, but both failed to adjust to English football in the way Martin Jol did. The Dutchman blended an amiability with media and supporters with an understanding of his players that for two and a half years proved fruitful.

    Though Levy did not believe Jol capable of taking the club further than his two fifth place finishes, his eventual appointment of Redknapp indicated a realisation of certain fundamentals needed by a manager to excel in the Premier League.

    Replacing Redknapp will not be easy either this summer or down the line. But knowing what we know about the type of manager that has done well at Tottenham in recent times, here are five managers they might well be having to look to bring in this summer.

David Moyes

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    A decade spent at one club is a heck of a long time for a manager from any era. For David Moyes to have remained at Everton for so long a period of time is a remarkable achievement.

    Everton is as good a job as most. Their tradition and fanbase has been enough to keep Moyes inspired even when the club's financial inferiority, compared to others in the Premier League, may have had him questioning how much more he could do for the Toffees.

    And in all honesty, in that same time very little better has come along that may have tempted him away from Merseyside.

    Tottenham and Moyes however, may well prove a very good match.

    If the Scotsman was to arrive at Spurs this summer he will have a very talented playing staff to work with and, should they have qualified for the Champions League again, the ambition and resources to build further with.

    Moyes has shown his willingness to stick around a while if the circumstances are right, but is he someone Spurs can look to in carrying on where Redknapp will have likely left off?

    Outwardly Moyes is stricter and less amiable than Redknapp, but both are coaches who excel in establishing relationships with players, making them believe in their ideas and style. There is a seemingly straightforwardness to Moyes that would play well with a Spurs squad to a manager who doesn't like to over-complicate or mess about.

    Everton's pragmatic style has often seen them play without any recognised forwards or in a way not designed in getting the best out of them (the likes of Andrew Johnson, James Beattie and Jermaine Beckford all struggled there), something critics might suggest would not play well with Spurs supporters who crave an entertaining brand of football.

    But this could be argued as Moyes making the most of what he has had to work with, and even so, the Toffees are far from a negative side. Given the better resources available at Spurs right now, Moyes could make the most of those too.

Paul Lambert

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    The bright young star of management is often a target for a prominent but struggling club as they look to arrest a worrying slide. Less so are they for those only looking when the situation has forced it.

    Tottenham might be smart though to consider Norwich City's Paul Lambert.

    What does the manager of the currently 11th placed Premier League club, coaching his first season in the division, have to offer a club with aspirations of Champions League football and Premier League titles?

    Well, with Lambert, there is a lot to admire in several aspects of the job he has done so far with the Canaries. But one aspect particularly stands out.

    Going into the top-flight this season Norwich retained most of the squad that got them promoted, with the main additions coming in the way of loan signings (eg. Spurs' Kyle Naughton) and lower league players (eg. the clever and committed Steve Morison).

    It is not just that Lambert has brought together players looking to make a name for themselves, he has convinced them they are where they ought to be, that is competing with the very best.

    To be able to get your message across to your players and have them buy into your plans is fundamental. Just how Norwich will fare under Lambert next season, i.e the traditionally difficult second season, remains to be seen. But so far, so good.

    Managers from Arsene Wenger to Jose Mourinho have highlighted that a successful playing career is not a necessity to being a great coach. But for Spurs, knowing the success Lambert achieved as a player with Celtic and Borussia Dortmund, might make him more palatable than someone like Swansea City's Brendan Rodgers who is also doing a great job in a similar fashion to Lambert.

    Just knowing that he has been there with title and Champions League winning teams, that he knows what it is about to win them, might just be what it takes for them to make a move for the Scotsman.

Chris Hughton

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    Making the transition from a well-regarded coach/assistant manager to manager is not an easy process or indeed a guarantee of quality in the latter job.

    Some like Steve McClaren have gone on to make good careers as the main man-in-charge, others like Brian Kidd have found the hot-seat just a little too toasty for them.

    Currently the manager of sixth placed Championship side Birmingham City, Chris Hughton is well on the way to making his way into the former-camp.

    It is his former life as one of Tottenham's greatest full-backs and as a coach at the club for well over a decade that sees him earn consideration on this list, but make no mistake, it is more than just an association with the club that makes him an interesting and not altogether unlikely potential manager for Spurs.

    What he did at Newcastle United upon becoming full-time manager was remarkable. Taking a club in such disarray and chock-full of hurting, egotistical players, Hughton stabilised what might have been a complete disaster and steadied them into an entertaining side that earned promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

    That he was not given more than half a season back in the top-flight with the Magpies says more about club chairman Mike Ashley than it does of Hughton's own managerial ability. At the time of his sacking, Newcastle were looking in decent shape and about where you would expect them to be having just been promoted.

    At Birmingham, Hughton has picked up where he left off, taking a side even more ravaged by the financial constraints of relegation and engineering a sense of momentum that in all likelihood should at least see them in the playoffs.

    Spurs taking him this summer is somewhat of a long-shot, but not altogther improbable either. Hughton knows the club, and has proven his nous as a manager in putting together an effective team and dealing with various nationalities and personalities. 

    Should none of the big names on offer feel right for Spurs, familiarity in the form of an emerging and talented young manager is not a bad alternative option.

Jose Mourinho

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    That the manager of Real Madrid is even a serious contender for the Tottenham manager's job probably says something about the crazy territory we're in when it comes to matters to do with the Spanish giants.

    The only club besides them that may be willing to part with a manager that has just won them the title (and possibly more) is Chelsea, and they are reportedly keen to lure the Portuguese back to Stamford Bridge after sacking his compatriot Villas-Boas.

    Should the ridiculous happen and Real let Mourinho go, do Spurs really stand a chance of getting him?

    If Mourinho isn't overly concerned with hurting the feelings of Chelsea supporters by moving to one of their biggest rivals, then there is a lot to suggest that Tottenham might tempt him.

    Mourinho knows Chelsea and he knows Roman Abramovich. For all the guarantees in the world he knows if the Russian isn't happy about something then trouble lies ahead. Beyond emotional ties to the Blues, there is not much more to separate them from Tottenham right now.

    In many ways, Spurs is far the better job, especially if they qualify for the Champions League this season. That guarantees him a return to one of the environments he thrives in (the Premier League of course being the other).

    In addition he gets Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to work with; two players who will be among this summer's most coveted acquisitions, as well as others like Rafael van der Vaart, Aaron Lennon, Sandro, Scott Parker, Brad Friedel, Kyle Walker and Michael Dawson who will appeal to him on many levels for a prospective team.

    That is a squad in better shape than Chelsea's right now, but crucially too, there will be good money to spend at Spurs. With the aid of Champions League funding and his own reputation in luring star names to work him, he would have a lot to work with in adjusting an already talented team to his specifications.

    Tottenham presents a different challenge in that, besides notable cup successes, this is a side that has not won a league title for almost 51 years now. It is all well and good doing that at Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, that is the expectation. But to do it somewhere where being the best in the land is just a fading memory, that is truly special. Just ask the Chelsea fans who still love him so for doing it for them.

    Jose at Spurs? Don't rule it out just yet...

Rafael Benitez

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    Just as there is every chance Daniel Levy might move to replace Redknapp with a talented, fast-rising manager, he might just as well think that what Spurs need is a bigger name.

    In terms of managers currently out of a coaching job, none come bigger than Rafa Benitez.

    The Spaniard was on a hiding to nothing at Inter Milan. Not only did he have to follow Mourinho, he had to contend with a side that had peaked the previous season in glorious fashion, but had not yet realised this fact.

    This is not to excuse Benitez entirely. Perhaps with a different attitude, one more open to a team so used to doing things a certain way, he might have lasted longer in Italy. But such is the nature of the Nerazzurri, where only absolute success is enough to keep you around, it was always going to be difficult.

    Benitez though is a talented manager. You don't do what he did with Valencia in Spain, and in winning the Champions League in his first season with Liverpool, and not be good at what you do.

    The level of expectation undoubtedly took its toll on Benitez at Anfield. His desire to please a fanbase that were so good to him ended up having a negative effect, leaving him frustrated and too-much on edge when further success evaded them.

    Having been out of management for over a year he will be keen to return and Spurs (like for many of the reasons listed on the previous few pages) would be a challenge that could likely tempt him.

    Whether he is right for Spurs is less certain. If they get the Benitez that is meticulous and passionate, the one that found ways to get the best out of his Liverpool and Valencia sides, they may have a manager who could take them further.

    If they get the petty, stressed-out shell of a man(ager) that was the Benitez of his last couple of years in management, they may well lose much of the momentum they have worked so hard for in the reign of Harry Redknapp.

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