Tottenham Hotspur: 6 Reasons Tottenham May Tumble Next Season
Clive Mason/Getty Images
For a couple of months late last season, the kind of summer Tottenham Hotspur are experiencing now was anticipated when it seemed inevitable Harry Redknapp would become the new England manager at some point this summer.
That anticipation has come to fruition, just not in the manner anyone quite expected.
Roy Hodgson became England's boss and when Spurs lost out on Champions League football, the club decided it was time to move on from the Redknapp era.
With a replacement still not in place (at the time of writing), every passing day adds to growing worries Spurs will not be properly prepared for what has the makings of a very difficult season.
While there is still much to be positive about at White Hart Lane, there are undoubtedly areas of concern that need addressing or the club may well be set for a tumble in 2012/13.
Already Being Behind Other Teams Due to the Wait for a New Manager
Chairman Daniel Levy is taking his time in appointing a new manager.
Michael Regan/Getty Images
At least during Redknapp's tenure, Spurs have not been quick to wrap up the majority of their transfer activity during the summer, with signings like Rafael van der Vaart, Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor (on loan) all being made after the season had actually begun.
This is certainly not going to change now that they are currently without a manager—would the signing of Jan Veronghen have been forced through by now had they been?
In addition, the process of deciding Redknapp's fate and now Daniel Levy taking his time in appointing a replacement has meant Spurs have fallen behind both settled Premier League clubs and those who have dealt with their own changes in management weeks ago.
As long as an appointment is made within the next two, maybe three weeks, the new manager will have enough time so that he does not need to hit the ground running.
However, it is far from an ideal situation considering most managers like to begin preparations for the following season in the week after the last one concludes.
Spurs certainly could do without an overly-frantic and stressful summer.
The Growing Competitiveness of the Premier League
New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will be out to prove his first season in the Premier League with Swansea was not a fluke.
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Though their push for a third place (or better) fell away in early springtime, Tottenham's fourth-place finish was still a remarkable achievement in what was an extremely competitive division.
That competitiveness is only likely to increase this season and Spurs will have a tough task on their hands in repeating or bettering what they did in 2011/2012.
Then there's Chelsea, on a big high after winning the Champions League, they have already brought in Marko Marin and Eden Hazard as they look to return to the Premier League's Top Four.
That is not a given, as the now-full-time manager Roberto Di Matteo will have to prove he is the man for the long-term.
What Newcastle showed last season (and Rodgers at Swansea) is that there are few certainties in this league and it doesn't necessarily take a whole lot to change the order of things.
Spurs cannot afford to rest on their laurels or risk being caught out by any of the other hungry and determined clubs looking to make their mark.
Doubts Surrounding the Futures of Bale and Modric
The quicker the futures of Bale and Modric are resolved the better.
Phil Cole/Getty Images
Despite both players still being under contacts with plenty of time left to run on them, the futures of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are likely to be under discussion for some time yet—especially the Croatian's.
Bale might be more inclined to stay at least for another season.
Still only 22, another season at White Hart Lane would probably prove beneficial for his own development as a player—time that he might not be allowed on the back of a big-money move.
Publicly at least, Bale has indicated he is looking to stay, speaking to Tottenham's official website about the "good early test for us" provided by the season opener away at Newcastle United.
Modric is a different proposition, however.
Having pushed hard to leave last summer, he may be even keener to go now that Redknapp has gone and Spurs are once again without Champions League football.
Though he eventually enjoyed another strong season after Levy refused him permission to move to Chelsea, his head clearly wasn't right in the games before the transfer window closed.
The club will want to avoid another repeat of this scenario, as the last thing a new manager needing in his first few months is an unsettled squad.
Levy would be wise to put his foot down again, this time ensuring Modric can go abroad if he wants to leave, but a move to a Premier League rival should definitely be off-limits—even if that means a slightly reduced fee.
The Lack of a Genuine, Top-Class Strikeforce
Harry Kane might make the step-up for Tottenham this season, but more numbers will be needed to join him up-front.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
An area in definite need of improvement in the Tottenham squad is their strikeforce.
Currently the only two proper strikers on the books likely to be involved this season are Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane, in addition to the deeper-laying Van der Vaart, should he stay.
Despite a relative lack of match time, Defoe will return on the back of playing some of his best football in years and will surely be determined to show the new manager he is a player integral to Spurs' fortunes.
Then there is the 18-year-old Kane, a player who grew in confidence during his Europa League outings (scoring his first goal for the club against Shamrock Rovers) and then impressed with nine goals during a loan spell at Millwall.
These are two players well worth keeping around, but regardless of their own attributes (and in Kane's case potential), a couple more forwards are needed to augment this group.
One of which must certainly bring as good a guarantee as possible of at least 15 goals a season.
Finding that class of striker is easier said than done, but a guarantee of goals would be invaluable for a team that may take time to adjust to new management (certainly early on) and will need to take points while they find their feet.
If a deal for Emmanuel Adebayor can be done, he would be a welcome return, but he is a player for whom consistency is not exactly a strong point.
With him and a more consistent finisher joining the existing forwards, Spurs should have enough goals in them to challenge higher up the table again.
Without these additions, it might turn into a long slog of a season.
A Failure to Bring in Quality Reinforcements
Benoit Assou-Ekotto carried the load at left-back for much of last season, but he will need more cover so as to lessen the concern of an injury to him.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Tottenham do still possess the core of a talented and relatively strong squad, but in addition to adding more men up front, some other positions need reinforcement to provide the cover that was lacking at times last season.
Defence is a primary concern.
A good quality centre-back should be enough in that position, with the returning Michael Dawson (injury) and Steven Caulker (an impressive loan spell at Swansea City) along with Younes Kaboul and William Gallas making for good numbers there (even if, as likely, Ledley King does not return).
Full-back is a different matter, with one of the perplexing situations of the last campaign being how Redknapp allowed so many right-backs out on loan, with just Kyle Walker to use until the conclusion of the football league season saw some loanees return.
Spurs were similarly weak at left-back, with Danny Rose and Gareth Bale the only cover for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, both having question marks over their quality in the position should the Cameroonian have suffered a long-term injury.
Failure to reinforce here for this season would leave the Spurs defence once more ill-equipped.
The new manager must quickly decide whether the youngsters like Rose, Adam Smith and Kyle Naughton are good enough here, and if not, new blood will be needed.
The same can be said of attacking midfield positions, where the promising Andros Townsend and the formerly out-of-favor Giovani Dos Santos are two of Spurs' only options left now that Niko Kranjcar has departed.
When fit, Van der Vaart, Bale and Aaron Lennon are all extremely effective. But more often than not last season, at least one was out of action, leaving a gaping absence in the team.
At least one top recruit would be beneficial to help here (maybe more depending on whether one or more of the aforementioned leave), though given the chance, Townsend and Dos Santos could be valuable contributors.
Will the New Manager Actually Be Any Good?
Is Andre Villas-Boas a serious contender for the Spurs job? Will he, or whoever gets it, be the right man?
Clive Mason/Getty Images
The biggest concern for Tottenham Hotspur heading into 2012/13 may well be whether or not the new manager proves to be the right man for the job. Especially as the time it takes to find this out may leave Spurs lagging dangerously behind others if it does not work out.
They were lucky to have Martin Jol already there after Jacques Santini did not work out, whilst the appointment of Redknapp to replace Juande Ramos was a smart and decisive one given the circumstances at the time.
Names that have been mentioned to replace Redknapp—David Moyes, Andre Villas-Boas, Laurent Blanc, etc.—are all strong candidates, but none bring with them guarantees.
Would Villas-Boas put his man-management nightmare at Chelsea behind him or would things fall apart at the first sign of struggle?
Is Moyes suited for Spurs or is Martinez ready for the step up? Is a foreign manager like Blanc the right way to go now?
It is a leap of faith for Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspur with whoever is appointed.
And as much as we can discuss the areas in need of addressing and the concerns as to why Spurs might tumble, it will probably all depend on whether one man is the right choice to oversee this all.