Three weeks after Harry Redknapp was sacked by Spurs, former Chelsea boss Villas-Boas will spend a second consecutive summer preparing for a Premier League campaign with a London club.
Critics can rightly point to the Portuguese’s disappointing nine-month spell at Stamford Bridge, the ground he left in March of this year with a record of 19 wins, 11 draws and 10 defeats. His touchline calisthenics and chippy relationship with the media also count against him.
However, here are five reasons why he is the right man to take on the Spurs job.
Villas-Boas became the hottest property in coaching after he led Porto to a historic league, cup and European treble during his one season in charge at the club. Chelsea wasted little time in snapping him up for an unprecedented amount of compensation.
A 33-year-old with no experience as a player and just two years of management under his belt was suddenly thrust into one of the biggest clubs in the most-watched league in the world. He had to contend with plenty of egos in the dressing room and an owner who demands success in the biggest competitions every year.
Tottenham, while still a reasonably big club in their own right, would have been a much more manageable step up for Villas-Boas had the job at White Hart Lane been available last summer.
At the north London club, in theory, he should be given more time to adapt and develop his ideas by the players and board.
Anyone who was wise enough to cast aside the widespread truism that the Europa League is a poor competition was rewarded in 2010-11 by Porto’s stunning run to victory in the competition.
Porto won their quarterfinal 10-3 on aggregate and their semifinal 8-3 en route to glory, while striker Radamel Falcao scored an astonishing 17 goals in the competition that season.
Villas-Boas’s attempts to bring in such an approach at Chelsea proved too much, too soon, and the fault for that lies at the feet of both him and his players.
Tottenham—again, in theory—have the players and footballing philosophy to make it work.
When Redknapp took over from Juande Ramos back in October 2008, with Spurs famously bottom of the league, club chairman Daniel Levy abandoned the club’s previous management structure and all but handed the keys over to his new man.
As results steadily improved, Redknapp became too comfortable in a job he felt was his for as long as he wanted it. It seemed he was barely able to walk (or, more aptly, drive) past a microphone without talking about either a player the club was linked with or the England job.
Villas-Boas is cut from a completely different cloth. He may be too dry for the taste of some, and will not have the sporting press in his pocket like Redknapp did, but at least he will conduct himself in a manner more befitting the role.
Villas-Boas took on his first full-time job at Academica de Coimbra in October of the 2009-10 season, when he helped them to avoid relegation. The following summer, he moved to Porto, before leaving for Chelsea a year later.
As such, he has very little experience when it comes to signing players and building a squad. It is generally held that January signings of Miguel Pedro at Academica and Raul Meireles at Chelsea are the only two acquisitions in which he played a significant part.
The way Spurs chairman Daniel Levy likes to work is to let his head coach (for that is Villas-Boas’s job title, not manager) take care of on-field matters and for him to steer the off-field business.
With Villas-Boas, he has the ideal man to do that.
When Chelsea poached Villas-Boas from Porto last summer, his reputation was that of the brightest young coaching talent in the game. He was seen as the very future of football management.
When he left nine months later, he did so as a failure and a figure of fun for some members of the press. Matters were not helped in that regard by Chelsea going on to win both the FA Cup and the Champions League with his former assistant, Roberto Di Matteo, at the helm.
Villas-Boas deserves credit for his decision to take another job in English football, especially the first suitable one that became available to him and with a team in the same city as his old one.
Such a choice is the action of a man who believes he still has what it takes to succeed.
If he can learn from his mistakes, he may well do.