Tottenham Hotspur: Predicting Where Spurs Will Be in 5 Years Time
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Football's ephemeral nature makes predicting where Tottenham Hotspur will be in a year's time—let alone five years—difficult.
Few would have envisioned the kind of half-decade the North London club have been through since 2008.
Tottenham was able to build on the previous few years work and become regular contenders for the top four. Then manager Juande Ramos was not the man to deliver it, though.
After securing just two points in eight games, the Spaniard (along with sporting director Damien Comolli) was dismissed early in the ensuing campaign by chairman Daniel Levy.
Harry Redknapp's appointment saw a more traditionally English, back-to-basics approach favored. While that worked well for a time, that too was disregarded, with Levy's appointment of Andre Villas-Boas prompting a return to a "continental" system, similar to the one the chairman had previously backed..
Yet, even now there is uncertainty—at least if media reports are anything to go by.
Franco Baldini, as reported by BBC Sport (among others) is close to being appointed Spurs' new "technical director," has yet to be installed.
Villas-Boas himself, who was last month quoted here by The Guardian, encouraging his club to restore the role, is still being touted as the new Paris Saint-Germain manager—one of the latest reports coming in Tuesday's Guardian.
The speculation might amount to nothing. Still, it will give Spurs fans pause for thought.
Just under a year ago, the newly appointed manager was firmly talking up a future in what he described as "one of the most exciting coaching positions in the Premier League."
"I have had several discussions with the Chairman and the Board and I share their vision for the future progress of the Club," Villas-Boas told the club's official website. "This is a squad any coach would love to work with and together I believe we can bring success in the seasons ahead."
After a positive, if slightly disappointing first season at White Hart Lane, there is a general optimism from all parties about the direction Spurs are heading in under Villas-Boas' management.
The Portuguese impressed in leading his team to a fourth-consecutive Top Five finish. Given the changes the playing and coaching staff had undergone heading into 2012-13, the coach and his squad's style and efforts were largely to be commended.
Even with the ominous strengthening of their similarly ambitious Premier League rivals, predictions of Villas-Boas' Spurs progressing over the next five years are not without foundation (albeit, them not yet being entirely certain).
Assuming he stays, 2013-14 will be the 35-year-old's first time managing a club into a second year. The young coach will be tested in ensuring his ideas are still received by his players.
Based on his resume thus far, it would be churlish not to give him the benefit of the doubt that they will work. Only at Chelsea, in a less than conducive working atmosphere, have they not gotten across so well.
Five years is not just a long time for a manager to be at one club, but also for a group of players.
Spurs have become a realistic challenger in the upper reaches of the Premier League through assembling a good core of English players (Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Aaron Lennon among them), while shrewdly bringing in foreign imports at various costs (from the cheaper Benoit Assou-Ekotto, to more expensive names like Hugo Lloris and Luka Modric) to fill needs elsewhere in the squad.
In theory, sticking to a similar formula would keep the Lilywhites in good shape to maintain their recent levels. Circumstances will challenge this.
Presently, we are still waiting to see what Spurs will do in the transfer window without the attraction of Champions League football. The specter of Europe's premier club competition will continue to hang over them in one form or another for some time yet.
Then there is the ongoing issue of the new stadium intended to be built around the current White Hart Lane.
Plans are slowly but surely coming to fruition. To the outside world, though, there is not yet a clear idea of a timescale and costs.
How the latter will impinge on the actual football team is unknown. Even with support from local governing authorities, construction will not come cheap.
Arsenal, at least according to their chief executive Ivan Gazidis through ITV.com, are only now about to see the real benefits of financial planning which their Emirates Stadium heavily influenced. This after playing seven years there already.
Efforts to improve productivity from the club's youth system will be vital for Spurs, regardless of the above. Even with money to spend on top outside talent, being able to call on homegrown players will be a source that could play a major part in them being in good shape.
Players like Steven Caulker, Andros Townsend and Tom Carroll have been among the most impressive youth products Spurs have produced for years. There are also hopes for several others below them in the pecking order.
Tottenham is undoubtedly in pretty good shape. Looking ahead five years, you can make a compelling argument as to why they could be even stronger, or least at a comparative level (some of which has been discussed in this article).
But as also noted above—with the manager's uncertain future, and many questions remaining about a new stadium—there are so many factor that could undermine even the best laid plans.
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