Andre Villas-Boas did not approve the signings of Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches while he was Tottenham boss, according to reports.
As revealed by Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail, the recently sacked Portuguese boss allegedly outlined Hulk, Joao Moutinho and David Villa as three summer targets he'd like to bring in, but a "power struggle inside White Hart Lane" saw chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini make the final decisions:
Villas-Boas objected to the acquisitions of Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen, a quartet who cost Spurs a total of £56 million, but his judgment was overruled.
The Portuguese manager asked his chairman to buy Hulk, Joao Moutinho and David Villa as he planned for life without Gareth Bale.
Of Tottenham’s seven recruits, Villas-Boas wanted only Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Soldado. The rest were identified by Levy and technical director Franco Baldini.
While the quartet of supposedly unwanted players are bustling with talent, it's interesting to consider where Spurs would be if they opted for the trio Barlow names during his report.
Hulk is a proven goalscorer at all levels of the game and "had been desperate to leave Zenit St Petersburg and join with Villas-Boas," according to the article. The pair won Liga Sagres, the Portuguese Cup, Super Cup and Europa League together between 2010 and 2011 at Porto.
Moutinho was also part of this side and looked set to join Spurs until the transfer agonisingly broke down in September 2012, reported by Jason Burt of The Telegraph. He joined Monaco in a double-deal alongside James Rodriguez this year, ending any hopes of a potential North London switch.
Villa was available for pittance during the summer and moved from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid for £4.5 million, per David Kent of the Daily Mail. With eight goals in 16 La Liga appearances this campaign—recorded by WhoScored.com—the World Cup-winning forward looks to be a costly miss for Villas-Boas, and indeed, Spurs.
Which player do Spurs need the most?
Barlow's report suggests the failure to sign Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala—who joined Chelsea at the last minute instead—made Spurs opt for Eriksen from Ajax. The Danish winger is more than equipped to tear through the Premier League, but like many of the club's signings, has failed to remain consistent since arriving.
Eriksen is yet to score in the domestic division but does have one goal in the Europa League, per WhoScored.com. Lamela has also shown his best form in this competition and his only Spurs goal to date came in the European tournament.
Chadli has largely played with a lack of intensity. Although intelligent on the ball, his inability to shift through the gears serves as a reminder of how special Gareth Bale was for the struggling club.
Although Chiriches has dealt with a handful of injury problems since joining, his goal against Fulham doesn't hide the need for a vast improvement in his positioning and willingness to leave Spurs exposed at the back.
First-team coach Les Ferdinand has denied reports and suggests AVB agreed to sign all of Spurs' summer acquisitions, as told to Beyond The Pitch and reported by Sky Sports:
Most of the signings were perhaps suggestions to him, but he agreed to those suggestions.
The bottom line is he agreed to all of those signings. It wasn't a case that the players were brought in and he was told 'You have to make a team of these players', because if you're a manager and that happens, you're destined for the sack.
Barlow's final statement is certainly the most damning if AVB didn't wish to acquire the aforementioned individuals, suggesting miscommunication was at the root of all problems for Villas-Boas and the Spurs board:
Villas-Boas was asked, after the Liverpool defeat, if he had chosen all seven signings and while he resisted the temptation to make his point, his hesitation spoke more loudly than words about the communication breakdown. A few hours later he was clearing his desk.
Many supporters will be waiting to see if the former Spurs boss responds to these claims in the coming days.
Should Barlow's claims be true, the positioning of Levy and Baldini may come under fire. They appear to call the shots—whether that's signings in or out—suggesting the next Spurs manager may also struggle under the influence of those above him.