It is simplistic, of course, to say that Andre Villas-Boas would have kept his job had he not let his personal concerns with certain players get in the way of the greater good. There is, however, a case to be made here.
Assou-Ekotto, for example, was sent on loan to Q.P.R., a move that left Spurs understaffed at left-back. This forced the club’s best central defender, Jan Vertonghen, to operate out of position on the flank.
Would the club have suffered such crushing defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool had Vertonghen and Assou-Ekotto been lining up at centre-back and left-back, respectively?
Amidst all that has gone on, it is been forgotten just how good a player BAE had become at White Hart Lane. Certainly, there were the occasional lapses in concentration or the panicked moments when the Cameroon star would try one twirl too many.
However, he is a composed defender who can offer an effective attacking outlet on the left-hand side. With the Indomitable Lions short of offensive inspiration, Disco Benny may have a big part to play during next summer’s sojourn to Brazil.