Tim Sherwood has confessed on more than one occasion he is unsure over his Tottenham future beyond this season, and Louis van Gaal’s latest comments from Nice will only inflame those doubts further.
Sherwood saw his Spurs side suffer an almighty blow to their hopes of Champions League qualification at Norwich on Sunday, a 1-0 defeat that leaves them six points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool.
It is a situation chairman Daniel Levy will unlikely settle for, and Netherlands boss van Gaal continues to hint White Hart Lane will be his destination after the summer World Cup, per the Mirror’s John Cross:
I will definitely not be in charge for the [Euro 2016] campaign. I don't know where I will go next, normally I go with my pension, go to live in Portugal, but maybe there will come a new challenge.
I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League. That's a challenge. Maybe Tottenham are coming, but first we have to go to Brazil.
One man who will certainly not be heading to North London, however, is Italy boss Cesare Prandelli. He told Italian TV station Rai, per Sky Sports:
Me to Tottenham in the next season? This is fantasy football.
It's too soon to talk about my future, after the friendly with Spain in March we will have a meeting with (the FIGC president, Giancarlo) Abete and the federal leaders.
Van Gaal's comments were made at the Euro 2016 qualifying draw in Nice, which drew fierce spotlight on his future. The former Barcelona coach will be a free agent after the 2014 World Cup, and his CV guarantees he will be a man in demand.
Does Sherwood deserve more time?
League title triumphs with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are impressive, although all three clubs enter every season expecting such success.
However, van Gaal also managed to win the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar, proving his ability to upset the natural order with a perceived “lesser club.”
That achievement will undoubtedly impress Levy, who has been attempting for years to find the man to turn his club into a regular title contender.
Harry Redknapp was booted out despite finishing fourth during the year when Chelsea won the Champions League, costing Spurs their place at Europe’s top table.
Andre Villas-Boas was given £100 million to build a top side after the sale of Gareth Bale, but he failed miserably as Sherwood was promoted to sort out the mess left behind by the Portuguese.
Assuming control when Spurs were seventh, having just been smashed 5-0 by Liverpool, Sherwood managed to reignite their campaign and has lifted them to fifth, yet they still look short of the top four this term.
Sherwood summed up his predicament after Spurs’ away win at Swansea in January, which saw him start life with five wins in six games. The Daily Star’s Graham Clutton quoted Sherwood saying:
I think if the season was to end tomorrow, though, the chairman wouldn’t be too happy because we’re fifth.
The final league position has to meet the expectations of the club otherwise it’s ‘goodbye Charlie.’
The club need to finish in fourth place, they want to finish in fourth place.
Currently, it would seem, Sherwood’s future is out of his hands. If Liverpool win nine of their remaining 11 games this term—given their incredible goal difference advantage—Spurs will not be playing Champions League football next season.
Premier League Top 6 Chelsea p27 60pts Arsenal 27 59 Man City 26 57 Liverpool 27 56 Tottenham 27 50 Man Utd 27 45 #bbcfootball— BBC Radio 5 live (@bbc5live) February 23, 2014
Van Gaal’s CV dwarfs that of Sherwood, and he also comes with a reputation for attractive football. For Levy, that equates to an ideal candidate.