After talks with Gennaro Gattuso were called off following a huge fan backlash on social media, there is quickly becoming a chaos endangering Tottenham Hotspur’s future as the search for a new manager drags on.
Chaos is Endangering Tottenham Hotspur’s Future
Jose Mourinho Gamble
When Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy took the decision to sack Mourinho, it was arguably as large a gamble as appointing him in the first place. He was hired to replace Mauricio Pochettino who had taken Spurs to regular top four finishes and Champions League football on a tight budget.
When Mourinho was fired with just days to go before the League Cup final against Manchester City in April no one could have envisaged that over two months later Spurs would still be looking for his replacement.
Ryan Mason took charge for the final and last few Premier League games but was never considered a long term appointment and stood down at the end of the 2020/21 season following qualification for the inaugural Europa Conference league. The Mourinho gamble had failed and the search for a new manager began but the search has descended into chaos, uncertainty and relations between club and fans have become increasingly strained.
Antonio Conte the First Pursuit to Fail
On June 4, it seemed that Tottenham were closing in on the appointment of former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte who had left Inter Milan after leading them to the Serie A title but talks collapsed with the Italian reportedly not seeing Spurs as a side ready to win trophies. Spurs also felt as though he did not want to work with the youth players which Levy sees as being a big part of the club’s future.
It was another step on the road to the chaos which is endangering Tottenham Hotspur’s future.
Pochettino Return Also Out of Question
Whilst Conte talks were ongoing, there was one rumour that refused to go away and that was regarding the potential return of fan favourite Pochettino, who made way for Mourinho. Pochettino said when he left that he would love to return one day and there is a feeling that he could have taken the club further had he been backed by the chairman. A failure to do any business in the winter and summer transfer windows of 2018 were the start of the Argentine’s demise, however.
Pochettino is under contract at Paris Saint-Germain and the compensation would have been prohibitive to any deal.
Daniel Levy’s End of Season Message on Tottenham Hotspur’s Future
All club chairman issue an end of season message to fans and Levy is no different, although his message was one that needed to strike a conciliatory tone following his and the executive boards’ part in the failed European Super League talks.
Regarding that issue, the message was wide of the mark in apology but one area that Levy was firm on was about needing to regain the DNA of the club and a need to appoint someone who would be in keeping with the traditions of the club, saying: “As a Club we have been so focused on delivering the stadium and dealing with the impact of the pandemic, that I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA.”
The new stadium was a huge undertaking and Tottenham now have what is considered one of the best stadia in the world as well as training facilities that are also considered to be some of the best there are.
The reference to DNA had fans thinking about the days of Bill Nicholson, Harry Redknapp, Keith Burkinshaw and even Pochettino. Levy’s point about the next appointment has so far failed to ring true: “We shall focus on the recruitment of a new Head Coach. We are acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great Club and return to playing football with the style for which we are known – free-flowing, attacking and entertaining – whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish from our Academy alongside experienced talent.”
It appeared that Levy was accepting that he had not always got things right with managerial appointments and there was an allusion to Mourinho who never carried favour with the fans with his defensive and often stagnant style of football. Levy expressed a desire to appoint someone as soon as possible yet still no one has taken the top job, leaving Tottenham in an increasingly embarrassing situation.
Director of Football Appointed
Amid the chaos of the search for a new manager, Tottenham have made one appointment in former Juventus director of football Fabio Paratici who oversaw success during his 11 years in Turin. Levy is hoping he can bring that success to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Paratici oversaw signings such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba as well as Andrea Pirlo who he picked up on a free transfer from AC Milan.
His ability to use free transfers will appeal to the frugal Levy but Tottenham are unlikely to pay the wages that Juventus were able to offer which may yet cause tensions between the pair.
Levy explained in a video on the official Tottenham Youtube channel what Paratici’s role will be: “Everything to do with the footballing side of the club he will have responsibility for. Obviously, recruitment is one element. He will be working closely with Steve Hitchen, all the analysts and all the scouting department.”
Paratici’s Move for Fonseca
Paulo Fonseca was the next man in the frame for the job with reports suggesting that the two men had met in Italy and a verbal deal was agreed with just formalities to be ironed out. But then on June 17, the deal also collapsed. Tax issues were cited as the main reason, although Spurs are said to have been unable to agree to his coaching staff requirements. Once again Tottenham were left looking for a new manager with the saga starting to descend beyond chaos and into farce.
Gennaro Gattuso: The Latest Twist
Paratici had tried to appoint fellow Italian Gennaro Gattuso as Juventus boss during his time there and is still a fan of the former AC Milan and Italy star and as soon as Fonseca talks were announced to have fallen through, talks with Gattuso were underway and deal once again was said to be close.
This was a short lived move and attempts to appoint him were called off in less than 24 hours after Spurs fans took to social media and the hashtag #NoToGattuso started trending as fans expressed anger at views expressed by Gattuso in the past.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust picked up on this sentiment and, whilst not making any direct comment, have clearly stated the fans’ feelings to the club. The Trust issued the following tweet:
As ever, it isn’t wise for us to comment on speculation. However, we can and do communicate supporter sentiment to the decision makers at the Club, and have done so very clearly on this occasion. We are aware of and acting on your concerns around potential managerial candidates.
— THST (@THSTOfficial) June 18, 2021
It appears once more that fan power at Tottenham has spoken, leaving Levy with more questions to answer.
Manager Chaos Endangering Tottenham Hotspur’s Future
August 14 2021 sees the Premier League season start once more and time is running away from Spurs when it comes to appointing a new manager and start rebuilding the new squad. Major international tournaments are never ideal for clubs as it makes squad rebuilding difficult and leaves little time for any new players to gel and a new manager to start getting their views and tactics into place.
Harry Kane’s future is still in doubt at Spurs and Son Heung-min is still to sign a new contract extension with the club despite talks starting at the end of 2020. There are players expected to leave such as Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks and Serge Aurier. Yet, without a manager Tottenham look like a club in total chaos with the communications far from appeasing fans, stadium debt acting as a millstone around the club’s neck and no direction seemingly in place.
Other managers looking on may well be wondering if taking a risk at Tottenham is worth it and whoever comes next is going to be acutely aware that they are far from first choice for the role.
With little direction, failed appointments and fan unrest, the situation needs to be resolved if Levy wants to avoid the manager chaos endangering Tottenham Hotspur’s future in the long term. In the short term, Tottenham already look like a club lurching from PR disaster to PR disaster.
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