Andre Villas-Boas spoke to the media today for the first time since he was unveiled as the new Tottenham manager.
The Portuguese has taken up his first role since leaving Chelsea under a cloud of controversy earlier this year – and says he has learned plenty from his time at Stamford Bridge that will stand him in good stead with Spurs.
But major question marks hang over both manager and club ahead of the new season. Spurs have plenty to lose in making a managerial change having secured a top four finish last season, while doubts hang over Villas-Boas and his approach to management after his doomed spell with the Blues.
The new Premier League season starts in little more than a month – so what issues must the club and their new manager address in order to maintain their top four push next season?
Find a striker
Jermain Defoe spent much of last season on the bench for Tottenham but he could find himself in the starting XI by virtue of default next term, he is the only first team striker currently on Tottenham’s books.
While that may appeal to Defoe as he looks for more game time that won’t do for Spurs as they look for the goals to fire them into the Champions League.
Emmanuel Adebayor should secure a permanent move to White Hart Lane having impressed on loan next season. Rumours of Leandro Damiao and Ganso arriving in north London seem unfounded.
Adebayor’s arrival at Spurs would be good news and he will fit into Villas-Boas’ plans but he needs another forward, someone in the mould of Loic Remy to add some dynamism to his front line.
It was refreshing to hear Villas-Boas discuss Luka Modric’s future frankly, and it appears as though the Croatian playmaker is off - and the sooner the better.
Villas-Boas admitted he is holding out for the right deal which should come along soon, and it appears as though the former Chelsea boss has realised Modric’s desire to leave can’t be contained for another year and has already set his sights on a replacement.
The 34-year-old admitted an interest in Joao Moutinho, a player who impressed at Euro 2012 and would be a good fit. Despite Modric’s quality, the arrival of the Porto player plus an extra £10 million or so from the Modric deal would represent good business.
Amalgamating what has gone on in the past with what he wants to happen will be difficult for Villas-Boas, and he will have to use all his diplomacy to ensure he has a happy squad going into the new season.
Harry Redknapp’s style is very different form his indeed and while it alienated some players, he was loved by most and he will be a very difficult act to follow in the eyes of some.
Couple in the much more strict tactical approach Villas-Boas takes compared to Redknapp and he could have some pretty disgruntled players.
The 34-year-old spoke kindly of Redknapp’s work that laid the foundantions of what has gone before him while he also spoke of his desire to interact with his players to find the best way forward rather than demanding they follow his strict plan. It was a good, convincing start from the man who appeared grumpy and unhappy with Chelsea.
Live up to, and manage, expectations
What do Spurs fans expect next season? On one hand they look like doing some shrewd business in the transfer market having already snapped up Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen, with plenty more to follow by all accounts.
However on the other they could lose two of their most creative players in Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart, and they must come to terms with a complete different approach in little more than a month.
Redknapp secured two fourth place spots in three years and took the club from the bottom to very near the top. The club is certainly ambitious and wouldn’t have made a change unless they thought it would improve their standing.
So far Villas-Boas has given plenty of reason for cautious optimism but in truth a top four finish this season would be a magnificent achievement, especially if and when they lose Modric.
Maintain the Spurs tradition
By far the best aspect of Redknapp’s tenure was the brand of football played under him. It was swift and exciting and captured the public’s imagination - something that hadn’t been said about Spurs for a long time.
Under AVB fans can expect exciting football, but of a different kind. Expect a pressing game with the ball played out from the back with a high line to help force mistakes in order to regain possession and catch opponents offside.
Spurs have the players, and most importantly the young legs to adopt to this style but in truth the fans won’t care one iota about this technical jargon as long as its pleasing on the eye and getting results.
With a team containing the talents of Gareth Bale, Jan Vertonghen and potentially Joao Moutinho along with Rafa Van der Vaart, it is unlikely to be a drab affair down at the Lane.
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