In times of vast swathes of change Andre Villas-Boas can at least be counted on to look unflustered and in control. A half smile and arch of an eyebrow is enough from a man with such sartorial elegance and masculine features to convey at least a measure of authority.
Contrast with the man who came before him, the slapping chops and twitches of Harry Redknapp then a feeling of calm should be emanating from a small corner of north London.
As it is however, all hands are on deck for a tempestuous nine day period that will shape Tottenham’s fortunes for seasons to come.
In the time it has taken for Villas-Boas to morph from the brooding, black figure that stalked Chelsea’s Cobham training ground to the self-assured leader presented today he claims to have realised the error of his ways.
"There are changes which have to be done but I won't promote that change as aggressively as I did at Chelsea," Villas-Boas conceded last week.
Change is of course unavoidable to an extent when a new man comes along. Only Gylfi Sigurdsson featured in the 2-1 defeat against Newcastle on Saturday that wasn’t around last season but such is the difference between Villas-Boas and Redknapp and their approaches that an overhaul of Tottenham’s playing squad is inevitable.
How Villas-Boas goes about that however is perhaps where his time in charge will come to be defined.
There is no doubt the winds of change are threatening to blow loose many of the players clinging to the fringe of Tottenham’s squad. At once someone who emanates self-confidence to a degree that he inspires confidence in others, Villas-Boas decision to let Michael Dawson was enough to make even the most trusting of Spurs fans wince.
Just weeks ago Dawson was heralded as the pillar on which Tottenham’s new defence would be based around now that Ledley King had finally admitted defeat in the battle against his fragile knees.
Villas-Boas is certainly pulling no punches in letting Dawson go. If not a fan favourite then the former Nottingham Forest man is certainly admired in north London; if not for injury he would have likely established himself in Tottenham’s starting XI some time ago.
A classy defender perhaps, but not mobile enough to fit in with Villas-Boas fabled defensive high line, so he’s off to QPR. Tom Huddlestone is another slow coach who doesn’t fit the mould so out he goes. Rafael Van der Vaart must be quaking in his boots.
Other, less favoured players like David Bentley, Danny Rose and Giovanni dos Santos should also leave during the transfer window. Players like Jermain Defoe, who is liked but limited could also leave.
For a man mindful of ringing the changes too hastily for fear of alienating and going through a chastening period similar to the one he experienced at Chelsea he is sailing awfully close to the wind.
Huddlestone has seemingly already tweeted his displeasure at Villas-Boas approach to life at Spurs and some fans have questioned why Gallas is being kept on while Dawson, a relative pup at 28-years-old, is being sold.
If it is to fund his highly stylized approach to football (Gallas has little to no value) then the coming days are vital to how he can shape and mould a squad he evidently feels is unbalanced to fit his needs.
Perhaps more importantly than that however is that his actions will determine the mood surrounding the club and whether the fans will treat him with the vague suspicion that shadows him, somewhat unfairly, from his tainted time at Chelsea.
Force change too aggressively (of which he has already threatened to do) and in the proccess not land the players he needs and his time at Tottenham, regardless of Saturday’s defeat, is off to an unsteady start.
How he must rue that the transfer of Luka Modric has squeezed a month's worth of work into under two weeks, throwing into the mix unpredictability and chaos that comes in the dying days of the transfer market. He must also lament operating with Daniel Levy lurking behind him, a man who 'loves the thrill' of transfer deadline day, according to former Spurs football director Frank Arnesen.
Forced to slightly alter his formation away from 4-3-3 as is his usual preference to counter the lack of genuine wing forwards and quality in midfield, Villas-Boas is still chasing a forward despite finally landing Emmanuel Adebayor. A replacement for Luka Modric, one to appease the fans, a full-back and a goalkeeper are also on the agenda. So much work so little time.
If he can land the high-quality players that the club have been linked with such as Hugo Lloris, Joao Moutinho, Leandro Damiao, Yann M’Vila or Gaston Ramirez then he would have at his disposal a squad rich in genuine quality to challenge at the very top. He may end up with not much having paid a lot and in the proccess agitating the fans and unsettled his existing players.
Such is the vagaries and uncertainty that surround Tottenham and their impending date with destiny on August 31 that the outcome is impossible to predict. Title contenders or also-rans; either way stick that date in your diary. It’s going to be fascinating in north London, as it always is, either way.
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