The objective ? – Chairman Levy wants AvB to lead the team, enter & retain a top 3 position in the Premier League.
Why AvB? Before rationalizing, why AvB was chosen, let me briefly share, what is the current situation in the Premier League, in my opinion. The hunger quotient of becoming a top 5 club in the Premier League has increased immeasurably . Therefore, the 2012 -13 season brings in more competitiveness and fierceness. Manchester City and Manchester United, are clearly fighting for the top 2 positions. Chelsea, also will soon join the fight for the No.1 position in the title race. Arsenal and Liverpool will potentially battle it out for positions 4 and 5. These aspirations, are clearly reflected in their Summer transfer acquisitions. Chelsea taking on Marin, Hazard, Oscar, Man Utd taking on Shinji Kagawa, Liverpool signing Borini, tells us that, the future of football is going to be pacy, technically sound, more purposeful, profoundness in details & far more attack oriented. This things also makes, an average age of opening 11 of top 3 clubs between 24- 28.
The winning style is gradually changing over the period of time. Intelligence & understanding of the game are given importance, than sheer athleticism, pace, and ruggedness. Intelligence, combined with metrics and methods are chosen over, motivational talk, inspiring speeches from team managers. Players being functional & efficient, has become a must have, now. As the game changes, new situations demands new skills and qualities. Midfield is no more seen as primarily a central position. It is now seen as the orchestrating position for both defense & attack. A game’s width is becoming wider. Centre backs and winger are expected to be both footed now, which means more adaptability, as per the circumstances. 90 minutes is becoming more purposeful, objective & detail driven.
Top 3 clubs now prefer winning matches at all costs (as opposed to drawing), even before the game could begin. Importance to preparation, attention to detail, measuring the adequacy and effectiveness of the opponent’s approach are becoming the new mantra. This new situation in the Premier League, requires skills like farsightedness in players, maturity on the pitch, systemic attempts on goal (basically system players), togetherness in the team, clinical balance between attack, possession & defense, apart from all those physical abilities. As you can see, there will be a scholarly, yet pacy approach from teams, who aspire to take the top 3 position in Premier League.
This is the premise and here we have this situation. And, what would be Tottenham’s approach at this juncture? Try and settle for 5th or 6th position? Or just try to hover around to see,if any other top 4 clubs are in the losing dimension ? I do not think so. Tottenham have decided to climb up the value chain to become a top 3 club in the Premier League. Accordingly, in my view, they have done the right thing in sacking Harry Redknapp . Without doubt he was a good and efficient manager. However, he 10 -15 years behind in terms of tactical awareness. He lacked progressiveness in his approach and match cleverness. I guess, Spurs chairman Levy knew very well about Redknapp and his limitations and also the upcoming threats, challenges and new dimensions in modern football. The demands are quite complex and technical and therefore, the team requires a young, erudite and ambitious coach, who believes in science, methods and metrics.
Thus, Levy identified the ‘right one’ at an appropriate juncture. AvB is the ‘right one’ who is as progressively detailed as the game. The right one (AvB) is obviously a young man, who has qualitative fresh ideas and adequate “savvy” to tackle this new situation. He comes with such a rare experience, that the current top 3 clubs in the Premier League have to take Tottenham seriously, upon his arrival. This could very well be the defining moment in the club’s history and for the ‘right one’. His age, experience and footballing-wisdom have previously been under scrutiny from media, but then, I feel that is not an issue at all. He has the required pedigree and will hopefully repay the Board for their investment. Levy has seen what the media and opponent have not. It is AvB’s scholarly intelligence and erudite approach in football which suits this current situation. And it is quite incomparable to any other managers in the Premier League. Besides, he was schooled by ‘The Special One’. Yes, you are right. AvB was a pupil under Jose Mourinho. Under his tutelage, AvB has observed, learnt and practiced the perfect game and its changing equations. He is known to be a keen observer of the game. Plus his achievements at Porto resonates well in the Premier League. AvB is currently hurt, embarrassed, wounded and hungry for success. If given a chance, he will put his life at stake, ensure, he proves his mettle. Levy’s jackpot is here.
At this juncture, Levy does not need not push his agenda or instruct what he believes AvB has to do. AvB will aim to put Spurs at the top 3 table in the next 3 years. And Levy, will enjoy that. It’s a perfect win-win position for both the Club & ‘right one’. Unlike the situation in Chelsea, AvB will not face the issue of club owner’s micro-managing the decision, player selections & game tactics. Therefore, the head coach can independently operate and work with the team, without any commercial ambiguities. AvB is a character, who can flourish well and nurture players, in an average/medium club. He fits in well with these clubs. In larger clubs, the influence from club owners and therefore, their politically motivated agenda’s, does, dilute the clarity of managers. I could see, this is one of the key reason, why AvB couldn’t settle and succeed at Chelsea. But then, Tottenham and chairman Daniel Levy could be different. And I hope the board members, players & fans to support AvB’s approach and have the necessary patience to see, the Spurs flag flying high…