Tottenham: Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, Harry Kane and Daniel Levy’s biggest call of his reign
Antonio Conte’s appointment in November 2021 was touted by many Tottenham fans as Daniel Levy’s ‘last chance’, a final roll of the dice from a chairman who was starving after a string of disastrous decisions.
Yet 16 months on, Levy is set to choose his 12th permanent manager, with talks continuing today over Conte’s sacking, following his extraordinary tirade against his players at Southampton on Saturday.
In the immediate term, Levy must decide how to give Spurs the best chance of making the top four and salvaging something from a miserable campaign. In the longer term, he faces a choice over what kind of manager to go for next, not just to achieve long-awaited success on the pitch, but to restore the unity, direction and identity of the club. a club that has gone seriously astray over the last three and a half years.
Other factors relate to Levy’s huge appeal, including his own status with the fan base and the future of Harry Kane, who has one year left on his contract and is expected to attract interest from Manchester United. this summer.
Get another date very badly and Levy risks lingering but mid-level discontent with his presidency becoming a full-fledged mutiny, while if Kane feels the new coach gives him little chance of challenging for silverware next season , he could be pushing even harder for a summer move.
The most likely short-term scenario is to put first-team coach Ryan Mason in charge until the end of the season, just as the club did after sacking Jose Mourinho in April 2021.
Spurs could then target unemployed candidates such as Luis Enrique and Thomas Tuchel, who would prefer to take up a job at the start of pre-season, while existing candidates including Roberto De Zerbi of Brighton, Ruben of Sporting Lisbon. Amorim and Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou would be more accessible.
This approach would not be without risk, given that there are still 10 games left to play this season, and other top European clubs could be looking for a manager this summer.
If Levy decides, for example, to target Mauricio Pochettino again, it could be easy to re-sign the Argentine now rather than at the end of the season when Real Madrid might also have a vacancy.
Mason, 31, is well-liked by the players and seen as an up and coming manager who has already tasted a top role this season. Although Conte’s assistant Cristian Stellini was the frontman during the head coach’s five-game absence after emergency gallbladder surgery, Mason would have made many of the big calls tactically, including including the shrewd decision to push Eric Dier into midfield in the 1-0 victory over Manchester City.
Mason won three and lost two of his five games at the end of the 2020-21 season, but this time he would have doubled the number of league games, including three consecutive six points against Newcastle, United and Liverpool at the end of April. , likely to determine whether Spurs retain a top-four finish.
Another question for Levy is whether he allows Fabio Paratici, the club’s chief football officer, to have a say in Conte’s successor. Paratici, who has led the club’s football team since his appointment in July 2021, is believed to be leading succession planning and drawing up a list of potential candidates, which is believed to be dominated by former Spain manager Enrique.
The former Juventus manager faces a hugely uncertain future in the game, however, with a chance his two-and-a-half-year ban from Italian football will be extended across Europe and another potentially damaging legal case. either in progress.
There would obviously be a risk that Levy would allow Paratici to effectively choose the next manager when he could be forced to leave Spurs imminently.
The most fundamental question for Levy, however, concerns the managerial profile he is pursuing and what that says about the club’s identity, direction and culture. Spurs’ last three managers have all played reactive football, and the chairman may especially want to return to a manager who plays on the front foot, and reflects what Levy has previously said is “really in our DNA”.
Even so, there remains the question of whether Spurs are indeed starting from scratch with a promising young manager in the mold of De Zerbi and tasking them with promoting and developing young players and building a multi-year project, like Arsenal l did with Mikel Arteta. Or do they opt for another great manager with a recent history of success, like Enrique or Tuchel, who might be in a better position to keep Kane happy but might, in the end, become frustrated more quickly with Levy’s tight financial controls.
Given the depth of uncertainty over nearly every level of Spurs, which also extends into the long-term future of the property, and the number of issues to come in the weeks and months ahead , Levy is surely facing his most crucial period as president.
Above all, he is once again preparing for another “last chance” in the form of a leadership appointment he can hardly afford to get wrong.