Tottenham must treat manager hunt like star player search and spend big
When the curtain falls on the Premier League season on Sunday, it will look like an act of mercy for Tottenham, ending their woes on the pitch – at least until mid-August.
For fans hoping to tune out, the bad news is that Spurs’ off-field drama shows little sign of abating, with the club’s search for a new boss set to continue this summer and looking increasingly chaotic.
The newest name in the frame, Arne Slot, signed up at Feyenoord yesterday following interest from Spurs, forcing the club into another overhaul.
Feyenoord were seeking compensation of around £15m for Slot and three of his staff, which would have made it more difficult for Spurs to pursue the 44-year-old Dutchman.
Spurs have played down suggestions they have rejected in the face of the club’s Eredivisie demands, but speculation raises the question of how much is a good manager worth?
Spurs’ club stature routinely spends £15-20million on players – and that doesn’t buy the best quality these days – but is often reluctant to pay a similar fee for coaches.
The world record fee for a manager is thought to be the £21.7m Bayern Munich paid to squeeze Julian Nagelsmann out of his RB Leipzig contract, although Chelsea’s £21.5m outlay pounds to reward Graham Potter of Brighton are close behind.
Nagelsmann and Potter are both disappointed, pointing out the risks associated with big manager spending, and in Slot’s case £15m is considerable for a manager who has no experience outside of the Eredivisie – in particularly when his current deal includes a £6m purchase. severance clause next summer.
Spurs, however, spent £40m on a right-back with no Premier League experience in Pedro Porro mid-season and £60m to sign Richarlison – still likely to be an Premier League player initially. team – and are gearing up for a summer clearance, where ruthlessness is likely to be needed with a number of costly flops.
The right manager is surely worth their weight in gold, potentially delivering huge returns through success on the pitch, developing youth and improving underachieving players. Perhaps in the future paying hefty fees for coaches will become the norm as clubs protect their assets, but, for now, most teams are reluctant to take the plunge.
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has emerged as a strong contender after Slot’s decision to stay at De Kuip, while Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique are both out of work and have been admired by Spurs at one time or another.
Interim head coach Ryan Mason has said he wants the job, but Sunday’s visit to Leeds – who must win to have a chance of beating the drop – will likely be his last game in charge.
Mason was parachuted into the most trying of circumstances, with the team shattered by Antonio Conte’s scathing criticism of their characters and the humiliating 6-1 defeat at Newcastle under Cristian Stellini.
He improved the atmosphere on the training ground, made some improvements on the pitch in the future and won the admiration of several senior players in the team.
As a rookie manager at this level he would be a risky appointment, but is one of the supporters’ favorite sons – and the longer Spurs’ managerial search drags on, the more he feels like a potentially realistic candidate.
The season could yet end with European football and Spurs would seal a place in the Europa Conference League if they got a result and Aston Villa lost at home to Brighton.
If Spurs lose at Elland Road and Brentford secure a result at home to champions Manchester City, they will be overtaken by the Bees and slip to a dismal ninth, their lowest result since 2007-08.