Tottenham Need to Play The Next Few Months Perfectly to Consolidate Recent Success
With two games to go before the end of the season, questions marks linger over the future of Tottenham.
Recent weeks has seen a cryptic Mauricio Pochettino dodge questions about his future, which has led to doubts about what direction the club will be going in.
Tottenham have virtually qualified for the Champions League next season, and have the easier run in compared to Chelsea (their direct rivals for that last spot), but their form has been inconsistent over the last few weeks similar to the year when Leicester won the title with a few weeks to spare.
This should worry Tottenham, because not qualifying for the Champions League will be a downright disaster and could trigger a mass exodus.
The new stadium is being built for Champions League football, and superstar footballers. The lack of the former could lead to the exit of the latter from the club.
But each one of these dilemmas that the club is facing is a result of their own success. Tottenham are a bona fide “top 6” team in the Premier League and are no longer the chokers that they always were.
That in itself is saying something.
Pochettino has taken Tottenham to new heights where not winning the FA Cup and going out to Juventus in the Champions League are considered failures. It’s important to remember that this is the same side that beat both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund this season and have gone toe to toe with virtually every big club in the Premier League bar Manchester City.
This season was always one of consolidation for them. Few would have predicted Tottenham to achieve the success they have had at Wembley this season, and credit should be given to them for being consistent and pushing their own boundaries across three different competitions.
But their perceived lack of success and the surrounding media hype around it could in itself trigger a downward spiral. Daniel Levy needs to double down on every front to make sure this doesn’t happen.
For someone with a reputation as a skilled negotiator, Levy is at a crossroads with his club. The club’s policy of maintaining a wage ceiling cannot hold out much longer, and Levy will have to loosen up his purse if he is to keep his best players.
Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane are Tottenham’s best players, but their squad is filled with talent in every position. Should players like Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose leave, Levy has to be swift in his response to replace them.
And what of bench players like Erik Lamela, Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama? They are players who could boost the squad of any club in the league, and it’s easy to see their head turned with the guarantee of more playing time. Signing Lucas Moura in the January window was a good move to add depth to their squad and push the first team players, but with the inflated transfer market it will be hard to say for certain which key player will stay and which player will go.
The manager and all the backroom staff need to act as one to ensure there are backups in the transfer market whom they can add to the squad should the worst happen.
The biggest worry for the club should be their notoriously one sided relationship with Real Madrid. This season has been up and down for Real, and even another Champions League trophy will serve no guarantees to their squad and manager.
Florentino Perez is wily in his ability to sound out players and play mind games, which usually always turn the head of his target. This time it is Pochettino in the crosshairs. As of now it seems unlikely that Pochettino will leave with the new stadium around the corner and the Tottenham squad peaking in age, but just as nobody would have predicted the Neymar transfer, it wouldn’t be out of the blue that a massive money double offer for Harry Kane and Pochettino would make Daniel Levy take notice.
And what if Pochettino himself decides it is time for him to leave? His quality of a manager is there for everyone to see, and should Zidane leave Real in the summer, it would be the perfect opportunity for him to take over. It’s an opportunity that might not present itself again considering that Real will be looking to plan for the future – revamping the whole squad. Pochettino’s insight would be key to rebuilding a Real team.
Spurs have a lot to look forward to, but a lot of questions still remain.
But when all said and done, their position is an envious one for many other clubs; they have put themselves in this position by overachieving the last few years. This season may have been perceived as an underwhelming one, but only because of the lofty expectations they set on themselves. They should look back with pride, and look forward with determination to achieve more.