After the traditional honeymoon period that every manager is allowed when they take the reigns of a new club, Andre Villas-Boas has been pushed into the deep end of Premier League management… again. After three games, he’s still searching for the first three points, and his own quirky style of man-management doesn’t seem to be doing the job for Tottenham Hotspur.
At the first, albeit superficial, glance, Villas-Boas would seem to be the perfect fit for this Spurs’ side – a manager with a winning record, who has managed at the highest levels, and would unquestionably be a statement of intent for Daniel Levy. Whilst those of you with memories shorter than Stewart Downing’s upcoming DVD (2011-12 Highlights In A Liverpool Shirt) will scoff, he won the Portugese Primeira Liga and Cup double, along with the UEFA Cup, in only his second season in charge of the cup. That’s three trophies, incidentally, in a season. Not bad at all.
But, as is evidenced by the slump that saw Chelsea relieving him of his duties, midway through the 2011-12 season, he hasn’t adapted quite so well to life in the windy, wet and insular goldfish bowl that is British football. His fashion sense may send Fleet Street into raptures, and his reputation as a dynamic, forward-thinking tactician may cause the intellectuals into a heavy swoon, but these are as alien to quiche and Desperate Housewives to the ordinary fan. What they want to see is results, and there is no sign of Villas-Boas picking up any more fans any time soon.
Even more intriguing is the way Villas-Boas went about his last-minute transfers of the summer. Signing Clint Dempsey for £6 million is all well and good, and in my eyes it’s a much better deal than £24 million for Van Persie, but £15 million for Moussa Dembele sounds inflated to me, even for deadline day. And what about Hugo Lloris? It doesn’t seem like he’ll be playing anytime soon, what with Brad Friedel – a man who is clearly on Father Time’s good side – still in the form of his life, so why spend £11.8 million on him (there’s also the matter of the wages that Spurs would have had to offer him to tempt him from his life at Lyon, which will probably be revealed in due course) when there were so many other players that could improve the Tottenham squad?
Two seasons ago, Tottenham had arguably the strongest squad in the Premier League. Now, it seems like a long way back to those heady heights, and an awfully long way to fall.
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