Chaos at Tottenham who now face a major rebuild
So much happened at Tottenham this season and, at the end of it all, they failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 13 years.
The Thomas Tuchel-Antonio Conte handshake following Spurs’ last-gasp 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in August really set to the tone for both clubs, with chaos the prevailing vibe.
Conte was certainly the central figure at Spurs, missing a handful of games following the turn of the year after having his gallbladder removed.
He was nominated for February manager of the month, with the Lilywhites winning four of five league games, although the only one he was present for was a shambolic 4-1 demolition at Leicester.
Then, following a 3-3 draw with Southampton, came that rant, in which Conte said, amongst other things, he saw ‘selfish players’ who ‘don’t want to play under pressure. they don’t want to play under stress... Tottenham’s story is this. 20 years and there is the owner, and they’ve never won something’
A whole eight days after criticising the players, the ownership and the club’s entire culture and history, Conte was sacked, with his long-term assistant Cristian Stellini, bizarrely, placed in interim charge.
If Spurs supporters thought it couldn’t get any worse, they were mistaken.
Under Stellini, Tottenham were beaten at home by Bournemouth, before a truly embarrassing 6-1 demolition at Newcastle, in which they were 5-0 down after less than 20 minutes.
Who could’ve predicted that a man who’s only managerial expirence was 16 games in charge Alessandria in Serie C six years ago wouldn’t be very good?
So, as was the case following José Mourinho’s dismissal two years ago, Ryan Mason was tasked with steadying the ship until the end of the campaign.
The madness didn’t end there though.
Tottenham went 3-0 down at Anfield inside 15 minutes, fought back to 3-3, with Richarlison nodding home his first league goal of the season in stoppage time, only to then concede in calamitous fashion straight from kick off.
Overall, after losing five of their final eight matches, Spurs slumped to an eighth place finish, their lowest for 13 seasons, so will not feature in UEFA competition next season.
There were some highlights this season, reaching the Champions League knockout stages with a comeback victory in Marseille, topped only by Harry Kane becoming the club’s all-time record goalscorer.
In January’s 1-0 win over Manchester City, Kane broke Jimmy Greaves’s record that had stood for 53 years, having now scored 280 for the club.
The big question now is will he stay and add to that figure next season?
Will Harry Kane stay or go? Who will Spurs’ new manager be?
At the time of writing, it’s been 67 days since Antonio Conte’s sacking and we’re no nearer to knowing who Spurs’ new manager will be.
Mauricio Pochettino has gone to Chelsea in stead, while Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique, Arne Slot and Vincent Kompany have all, one way or another, ruled themselves out.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is the current front-runner, but who knows what’ll will happen if he decides to stay in Glasgow.
Two summers ago, it took Daniel Levy 76 days to appoint Nuno Espírito Santo, only for him to be sacked 93 days later.
Will another uninspiring appointment be made?
All of this mess doesn’t bode well for Harry Kane’s future does it?
The striker will celebrate his 30th birthday in late-July, two days after Spurs take on Roma in Singapore, but will he be featuring in that pre-season game?
As it stands, Kane looks likely to remain at the club for the final year of his contract, with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG or any other suitor unlikely to offer a fee Levy would be willing to entertain.
Players who will depart are club legend Lucas Moura and loanees Clément Lenglet and Arnaut Danjuma, although the obligation to buy Dejan Kuluševski from Juventus has been triggered.
Club captain Hugo Lloris could also depart and, depending on who the new manager is, the squad may require a massive overhaul, given that it’s been built for Conte’s very specific 3-4-3, with Ivan Perišić the personification of this specificity.
Meanwhile, do returning loan players Djed Spence, Tanguy Ndombele, Joe Rodon, Sergio Reguilón, Harry Winks, Destiny Udogie, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil have a future?
All of these questions, and many more, need to be answered, but the hard work cannot yet begin as no manager or sporting director, following Fabio Paratici’s worldwide ban, is in place.