Perhaps the main obstacle Daniel Levy faces in recruiting a new manager is that the job at Tottenham is not as attractive as he thinks. The chairman may have to accept this before he can make the correct appointment.
Managers are wary of modern Tottenham. They see a beautiful stadium and training ground. They see status.
But they also see a level of expectation beyond what they can realistically deliver given wage and transfer budgets compared to other clubs at the top of the Premier League.
Graham Potter would be a gamble, but his progressive approach could revive Tottenham
Daniel Levy is looking for a new manager, but is hit by numerous rejections
That’s what put off Brendan Rodgers, for example, and considering what Tottenham could do now, it’s worth going back to the day the Northern Irishman came to Liverpool from Swansea in 2012.
At the time, Rodgers was still in his thirties, an emerging coach at Swansea. He was widely admired, but was not a big name and some questioned the appointment. Much of the Liverpool fan base wanted Rafa Benitez back.
But Liverpool needed a manager to chart a clear path forward, a coach with a long-term vision.
After finishing eighth, sixth and seventh in previous seasons and running horribly under Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool was in desperate need of a reboot. Rodgers gave that to them and nearly earned the Premier League trophy in 2014 as well.
This is what Tottenham needs now. A reboot. Maybe even a season of taking further steps back on the field if it’s all part of a plan to get them back on track.
That would never be Jose Mourinho’s idea and that’s fine. Mourinho is an open book when it comes to his management’s short-term thinking.
Jose Mourinho was fired six days before Spurs faced Man City in the Carabao Cup final
But it feels very much like it should be now. Spurs are riddled with debt after building their stadium, and the Covid pandemic cut off most of the revenue streams intended to pay that back. They are not likely to spend a lot of money on football players.
So Tottenham has to find a strategic way back to the top four and for that they need a strategic coach.
That’s one of the reasons Steve Hitchen, the club’s technical director, has Graham Potter, the Brighton manager, on his list of recommendations. There are others at Tottenham who admire Potter as well, but Hitchen’s list is the one that goes up for consideration by Levy.
Potter would be a gamble. Brighton, despite all the attractiveness and method of their football, is ranked 14th in the Premier League. The job at Tottenham feels like it came 18 months too soon.
But Levy must be persuaded to see the merits of young, progressive coaches.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is a primary target of Tottenham as they keep an eye on a new boss
He must learn to see the value of men like Potter and former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and in order to do that, Levy must be persuaded to acknowledge where his club is right now.
This is what Liverpool did nine years ago. Yes, they were still Liverpool – but they were also the eighth best team in the country, tied with Fulham on points.
Levy is hubrist. He sees his club on an equal footing with Chelsea, Liverpool and the clubs of Manchester. He hates the idea that other English clubs think they can buy Harry Kane, for example.
But this is a time for realism in North London. Levy has to think about where he wants Tottenham to be in five years and how best to get there.
Maybe he should name small to eventually grow big. The question: does he have the courage?
The mention of the little Penrith of the Northern League last week prompted Chairman Billy Williams to get in touch.
As with many non-League clubs, life in Cumbria has not been easy. But Penrith still manages to lead a whopping 32 teams serving men and women of all ages and the disabled.
Scratch the surface of our game and remarkable things will happen.
HENDERSON’S ABSENCE IS A HAMMER BEAT
Gareth Southgate has long said he has nearly nailed five or six players on his squad for the European Championship. As always, things have changed.
Raheem Sterling’s place is now under serious threat from Manchester City clubmate Phil Foden, and Marcus Rashford’s form no longer guarantees him a place.
But it is the continued absence of injured Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson that is now the biggest concern.
Henderson may not play this season and the European Championship starts in six weeks.
Jordan Henderson has not played for Liverpool since February and it is a concern for England
Can he be expected to be ready for the first game against Croatia?
England has fresh talent in the position of Henderson, but Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips have 22 caps and have absolutely no experience in tournament football.
Henderson played in two world cups and two European championships.
Behind Harry Kane, he is arguably England’s most important player.
It’s gonna be a lot harder without him this summer.
LUKAKU IS NOT AN ANSWER FROM CHELSEA
Chelsea needs a striker. There is no doubt about that. Whether Romelu Lukaku is the answer is less certain.
Lukaku’s best days in the Premier League came with Everton. The Belgian was almost unstoppable on his day. But that was four years ago.
He was then less impressive at Manchester United. Those who worked with him described him as one-dimensional and capricious.
He is only 27 and his rebirth at Inter was impressive but also surprising.
An even bigger shock would be a successful return to the Premier League.
Romelu Lukaku is flying high for Inter Milan and is one of the best strikers in world football
At Chelsea, however, it was a different story and he failed to score in 12 Premier League games