Since replacing Harry Redknapp as Tottenham’s new manager, Andre Villas Boas has been quick to make his mark on the London club.
The Portuguese boss certainly has something to prove after a unsuccessful attempt at revitalising an ageing Chelsea side and plenty of doubters are waiting to see him fail.
Despite this, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has backed the new coach with money to spend thus far, with a raft of new faces expected at the north London club before the 2012-13 campaign starts.
Here’s a look at how the new boss has/will influence Tottenham’s transfer policy.
Current Signings: Jan Vertonghen & Gylfi Sigurdsson
AVB has already added two players to his new squad; former Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen and Hoffenheim youngster Sigurdsson who excelled in the Premier League for Swansea last season.
In 18 Premier League games during his loan spell for the Welsh club, Sigurdsson scored seven goals and added four assists. Swansea agreed a £6.8 million fee with Hoffenheim for the permanent transfer of the Icelandic international subject to him passing a medical, however, following Brendan Rodgers’ move to Liverpool, the deal collapsed. AVB swooped in to sign the youngster as he recorded his first ever transfer as Tottenham head coach.
Vertonghen had been linked with Tottenham throughout the season having publicly expressed his desire to make the move to White Hart Lane ahead of numerous other teams including local rivals Arsenal. Villas Boas finally secured a deal for the player this month
During the 2011–12 Eredivisie season, Vertonghen emerged as one of Ajax’s best players, demonstrating his versatility to cover multiple positions After an impressive season in Holland, the 25 year old was named the 2011–12 Eredivisie Player of the Year. In this season he captained his Ajax side to their second consecutive league title, scoring 8 goals in 31 league games; this also highlights his attacking strengths.
Both players have appeared in Tottenham’s early pre-season friendlies, with Sigurdsson scoring his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win versus Stevenage. I fully expect them to excel at White Hart Lane.
Benefits of his record in Europe
Regardless of his failings at Stamford Bridge, Villas-Boas’ record of success with Porto is mightily impressive. An unbeaten domestic season and Europa League glory propelled the young trainer into the world’s spotlight, with fans, players and the footballing community taking their hats off in appreciation.
This record of success will stand Spurs in good stead in the transfer market, as the majority of their rumoured targets seem to be currently plying their trade on the continent. Villas-Boas is well-respected in Europe, compared to Harry Redknapp whose reputation is UK-based.
Benefits of his Ambition
Although Redknapp certainly wanted to succeed with Tottenham, the side’s capitulation last term was largely down to doubts over his future, with England lurking, and naive tactics. Villas-Boas gives off the impression of a born winner, with his exploits at the Estadio do Dragao the proof in the pudding.
Players may well be motivated by money and other factors when choosing a new club, but nothing intrigues the modern day professional more than ambition. Villas-Boas will act as a shot in the arm that Tottenham need to be perceived as a club heading in the right direction.
Focus on Young Players
Villas-Boas is a known advocate of investing in youth, which may not have paid off at Chelsea but could well see Tottenham as a challenger at the top of the game in England for the foreseeable future.
The likes of Kyle Walker, Gareth Bale and other younger and energetic players will be the heartbeat of Tottenham’s side next term and the Portuguese tactician will look to add more exciting prospects to his squad before the campaign starts.
Harry Redknapp was guilty of bringing in older heads that suffered injury and inconsistency, with the likes of Ryan Nelsen, William Gallas and Louis Saha having limited impact. Villas-Boas wants to find a replacement for aging goalkeeper Brad Friedel, whilst the additions of Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson at 25 and 22 years old respectively are signings for now and the future.
The Luka Modric Situation
Modric looks set to leave White Hart Lane this summer, as a move to Real Madrid becomes more likely. The Spanish giants have reportedly increased their initial £28m bid as they move to land their top target.
The offer on the table is believed to be worth around £35m plus performance-related add-ons, while the possibility of a player-exchange is also being discussed.
Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have also made contact with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy regarding Modric but the 26-year-old is understood to have told the Londoners he has his heart set on a move to the La Liga champions.
Convincing Rafa to stay
The Dutchman had also been strongly linked with a transfer away from north London but has now dismissed those rumours, and insists he’s excited about working with the new Spurs coach.
The playmaker ruled our summer move away from the club, and revealed the appointment of head-coach Andre Villas Boas swayed his thinking.
‘My place is at Spurs,’ said Van der Vaart.
‘The new coach has good plans for me and this is important.
‘I have heard excellent reports about AVB.
‘We have very good attacking players and if AVB imposes an offensive system the team could be a real spectacle.
Surely this suggest’s the Portuguese manager’s failiure at Portugal was an anomaly. In this case, his man management and skill as a coach has clearly influenced one of Tottenham’s stars to stay with the club.
The attacking ethos mentioned by Van Der Vaart is also very important.
Tottenham, when on form and in the mood, must be accredited as one of the most lethal and exciting attacking sides in England and Villas-Boas’ appointment will only go to continue this. The new trainer will set his side up to be combative and competitive, but also to attack their opponents and look to entertain the White Hart Lane faithful.
With a new striker (or two) on the wish list, Villas-Boas will be keen to bring in attacking talent that will help the team continue their offensive outlook.
Personally I’d expect a few fringe players to leave to allocate funds for further big-name signings, for example Steven Pienaar, Kyle Naughton, Jermain Defoe and Dos Santos.
AVB has already been linked with a number of new signings at Tottenham. This includes the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Emmanual Adebayor, Joao Moutino and Hulk.
One of Tottenham’s main challenges in the transfer window this summer will be to replace key playmaker Luka Modric, if and when he leaves the club. Many names have been touted as possible signings to fill the creative gap that the Croatian’s departure would leave.
As mentioned before, AVB will also look to add fresh strikers to the club. Adebayor is yet to make a permanent switch from the Etihad to White Hart Lane and without him Tottenham lack a genuine top class striker. The new head coach will no doubt look to bring in a forward or two.
Interestingly Spurs have recently been linked with Atletico Madrid star Falcao – In my opinion, the Columbian would be an outstanding signing for the club. Dortmund forward Lewandowski and out-of-favour Daniel Sturridge have also been mentioned by the papers.
In my opinion AVB is a very exciting acquisition for Tottenham, his youth and diverse footballing philosophy is exactly what Daniel Levy’s side needed to take the club to the next level. I’m looking forward to seeing which players he will bring to Spurs in the future – the next generation of players that could eventually compete for the Premier League title.