Apparently, Daniel Levy didn’t read my letter. Tsk. It was chock-full of useful, pragmatic, and, above all, objective advice on the necessity of keeping Conte at any cost. Sadly, that polite but firm letter to Levy or at least his underlings who, with some cajolilng, would pass it along to him or at least give him the gist of it never arrived. Now, here we are with Conte cast aside—oh, I’m sorry, he’s left by “mutual consent”, a club’s version of “it’s not you, it’s me”. Conte joins the ranks of Nuno, Mourinho, Pochettino, Sherwood, Villas-Boas, and, well just about every manager of the last 15 years in getting sacked.
Tottenham are in serious trouble. They risk years in the wilderness if this season doesn’t end with a Champions League spot. While they currently sit fourth, they’re circling the drain like molten toothpaste. Newcastle trail by just two points, have two games in hand, and have the wind at their backs. Liverpool, seven points behind, also have two games in hand. Heck, Brighton, seven points behind, have three games in hand. It’s entirely conceivable that Tottenham could fail to qualify for Europa League, never mind Champions League. That could be fatal.
What manager would come near this flaming dumpster fire? Julian Nagelsmann? Mauricio Pochettino? Why would these managers, having grown accustomed to the finer things in life, agree to shackle themselves to this sinking club? Mourinho and Conte are two world-class managers who couldn’t convince Levy to loosen the purse-strings, and those two are legendary in their insistence for proven world-class players. Missing out on Champions League will make it even harder to lure the kind of manager, not to mention the kind of players, Tottenham will desperately need.
Think about their squad. Who among them would walk into the XI at Arsenal, Man City, or Man U? Kane, maybe—a move away to a club that’s fighting for silverware could rejuvenate him, but he looks slower and less-incisive with each passing match. His pursuit of individual glory might prove to be a hard habit to break, bred into him over almost his entire professional career. Son? He’s a ghost of his former self. One could make a claim for Porro or Kulusevski, but the fall-off after that is steep.
This should force Levy to realise that his only option, whatever happens over their remaining ten matches, is to sell Kane to someone like Real Madrid. In truth, he probably should have sold Kane last summer before another year of use and the increasing desperation of their current dire straits started to sap Kane’s value. Last summer, they might have sold him for £200m. That would have allowed Levy to buy four or five high-quality players. Now, given the turmoil, the only limiting factor to Kane leaving is his apparent desire to break Alan Shearer’s Premier League scoring record. Kane needs just 57 goals, something he could probably get in two or three more seasons if he joins the right side.
Daniel Levy makes Arsène look like a drunken sailor. Heck, he makes Scrooge himself seem profligate. Kane knows this. Aside from Son, he can’t point to any other teammate who is world-class (and even Son has struggled to replicate his form of the last two or three seasons). Where are the academy players? Where are the diamond-in-the-rough signings?
With Newcastle surging, it’s only a matter of time before Spurs slip to fifth. People try to undermine our top-of-the-table status by suggesting that we’re only there because Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man U have struggled to varying degrees. Where does that leave Spurs next season? On current form, they’d be lucky to finish eighth.
Of course, I could be wrong. Interim manager Cristian Stellini could turn out to be the most brilliant manager in the history of football, leaving Spurs to a ten-match win streak, convincing Kane to stay and Levy to sign six marquee players in the summer, and I will have wasted your time and mine with this post. It’s unlikely. What’s more likely is us watching the slow-motion implosion of this erstwhile rival of ours.