Spurs do not intend overhauling squad again
Chairman Daniel Levy says plan is only to ‘strengthen in key positions’
Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy (right) and his wife Tracy Dixon at White Hart Lane. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Daniel Levy has expressed his dissatisfaction at Tottenham Hotspur’s season but the chairman has ruled out another summer of “major upheaval” to the playing squad.
There are expected to be changes at managerial level, with doubts over the futures of the manager Tim Sherwood and the technical director Franco Baldini. Levy has explored the possibility of hiring Louis Van Gaal as the manager once his involvement at the World Cup finals with Holland has ended and attempts to finalise what would be an exciting appointment are ongoing.
He has considered other candidates, including Ajax’s Frank De Boer and Southampton’s Mauricio Pochettino, but either one would be difficult to prise from their employer. De Boer might consider leaving Ajax but only for Barcelona, who he represented during his playing career, or a club of similar stature.
Van Gaal becomes a free agent after the World Cup, when he will be succeeded by Guus Hiddink. The 62-year-old is on record as saying that he wants to manage in England and he met Levy before Sherwood was confirmed as Andre Villas-Boas’s permanent successor last December.
Baldini would stand to be a casualty of Van Gaal’s arrival, not only because the Dutchman likes to have total control at a club. Baldini’s stock is low after the poor return of the seven signings that he oversaw last summer at a cost of £110.5m (€133.45m).
The priority for the club’s manager next season will be to draw more from those players, even if it is unclear whether all of them will remain. There is also uncertainty over the defenders Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul, while the goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a target for Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco back in his native France.
Vertonghen’s form has dipped this season, as he has been tracked by Barcelona – they want either him or Chelsea’s David Luiz, although they must yet successfully appeal a Fifa ban from the next two transfer windows after breaking rules over the acquisition of underage players.
Tottenham have looked into re-signing the defender Steven Caulker, who they sold last summer to Cardiff City for £9m (€10.9m), while they made an unsuccessful offer of £4m (€4.8m) for the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow in January and could try again for him in the summer. There is the intention, according to Levy, only to “strengthen in key positions”.
Tottenham sit sixth in the Premier League, eight points behind Arsenal in fourth and with six matches to play. Their league record under Sherwood reads: P16 W9 D2 L5 and he remains determined to convince Levy to persist with him and his heart-on-the-sleeve style.
Levy has noted that the club are just two points worse off than they were at the corresponding point of last season but it is a measure of Tottenham’s progress over recent years – they have finished in the top five every time since 2009-10 – that the current campaign has come to feel underwhelming.
“We have come far in the last decade – we have raised our expectations from a club aiming to be in the top half of the table to competing in Europe each season – to the point at which we find ourselves disappointed if we don’t make Champions League, ” Levy said.
“This season, we have had to make significant changes, both in respect of coaching and playing staff and yet we are currently only two points less than last season’s tally. Whilst this season’s performances and results have not lived up to expectation, we believe our squad has potential and it is important that we all now show commitment and teamwork to get the best possible finish to the season.”
Levy’s comments came as the club announced their financial results and updated supporters on the progress of the new stadium development. Phase one of it has been financed to completion but there has been a delay in the necessary land acquisition. The club await the secretary of state’s decision on the compulsory purchase order.
The club said, in a statement, that they “anticipate going out to tender for construction late this year, which will make a stadium opening date of summer 2017 feasible.”
“Our current 36,000-seater stadium sells out and the waiting list for season ticket holders is currently in excess of 47,000,” Levy said. “We cannot stress strongly enough how critical the new stadium is over the long-term to our raised expectations.
“We have the smallest capacity stadium of any club in the top 20 clubs in Europe, let alone the current top four Premier League clubs and, given we now operate within Uefa Financial Fair Play rules, an increased capacity stadium and associated revenues is fundamental to supporting the future ambitions and consistent achievement at the top of the game.
“Our focus therefore is to continue to invest in and develop the squad – we shall not look to a summer of major upheaval, but rather to strengthen in key positions – to play the style of football for which we are famous and to deliver the new stadium.”
The club said that revenue for the year ended June 30th, 2013, was £147.4m (€178m), an increase on the previous year’s £144.2m (€174.15m), while profit from operations excluding football trading and before depreciation was £23.4m (€28.26) compared with £23m (€27.8m) in 2012.