It is no secret that Tottenham are in desperate need of rebuilding their team from the ground up after what has been a somewhat disastrous season.
Daniel Levy’s gamble of sacking Mauricio Pochettino and hiring Jose Mourinho in 2019 has not paid off and now the club are in dire straits with Harry Kane revealing his desire to leave in the summer.
Pochettino even warned Spurs that they needed a ‘painful rebuild’ shortly after the club’s Champions League final defeat to Liverpool in Madrid, months before he would ultimately be shown the door after five years in charge in north London.
Tottenham face losing Harry Kane this summer after he reiterated his desire to leave the club
But Pochettino’s pleas were ignored and, with the team on the brink, the cheaper option of replacing one man instead of a team was what Levy went with.
While Mourinho managed to turn Spurs’ fortunes around temporarily – which saw them top the table before Christmas – the dormant issues that haunted the squad from Pochettino’s reign still lingered.
Just days before the club’s Carabao Cup final in April, Mourinho was relieved of his duties at Tottenham, with Levy appointing 29-year-old Ryan Mason in his place.
Chairman Daniel Levy has a big summer ahead of him in turning Spurs’ fortunes around
Spurs, predictably, were outclassed in the final against Manchester City and just about scraped European football for next season – albeit that being the new and undesirable Europa Conference League for a club of Spurs’ supposed status.
Their end to the campaign left Levy with a huge headache, given he still hasn’t appointed a new manager, has plenty of players who just aren’t up to the top-four challenge and has a world-class striker who wants to leave.
In the last week, speculation is rife that Pochettino – now at PSG – could make a sensational return to the club, with multiple reports claiming the Argentine has grown frustrated with life in Paris and wants to leave.
Reports earlier this week claimed Pochettino will hold talks with Tottenham on Monday
Levy is said to regret his decision to sack Pochettino and he has quickly become one of the leading candidates to take over in north London. The pair could be set to hold talks on Monday.
It seems like a big ask for Spurs to rediscover their form and get back to winning ways, no matter who takes over, but there are a number of key issues that need addressing before that can happen.
Sportsmail takes a look at what needs to be done before Spurs can re-establish themselves as one of the Premier League’s top four sides.
Somehow replacing goal-machine Kane
This should be prefaced with saying that if Tottenham can convince Harry Kane to stay, then that’s what they should be aiming for. It would be considered a huge win to keep him around for one more season.
Saying that, this whole scenario just feels like Groundhog Day for Tottenham fans – they get a world-class player who struggles to win silverware and then decides to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.
In the last decade it happened with Luka Modric, then Gareth Bale and now it’s Harry Kane’s turn.
The 27-year-old sent shockwaves around the footballing world after revealing his intent to leave the club this summer, with Europe’s elite now readying huge £100million-plus bids in order to tempt Spurs into selling their prized asset.
Kane scored 23 goals for Spurs this season to finish as the Premier League’s top goalscorer
Along with the Golden Boot, Kane also walked away with the Playmaker of the Season award
Kane had a long embrace with Dele Alli and Son Heung-min on the final day of the season
Kane hinted that a move to Manchester City would be his preferred destination while enjoying an afternoon of golf with Gary Neville last week, stating the one player he would love to play with is Kevin De Bruyne.
It seems his 17-year fairytale with his boyhood club is coming to an end this summer and a Harry Kane-shaped hole at Spurs will be nigh-on impossible to fill.
Not only can he pretty much guarantee you around 40 goal contributions a season, but he’s ‘one of their own’ and would achieve the legendary status that Steven Gerrard has at Liverpool, Alan Shearer holds at Newcastle or Francesco Totti has at Roma.
However, Kane’s mind seems made up and it looks like he will be granted his wish after giving his all to the club since he was given his break into the first team seven years ago.
There is no direct or like-for-like replacement in world football for Kane to Tottenham fans but what you can do is look for someone who guarantees you a similar goal return.
These types of players are in short supply, though.
Kane has hinted at joining City, after saying how he’d love to play alongside De Bruyne (centre)
Erling Haaland can certainly bring you the number of goals Kane scores every season, with Spurs even making discreet enquiries for the Borussia Dortmund star back in February, which was revealed by Sportsmail.
However, Haaland’s huge £350,000-a-week wage demands put the club off, with Levy aiming to stick to his tight wage structure while hoping to unearth football’s next hidden gem instead for a fraction of the cost.
It remains to be seen who will replace Kane should he be granted a big-money exit this summer, but Levy and Co will need to make sure that the fee they get for the England captain is smartly re-invested back into making Tottenham a top-four contender again.
A long-needed overhaul
While the time for a painful rebuild is two years too late, the next best time to start from scratch is now.
Spurs announced losses of £63.9m in November and have been hit harder by the pandemic than most, so will aim to sell a host of players in the hope of raising funds and freeing up wages.
Serge Aurier, Harry Winks and Juan Foyth have all been linked with permanent exits once the window reopens but the new Tottenham boss, whoever that may be, will need to offload plenty more dead wood in order to shape the squad in his image.
Serge Aurier (left) and Harry Winks (right) could leave White Hart Lane this summer
Aurier looks set for a return to PSG to link back up with Pochettino, while Villarreal are looking to make Foyth’s loan move a permanent one for roughly £15m.
Winks came close to leaving in January in order to seal a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euros but Mourinho desperately sought to keep him at the club in order not to leave themselves short in what was a jam-packed fixture schedule.
Despite this, Winks just hasn’t cut it while Moussa Sissoko also looks past his sell-by date despite him being called up by France for the Euros.
Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have endured disappointing seasons and could be sold if suitable offers come in for the centre-back duo.
Tying down Son to a new long-term deal at Tottenham will be a main priority for the club
Gareth Bale’s return to Real Madrid also leaves a hole on the right wing, which Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela will likely fill, but it remains to be seen if Spurs will take the Welshman back on another season-long loan after the Euros.
With that being said, Spurs have plenty of work to do and several positions to fill.
A new right back, centre back and striker will be the main priorities while getting Son Heung-min to agree to new terms is also a must.
Bring in a director of football
Tottenham’s recruitment over the last 10 years has been largely woeful, with the club often shelling out large amounts of money for players that fail to live up to the hype.
When Bale was sold to Real for £86m in 2013, the club brought in seven new signings with Christian Eriksen and, arguably, Erik Lamela the only solid buys.
Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Vincent Janssen are just a few of the high-profile duds that have left Tottenham fans scratching their heads while a self-imposed transfer ban over the 2018-19 season left many questioning if the current board were really up to the task.
Spurs have a bad track record of reinvesting large sums of money back into the squad
Even Spurs’ chief scout turned technical performance director, Steve Hitchen, sensationally admitted during the club’s Amazon documentary All Or Nothing how the January transfer window was the ‘worst time’ of the year for him.
It doesn’t make for good reading that the man tasked with bringing in new players hates the time where he is expected to shine.
And his track record in recent years isn’t flattering, either.
While Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was a stellar bit of business last summer, the likes of Gedson Fernandes and Matt Doherty have been uninspiring and have barely played.
This is where a dedicated director of football can help ease the burden left on Hitchen’s shoulders – and Spurs are considering a new man for the role, according to The Athletic.
Luis Campos has helped turn Lille into Ligue 1 champions this season, while he has been credited with helping find the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho, Nicolas Pepe, James Rodriguez, Anthony Martial and more in the past.
Buys like Matt Doherty (left) have not given fans hope in regards to Spurs recruitment policy
Ralf Rangnick is another option for the role, while he is also being considered as a managerial target for the club.
Rangnick has helped oversee the rapid rise of RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga while, like Campos, has helped unearth players like Roberto Firmino and Joshua Kimmich in the past.
Tottenham haven’t had a director of football since Franco Baldini left the club in 2015, but while the £86m they got for Bale was poorly invested during his reign, they need the right man in the job to stop it from happening again.
Build around Son, get Dele back to his best and re-establish an attacking style of play
With the season now finished, Tottenham can finally look to appoint their new manager so the rebuild can begin.
The club are reportedly set to announce their next boss in the coming week, ahead of the start of Euro 2020 next month.
In Levy’s rare letter to supporters in the club’s final match programme of the season, the Spurs chairman promised to appoint a new manager who plays ‘free-flowing, attacking and entertaining’ football, after admitting the club had ‘lost sight of what’s in our DNA’.
Returning to an energetic, high-octane style of play will be what all Spurs fans are craving, and Pochettino’s return would certainly ensure that as he made that ethos a huge part of his style.
Building a team around Son (left) and getting Dele (right) back to his best will be key for Spurs
Brighton’s Graham Potter has been lauded for his style of play on the south coast while Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag is a managerial option that Levy has identified as a key target, despite the coach committing his future to the Dutch giants recently.
Whoever does come in will have a large to-do list waiting on their desk before he can even think about implementing his ideas.
Among them will be getting Son to commit to a new deal, getting Dele Alli back to his best while trying to get Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Hojbjerg to work cohesively in a three-man midfield.
Ndombele has shown flashes of brilliance since arriving in a club record £65m deal two years ago but has been largely underwhelming under three different managers.
Lo Celso’s fitness record has been dreadful, so getting the most out of big-money buys and already established stars will be key to any sort of rebuild.
Cut out the defensive mistakes and shore up the backline
A common theme in this Spurs squad has been the inability to keep a hold of leads this season.
In total, Spurs dropped 20 points from winning positions this season and their continued lapses in concentration saw their title bid during the Christmas period crumble before their very eyes.
While Mourinho was brought in to instil a winner’s mentality, he left the squad fearful of making mistakes while punishing many of them in the press not long after.
Sloppy mistakes from the likes of Dier, Sanchez and Alderweireld saw them alienated at different stages of the season while they were put on a defensive merry-go-round with each man being swapped in and out of the team every other week.
The backline severely lacks confidence and really could have done with a player of Ruben Dias’ quality in defence – but Levy decided against forking out for £50m for the Benfica star.
Spurs have dropped 20 points from winning positions this season and look frail at the back
Mourinho’s long-term successor will need to shore the backline up with a number of new defensively-minded recruits given that Spurs aren’t really that far off the Champions League spots in what has been a hugely disappointing campaign.
Spurs only missed out on the top four by five points this season, with defeats by Aston Villa and Leeds proving costly in their final four games.
While Kane looks set for the exit, solid signings, good coaching and a clear strategy will get Tottenham back where they want to be.
But should any of those three pillars fall, then Spurs could slide back into mid-table mediocrity.