Tottenham Hotspur may well have pulled off one of the best signings in their recent history in appointing Andre Villas-Boas as head coach at White Hart Lane.
Chairman Daniel Levy took a huge gamble in confirming the 34-year old as Harry Redknapp’s successor, given his disastrous spell as manager of fierce rivals Chelsea.
The gamble however appears to have paid off.
AVB did not become a bad manager overnight because of one bad spell at Stamford Bridge. He must have done something special as manager of Porto to persuade Roman Abramovich to part with in excess of £13m to capture his signature, a record for a managerial appointment.
It is easy to see why the Russian billionaire was so keen to land Villas-Boas. His one year in charge of Porto saw him claim the Europa League and land the Primeira Liga without losing a league game. Despite his claims that he was NOT the new Jose Mourinho, AVB’s time at Chelsea was cut short for the exact same reason that saw the ‘Special One’ lose his job.
He was too outspoken. From the owner through to the players, Chelsea Football Club is full of egos. They needed a ‘yes man’ and in Roberto Di Matteo they have that man.
Granted, AVB seemed a little too keen to enforce his own methods and would have been better advised to slowly introduce some of the younger talent at the club rather than drop John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba at the first time of asking.
The egos of Stamford Bridge were never going to roll over that easily and after numerous reports of rifts within the ranks and the club languishing outside the coveted Champions League slots in sixth, AVB was shown the door and Di Matteo appointed interim head coach.
The Italian reverted back to the old guard and although their league form still left a lot to be desired, he masterminded some incredible European victories over Barcelona and Bayern Munich on route to lifting the Champions League (with a banned John Terry).
With that glory in mind, it is clear that Villas-Boas got it all horribly wrong at Chelsea. But as stated earlier, one bad spell at a club clearly not suited for his style of management did not make him a bad manager overnight. In Spurs, he appears to have found a club suited to his methods and the early signs are that his stay at White Hart Lane will prove to be much more successful.
He doesn’t need to worry about phasing out the more senior members of the side as he has inherited a young, hungry squad that plays with blistering pace. In what would appear typical AVB fashion however, he was again keen to stamp his own authority on his new side and wasted no time in selling unsettled Luka Modric to Real Madrid for over £30m whilst allowing Rafael van der Vaart to move back to former club Hamburg.
Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele were both snapped up on transfer deadline day and have been instrumental in Tottenham climbing to fifth in the table. Dembele was superb in the recent 3-2 victory over Manchester United and Dempsey scored the decisive third to hand Spurs a first victory at Old Trafford in 23 years.
Hugo Lloris, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson were also added to an already strong squad to provide much welcomed competition for places and this Spurs outfit look capable of breaking into the top four once again.
In Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon he has the pace available to be able to play his preferred 4-3-3 formation and Jermaine Defoe has been proving just what a clinical finisher he is with four league goals to his name already. Villas-Boas and Tottenham fans insist on their sides playing attractive, free flowing football and if the opening few encounters are anything to go by, the two really are a match made in heaven.
Follow on Twitter @GaryMaidenEFC
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