WITH the season coming to its climax, the stories of summer changes at Tottenham Hotspur continue to gather pace.
Louis Van Gaal and Mauricio Pochettino have been linked to the manager’s job in the last few weeks, with Tim Sherwood expected to leave at the end of the campaign. But now another name has been thrown into the mix.
Reports in Italy and The Metro over the weekend stated that former AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri had been offered the role, with his experience and reputation, admired at White Hart Lane.
However sources close to Tottenham told the Metro that there was no truth in this rumour.
The club have remained silent ever since news broke two weeks ago that Sherwood will be relieved of his duties at the end of the season. Would he be a good fit at White Hart Lane though?
Allegri is a coach of vast experience in Seria A after leading AC Milan to the league title in 2010-2011. Before then he had spells at Cagliari and Sassuolo as he built up his reputation as a young coach and was named Manager of the Year by his fellow colleagues during his spell at Cagliari.
Tottenham’s interest will come as no surprise to those in Italy where he is still seen as one of the best managers around. Despite being sacked at the San Siro in January this year Allegri won’t be out of a job for long.
One of the main factors in his favour is his ability to work with the younger players and improve their all-round game. Stephen El Shaarawy came through the ranks under Allegri and has gone on to become one of the bright lights at Milan. Mattia De Sciglio is another who came through the ranks at I Rossoneri (Red and Blacks) and was given his debut by Allegri during 2011.
Since then he has gone on to represent the Italian national side and is their first choice right-back heading into this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Mario Balotelli is another who has benefited from Allegri’s management style. The Italian came to the San Siro with a reputation of being a fiery character whose career and personal life has been blighted with negativity. His bad-boy image threatened to ruin his career but the move to Milan has calmed the 23-year old down.
Allegri must be given massive credit for putting Balotelli’s career back on track.
Many will say that Allegri isn’t the man to turn Tottenham’s fortunes around, because he oversaw the decline of one of Italy’s most successful clubs of all time. There is some truth in that, however Allegri can’t be blamed solely for AC Milan’s failings.
After finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in his first three years he announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the 2013-2014 season. Milan had an awful opening to the season and found themselves languishing in mid-table, so Allegri was relieved of his duties early.
Much of the blame has to go to the board due to their inability to reinvest in the playing squad after key personnel were sold in recent years. Owner Silvio Berlusconi’s fight against numerous criminal allegations and convictions in recent years has cast a shadow over the club, with Milan’s concerns being put aside as he tried to clear his name.
If Allegri is appointed as Tottenham boss it will be clear that Sporting Director, Franco Baldini, isn’t just having his say on club transfers. Baldini has come under fire in recent months with the Spurs fans for overseeing their transfer dealings last summer which has culminated in their disastrous season.
He was also partly blamed for Andre Villas Boas’ sacking in December and the Spurs faithful have been calling for his head.
These rumours will continue to gather pace in the next few weeks but Tottenham fans know who their number one choice is. With Louis Van Gaal standing down as Holland coach at the end of the season, the Dutchman’s experience and success is favoured, along with his record of winning major honours at every club he has managed.
Allegri has only managed in Italy during his career, and his inexperience in management for the rest of Europe could count against him.
Especially as Spurs employed Juande Ramos in 2007, a Spaniard who had 16 years of experience in management, all in his native Spain. Ramos’ time at White Hart Lane was a disaster, despite winning the Carling Cup, and he lasted 12 months before he was sacked. Tottenham fans will be worried that Allegri’s appointment would see similar failings.
Nobody knows what is going on in North London and whether or not Daniel Levy and co have any agreements in place with managers.
What is clear is that Tim Sherwood’s reign is coming to an end, but with everyone remaining tight lipped at the club, the guesswork in the media will continue for a few weeks yet.