Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has overseen a revolution at White Hart Lane this summer.
The former Chelsea boss and former scout under Jose Mourinho in his previous spell with the Blues met with his former mentor last weekend in Spurs’ 1-1 draw with the Blues – there is no love lost between the Portuguese pair these days.
However, their similarities far out-way their differences – as is so often the case between rivals – and, as I outlined prior to the match last weekend, the younger of the pair, Villas-Boas is something of a rising star, walking a very similar path to that of his elder compatriot almost a decade ago.
When the self-proclaimed ‘special one’ arrived at Stamford Bridge the first time around, back in 2004, owner Roman Abramovich had invested £153.45 million in the Blues who were themselves embarking on a Russian revolution of their own. Mourinho was given a further £59.85 million to spend in his first summer and another £111.9 million the following season. He had won the Champions League with Porto the season he left for London and was, despite his youth then, considered one of the hottest properties in the business.
Mourinho remains the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history – he won the Premier League title twice and the FA Cup once in his three year spell before he moved on to Inter Milan where he won his second Champions League title.
However, with the money came a new kind of pressure and number of new problems to solve – as Villas-Boas is trying to figure out now at White Hart Lane – the expectations for success are much higher when the investment is greater and the impact of the cash injection is expected to take instant effect which, in football, is not always practical or possible. These things take time and title-winning teams take time to evolve to meet their potential.
The obvious difference with Spurs of course, is that a large percentage of the investment has been generated by player sales as opposed to Abramovich’s financing which is pumped in without being generated by the club itself. Tottenham’s world record-breaking sale of Gareth Bale for £85.3 million to Real Madrid has seen the club spend £103.7 million this summer, making a loss in the transfer market of just £3.05 million.
Villas-Boas sold 6 players, released 8 and bought 7 – Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches are some of the finest talents in world football and they have come to Tottenham where there is ambition, forward-thinking and a progressive philosophy that will likely see them become, not just a staple of the English top-four, but genuine title-contenders and, further ahead, a European superpower.
When Mourinho arrived in London, Chelsea hadn’t won the English league title since 1955 and they hadn’t won a European trophy since 1998. Almost a decade after Mourinho arrived Chelsea have won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, a Champions League title and a Europa League title.
Mourinho was the architect of the Abramovich revolution just as his former protégé Villas-Boas will likely be regarded as the architect of the Tottenham Hotspur revolution but, as the latter is finding out, these things take time – Rome wasn’t built in a day – this squad is so young and has so much potential but they must be given time to develop, time to integrate the new players, time to foster a unity in the dressing room and chemistry on the pitch.
I firmly believe Tottenham can and will win a trophy this season – perhaps a cup – but with the talent Andre Villas-Boas has within his ranks, we can expect Tottenham to be winning the Premier League in the next few years and perhaps even the Champions League in the next decade.
images: © hurtingbombz