Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ossie Ardiles has suggested that the club should be seen as favourite for the Premier League title next season as long as they can keep hold of manager Mauricio Pochettino, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
Pochettino has transformed Spurs from challengers for fourth place in the Premier League to genuine title contenders, and though they ultimately fell short of overhauling Leicester City at the top of the table they remain odds-on to finish in the top two for the first time since 1963.
Much of their success has been built on the Argentine manager's tactics and focus on nurturing and building his team around a core of strong, talented young players such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Eric Dier.
Ardiles, who played over 300 games in a decade with Spurs in the late 1970s and 1980s, has been hugely impressed with his compatriot's work at White Hart Lane and believes that if Pochettino is still at the club next season they should be billed as favourites for the title.
The World Cup-winner said, as quoted by the Standard: "If you asked me right now who is going to be the favourite to win the league next season, there is going to be strong opposition. But the Tottenham team is already ready to go. I will say we will be the favourites to win the league next season.
"Maybe the most important figure right now is Mauricio Pochettino. It's absolutely crucial that he stays at the club. He's very, very happy. I believe that he will carry on with us for a very long time to come. He's in a wonderful place right now.
"His work ethic in the way he conducts himself is very good. You will never see him at parties or things like that. I don't think he even knows London for example. He's so, so focused in his job. He arrives at eight in the morning and leaves the training ground at 8pm or 10pm in the evening."
Spurs will have to juggle their league aspirations with a return to the Champions League next season, but all the signs this year have suggested that there is no reason they cannot be challenging for the title again this time next year.
They may have to battle furiously to keep hold of Pochettino, however, with 44-year-old likely to have become one of the hottest managerial prospects in Europe after such a successful season.