Reports today suggest Harry Redknapp’s four year spell as Tottenham manager could soon be over.
Despite guiding Spurs to a second top four finish in four years, the reports suggest that chairman Daniel Levy is unhappy with the manner that Redknapp and his team threw away a ten point advantage over rivals Arsenal to gift them automatic qualification for the Champions League while they were forced to settle for Europa League qualification.
Redknapp issued a strong denial yesterday that he had resigned from his post, but with only one year to go on his current contract and talks seemingly not forthcoming, just what is going on at White Hart Lane?
Where have all these rumours come from, a few weeks ago everything was rosy?
The situation has been developing since the turn of the year, beginning with Fabio Capello’s resignation as England manager. Redknapp was instantly installed as the favourite for the post, and Levy apparently prepared a lucrative long-term deal to keep his man away from the clutches of his country.
Tottenham’s slump in the second half of the season which ultimately cost them Champions League football coincided with Redknapp being linked with the England vacancy, two things the man himself insists are not related, although Levy is said to have his doubts.
So all of Redknapp’s hard work comes down to this, weren’t they bottom when he took over?
Yes they were, and there are few who doubt just how good a job Redknapp has done in his four years at White Hart Lane.
The style in which he has got his team playing is generally believed to be the most pleasing on the eye in the Premier League, something his peers in England’s top tier agreed on this season.
The Tottenham fans and the players will be up in arms then, surely?
Well yes and no. In a GiveMeFootball poll over 85% of fans said they wanted Redknapp to stay in the job but there is no doubt there are a fair few who wouldn’t shed a tear if he left.
For all the fine football on display at White Hart Lane there are some who feel he hasn’t quite made the adjustment to managing a ‘top four’ club, still insisting on bringing in older, less spectacular signings he can eek a bit of life out of rather than the big names the fans want, for example.
Equally most players say they love working under Redknapp. Rafael Van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor say they love the way he works, but it seems as though players who aren’t first choice seem to be left out in the cold, something Sebastien Bassong alluded to last summer. His over-relience on his first XI is also said to cause problems in terms of fitness and morale.
Talks should take place this week, has Redknapp done the right thing in going public with his plight?
He has certainly forced his employers hand. Redknapp suggested last week that it is for the good of the players that he is given the three year deal he wants in order to ensure stability, while he also compared his plight to that of a top player, saying that the likes of Luka Modric or Gareth Bale wouldn’t be treated the same.
Levy may not enjoy information regarding Redknapp’s future going public, and it may impact upon negotiations somewhat. Equally the appointment by Redknapp of Wayne Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford to negotiate a new deal is said to have antagonised Levy.
Do Redknapp and Levy have a particularly good relationship then?
Much like Tottenham themselves, it is said to blow hot and cold, although that could be down the media’s depiction of the pair.
When they going is good the two polar opposites bounce off each other make the perfect team, but when the tide turns they rub each other up the wrong way. Around the time the transfer window opens Levy must roll his eyes like an owner trying to keep his dog under control.
One thing is for sure though, there is a mutual respect between the two over what they have achieved since Redknapp came to the club, and neither will want to end their relationship on a sour note.
What will the outcome of all this be then?
In all likelihood an agreement will be reached to keep Redknapp in charge, but neither party are particularly happy and the long-term future looks unsure.
With Redknapp having just one year left on his deal the power is with the club, but the absence of a genuinely strong candidate to replace him plays into Redknapp’s hands and he should land at the very least a one year extension. He wants more as reward for the job he has done, but he may have to settle for it. There is no doubt Redknapp wants to stay put, and he would surely be the unluckiest man in football to miss out on the England job then lose his place at Spurs in the same year.
David Moyes and Roberto Martinez have both been linked with the job but neither would represent a change likely to appease fans and players, the majority of whom back him. This one should run and run for some time though.