Opinion: Analysing whether Spurs are better off out of Europe next season

With the longest season of our lifetimes drawing to a close (and at times it has seemed like a lifetime), it is looking increasingly unlikely that Spurs will finish in the top six.

This has multiple implications on the club financially,  in terms of manager recruitment, signing new players, and players staying.

Champions League
(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

One of the most obvious issues that we are going to face if we fail to make Europe is the future of Harry Kane.

With just one year left on his contract and the indications already there to suggest he favours a move elsewhere, this could be the final nail in the coffin.

He has expressed his desire to play in the Champions League regularly, and us failing to qualify for the competition for the third time in four years may be enough for him to push for a move.

Although it will be an incredibly sad day when he leaves, no Spurs fan will begrudge him a move. Our anger, as shown in recent weeks and months, is directed at the hierarchy for failing him.

An absence from European football will serve as a wake-up call for those running the club. The loss of revenue is massive and will be a deserved slap around the face for those responsible for letting things get this bad.

The club have dealt with all the protests and lack of results in recent years by promising it will be different next year, but this season should be the tipping point.

Three managerial changes, almost all of last summer’s signings failing to impact on the pitch, intense protests during matches, and the general atmosphere around the club will surely awaken the board to the mess that they have allowed this club to become. If not we are truly doomed, as it can’t get much worse than this.

Part of management is about rotating the squad and giving players a fair opportunity to prove their worth.

If we end up with no European football, then there will be less chance to do this, with only domestic competitions to play for, so we would likely need a smaller squad heading into the new season, requiring us to shift a lot of the deadwood.

That is something we are notoriously bad at doing. However, the benefit of no European football for the squad is that the new manager coming in will have full mid-weeks to work with the squad and get his ideas across.  This will translate faster onto the pitch.

With other teams focused on Europe, it will allow us the chance to push more in the league, hopefully, to get back into the top four, and to take the FA and Carabao Cup more seriously.

 I think a new manager coming in would much prefer to be out of Europe in their first season, rather than playing in the  Conference or Europa League – especially someone like Naglesmann, who is a demanding manager and will want to push the fitness levels.

In recent years, injuries have plagued our squad. This season there have been long-term absences, such as Kulu, Bentancur, Richarlison, Bissouma, Sessengon, Lloris, Lucas, Davies, Emerson and Skipp, which have really hindered us.

Yes, all teams get injuries, it is just part of the game, but a season of playing once a week would be so beneficial for the players in terms of maintaining their bodies.

Bentancur returning from his ACL would be afforded much more time to recover, and when he comes back, he could be eased in gently, only playing once a week.

It just feels as though the whole club needs a refresh in every department and playing once a week will reduce the load and allow better recovery.

An obvious downside of no European football will be in the recruitment area this summer. It is no secret that players want Champions League football, and in the Premier League, I can think of five or six projects more attractive than ours at this moment in time.

Our priority should be sorting the manager situation, and then building from there. The players we need are two or three new centre-halves, a playmaker, and left winger/versatile forward.

Players I would be looking at would include James Maddison, Pedro Goncalves, Marc Guehi, Levi Colwill and Bastoni. These are five top players who will all be scouted by top clubs this summer.

An example is Newcastle, who are interested in signing  James Maddison (Telegraph), and when he looks at the two clubs that are looking to entice him, one of the main factors in his decision-making will be the fact that Newcastle will have Champions League football.

It could mean that we have to go for our second or third choice in each position, and that will go down badly with the fans and is another step backwards.

It is so key to get it right this summer – we have some really good players to build around, and this has been one season too many with the same players letting us down. Change is essential, and if not this summer you really do start to wonder if it will ever happen.

An important part of the recent downfall with our previous two managers, Conte and Mourinho (I’m excluding Nuno here, he doesn’t count) was our failure in Europe.

When we have been in the Champions League under Conte we have looked out of our depth, in my opinion, scraping through an average group before not even threatening AC Milan in 180 minutes of football.

This felt like a huge turning point for the fans, in terms of their faith in  Conte, largely due to how he approached both games so cautiously.

Previously, in the Europa League, we were humiliated by Dinamo Zagreb and again that led to huge question marks over the manager – in that case Mourinho.

To sum up, we aren’t good enough to compete in the Champions League, so it is perhaps a relief that we are out of it next year, and Europa League or Conference League will, as I mentioned above, massively hinder the work a new manager can do.

There is an argument that it would be positive to be in the Europa League, because it gives us another chance of a trophy and is a very good trophy to win.

But ultimately, a season without Europe would do this club more good, allowing us to rebuild, and would provide a much-needed wake-up call to Mr Levy.

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