Former Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is reported to have objected against four of the seven summer signings that were brought in to White Hart Lane in the summer, with chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini said to have overruled the Portuguese.
The additions of Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen were against Villas-Boas' wishes according to the Daily Mail, who go on to suggest that his opinion over the new signings were completely overruled by both Levy and Baldini.
Should the revelations prove true, it would further deepen the remarkable situation at White Hart Lane that led to Villas-Boas’ departure, which came just under four months into the season. Spurs spent a staggering £110m-plus in the summer transfer window due to the record £86m generated by Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid, but it is claimed that Villas-Boas’s wishlist to replace Bale’s goal-tally was completely ignored.
The former Chelsea and Porto manager wanted to add Hulk, Joao Moutinho and David Villa to his squad, as well as the completed signings of Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Soldado.
Villas-Boas also wanted Brazilian Willian, who was believed to have verbally agreed terms with Spurs before a late hijacking of the deal from London rivals Chelsea, and the attacking midfielder took little time to structure a move from Anzhi Makhachkala to the Blues before the transfer deadline.
The appointment of Baldini was originally approved by 36-year-old Villas-Boas, but their relationship soon broke down due to the disagreements over potential new signings. On the face of things supporters were ecstatic with the string of arrivals, but the jubilation soon turned into desperation with the heavy defeats to both Manchester City and Liverpool – which ultimately cost Villas-Boas his job in north London.
Despite having a bright start to his Spurs career, Eriksen has since gone off the boil, although he looks a bright prospect for the future at the age of just 21. Lamela, who cost the most at £30m, has proven to be the most frustrating having been built up as the perfect replacement for Bale.
The Argentinian is yet to score in the Premier League having made two starts and four further appearances under Villas-Boas, and fans have questioned the decision to bring in the unproven forward for such a large sum of money.
Both Eriksen and Chadli are also yet to see their league accounts get off the mark, while Chiriches has proven to be the most successful having filled in for injured defensive duo Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul, although Spurs’ defensive problems continued yesterday in the 2-1 League Cup quarter-final defeat to West Ham.
The failure to sign Moutinho infuriated Villas-Boas when the Portugal international joined AS Monaco for £60m in a double-deal that included James Rodriquez, while Hulk was pushing for an exit from current side Zenit St Petersburg after becoming disillusioned with life in Russia.
While they would have cost a large fee individually, it would not have been too dissimilar to the costs shelled out on Villas-Boas’s unwanted arrivals, and in Villa they would have been able to add a proven world-class striker for as little as £2m, although he would have wanted to choose a move to London over his current club Atletico Madrid for a switch to have transpired.
The question over Villas-Boas’s happiness at the signings was raised at the post-match press conference following the Liverpool defeat, and his refusal to confirm that it was his decision to sanction the additions – instead choosing to claim “I don’t know if I can make that public” – set alarm bells ringing among the Lilywhites’ supporters.
His sacking provided a mixed response from fans, with many feeling that the decision was a knee-jerk reaction to conceding six at the Etihad and five at home to the Reds, although a number had expressed their displeasure at Villas-Boas’s continuation in the role before last weekend’s encounter.
One of those was former club owner Lord Alan Sugar, who called for Villas-Boas to be sacked and replaced by the now-retired Sir Alex Ferguson, although Tim Sherwood had been placed in temporary charge while a decision is made on a new manager.