What will constitute a success for Tottenham this year?


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The Independent Online

As a new dawn rises over White Hart Lane, the temptation to speculate as to what the future holds is a far too alluring prospect to ignore. With Andre Villas-Boas ready to stamp his unorthodox style of football into the Spurs squad, what will the season hold for a team who had improved considerably under the tenure of former boss Harry Redknapp?

With many clubs in transition in the Premier League, Spurs are not wandering a lonely path. Liverpool, Chelsea FC, Arsenal and even Man United to an extent are in a state of transition, looking to achieve relative solidarity in a moment of upheaval or change. It is a hotly conversed topic for any transitioning club when discussing what their achievable goals are for the new campaign.

Casting an eye over the situation at White Hart Lane generates an unsurprising balance in its positives and negatives. Coming off the back of another season finishing in the elusive top four in the Premier League, exterior circumstances that need not be reminded to Spurs fans stopped the club reclaiming Champions League football.

With the recent unpredictability that has stifled countless Premier League contenders, it can be difficult to pinpoint what Spurs can achieve. However, European football should be a requirement not an aspiration, so the top six is a demand that must be met. Anything below and AVB could be saying goodbye to his affair with the English game.

The question that has still to be answered by any recent manager to take the hot seat at White Hart Lane is whether a run for the title is achievable. Finishing fourth is an objective that can be ticked off the ambitious list of achievements. Aiming higher may be the only way that the club can transcend into the elite echelons of European football giants. However, most Tottenham fans will probably tell you that the current squad does not stand up to rival the likes of Manchester City, who have a squad that rivals any in the world.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is an astute purchase and is made more desirable by that fact that he chose to ply his trade in north London despite major interest from comparative rivals Liverpool. Jan Vertonghen will also assist in tightening up a defence that looked a little rusty in patches last campaign. However, he is an unknown entity and to put absolute faith in the Belgian would be dangerous. Signing Emmanuel Adebayor permanently is a great start in the process of increasing the number of quality frontmen. Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey add versatility and skill in midfield, filling the shoes of the departed Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart – the Spurs midfield certainly still packs a potent punch. However, it will not just be new signings that decide where the club will finish, it will also be the adaptability of the current squad.

With Villas-Boas’ well publicised stint at Chelsea not going according to plan, the Portuguese will be praying that his unique style of management impacts the players at Spurs more significantly. If they adapt well and play some breath-taking football at the Lane, would fans be happy with this, regardless of their league position? At times, uninterested performances have hindered games but the club can never be accused of sitting back or failing to entertain attacking options. With this said, AVB doesn’t need to massively revamp the squad to excite the fans, the players will do that through their natural abilities. It has to be league position that is priority, and certainly fourth or above, which is a probable prerequisite demanded by Levy when Villas-Boas signed on the dotted line.

Tottenham fans have every reason to be speculative about this season; unknown territory always rattles the nerves. However, with the new man at the helm highly regarded on the continent, the team would have been hard pressed to find a better manager at the time. Claiming a win at Old Trafford over Manchester United provides a signal of intent - if anyone is going to continue building Spurs into a real domestic force, it’s the man from Portugal. A win over the Blues would go down nicely too. Click here for all the Tottenham vs. Chelsea news.