Source: Daily Mail (Martin Samuel Column)
Jose for Spurs. It seems so logical. He wants English football, English football wants him. Tottenham Hotspur are a top club soon to be in need of a manager. Jose Mourinho is a top manager soon to be in need of a club. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Except the 50 million. We forgot the 50 million. That is what is absent from this arrangement. The £50million Harry Redknapp’s successor would require to convert Tottenham from contenders to champions; the great leap forward to catapult the club from third place to the pinnacle.
It is what made Mourinho and Roman Abramovich such a perfect match in 2004. Chelsea were roughly where Tottenham are now.
They had enjoyed a run deep into the Champions League’s later stages and had skirmished with the elite. The bedrock of a title-winning squad was in place, but the final tweaks and touches were needed.
They had the right coach in Mourinho and an owner who was ready to keep spending: a right back here, a centre half there, a winger, a goalkeeper, more power in the forward line. Some players — Arjen Robben, Petr Cech — were already on their way; others — Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho — Mourinho introduced.
This is what elevated Chelsea from being nearly men under Claudio Ranieri to bona fide champions.
Tottenham Hotspur, too, need a last sprinkling of fairy dust, but it is not certain Daniel Levy believes in magic. He will have to, though, if he is to attract Mourinho. To get the Special One, Levy must achieve more than simply keeping Luka Modric, as impressive as that was. He will have to give him several new team-mates of great standing, he will have to stand toe-to-toe with Manchester City.
Mourinho does not return to England to finish third; he does not return merely to mark time until the inevitable overtaking manoeuvre by those below, the establishment trio of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
The final steps on the journey are hardest. Martin O’Neill got Aston Villa to sixth place, but needed another £50m to propel the club into the Champions League elite, at which point owner Randy Lerner balked. It was the same for Martin Jol and Tottenham; fifth but no higher.
If present momentum can be maintained, Redknapp will have achieved Champions League football for Tottenham in two out of three seasons but with Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart inspiring his team, he knows better could come. Potentially, Tottenham could turn English football on its head. Mourinho understands that, too — but having been there before he will also know the cost. Looking at what Tottenham lack, £50m is a bottom line estimate.
What do they need? A striker to compare with Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero. A top quality central defender and Mourinho may also want to upgrade Brad Friedel in goal, too, considering Chelsea’s famous resilience began with Cech. Then there is the matter of squad depth.
So, not the major upheaval that will be required to restore Chelsea’s or Arsenal’s competitive edge, but a substantial investment nonetheless. Some say Redknapp’s requirements were already too rich for Levy’s blood, hence the stories linking Tottenham with Everton’s David Moyes, who has been used to operating on a restricted budget.
So there is the conundrum: Harry for England, Jose for Spurs. It seems so simple, so perfect, so right. And it is. But like most great plans, putting it together is more complicated than it appears. About 50 million times more complicated, if you think about it.