Arne Slot continues to be increasingly linked to the vacant manager’s job at Tottenham following a fabulous, Eredivisie-winning season with Feyenoord.
And while many onlookers would desperately urge an up-and-coming manager with high ambitions to steer well clear of the poisoned chalice that appears to be Spurs, you can understand his thought process.
Six to 12 months living in London, no expectation of winning anything, and a huge pay-out when inevitably sacked. If Arne doesn’t want it, sign me up.
Forgive us for the textbook Frank Lampard-ism here, no but seriously, managing in the Premier League is a huge opportunity and the dream for most promising football managers trying to forge a path to the top of the game.
Slot is most certainly on that path, having guided Feyenoord to their first Eredivisie title since 2016-17 and breaking the grasp that the duopoly of Ajax and PSV Eindhoven have over the Dutch top-flight once more.
It takes some steel to do that. A bit of fortune, too, considering Ajax have fallen away significantly. But you make your own luck. And Tottenham have been so consistently poor for so long now that they have absolutely none of that.
To put it bluntly, they are losers. Big, big losers. And everyone knows it. The bar is on the floor right now around the club. That brilliant new stadium with its unnecessarily posh food and craft beers is being wasted. And that’s why Slot is the perfect man to jump in and propel them back to better times.
We don’t want to say it, but there is an air of Pochettino around any potential Slot to Spurs move. Good vibes and good football. The underdogs on the way back up. ‘Poch-ball’ and ‘Slot-ball’. You get the gist.
But among all the intricacies, there’s one cold, hard piece of evidence that stands out as a huge reason why Tottenham so desperately need the charismatic – and winning – Dutchman in their dugout next season.
Arne Slot's team talk to his Feyenoord players after they beat their rivals Ajax 3-2 in March
— The Spurs Web (@thespursweb) May 18, 2023
Reducing football to buzzwords like passion and desire is equally as frustrating as breaking down the game too much and overcomplicating popular tactical configurations, so we’re not going to do that.
They could do with a bit of it though, Spurs, couldn’t they? Which part of ‘it’ do you ask? All of the above, probably. And Slot brings that.
A charismatic talker who commands the respect of his dressing room, the Dutch coach only took his first job in 2019, but speaks like a veteran to his players. They’re hanging off his every word. And they should be; they’ve just turned over Ajax in their own backyard.
In an era where Tottenham have tried and failed with both the Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte experiments, a big reset is needed.
Pochettino was a hit for all of the reasons Slot might just be. The expectation is lower than ever. The only thing stopping the 44-year-old from coming in and reviving Tottenham is Mr Tottenham himself – Daniel Levy.
The Spurs chairman continues to find ways to innovate and adapt in his bid to take over the Glazer family as the most unpopular owner in the Premier League, having done a particularly stellar job in the last few years at that.
It’s reached a boiling point this season, though, with Spurs falling away from any kind of European qualification in a year where people actually tipped them to challenge for the title at the beginning of the season. Ouch.
That’s why Slot continues to be such a no-brainer. Feyenoord have fought their way to the top of the Dutch mountain having lost key players last summer, reinvesting shrewdly and by playing a ruthlessly attacking style, with an extreme focus on wing-play and intensity, implemented by the 44-year-old.
And in the infancy of his coaching career, he can only improve. Sure, he might be a little rough around the edges, and the stylish option might be to throw everything towards trying to land Julian Nagelsmann, but Slot is for the people.
That smile is infectious, the team talk screams charisma and the brand of football is ruthless and, at times, perfectly chaotic.
Oh, and one other thing? He’s bald. The best managers in the game today are bald. It’s an exact science. Don’t ask questions, just accept.
At a time when there is quite literally nothing to lose at Tottenham, the unknown quantity who wants to prove himself and take the next step can do nothing but benefit them on a footballing front.
By Mitchell Wilks