Spurs face an uncertain summer
Harry Redknapp pays for poor finish
June 17 ~ Spurs are at a crossroads. They could ill afford to miss out on the Champions League for a second consecutive season but having managed to claw their way to fourth place, Chelsea took great joy in relegating them to the Europa League. The fallout from this failure has already cost Harry Redknapp his job. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has never appeared that enamoured with Redknapp. After one of his more memorable seasons, which included minor heart surgery and beating tax evasion charges, a run of six wins in Spurs' final 17 games has cost him his job.
When you consider the mitigating factors, finishing in the top four was an impressive achievement but, despite annual pre-tax profits and impressive revenue, the hole in Spurs's accounts could lead to player sales to cover the shortfall. Gareth Bale is frequently linked with a £32 million move to Barcelona and Manchester United are rumoured to be poised with a £30m bid for Luka Modric. Should significant bids materialise, the club may be inclined to sell.
With a strict £70,000 weekly wage ceiling, Tottenham’s wages to turnover ratio is believed to be around 56 per cent, which is both respectable and sensible by Premier League standards. Modric has designs on a £100,000-a-week contract and plenty of clubs are likely to be willing to facilitate that. Levy will have to adjust his figures or auction him off to the highest bidder.
Having rejected a substantial bid for Modric last summer, Redknapp conceded that: “You can’t say he’s worth £40m and want to pay him the wages of someone who is worth £5m.” Something has to give and Modric is keen to discuss his future when he returns from the European Championships.
In his end-of-season address to supporters, Levy claimed: "Our squad has top players at all levels and we shall continue to seek stability and to retain key players this summer and beyond.” Having made a similar proclamation the previous summer and remained true to his word, he may find the task more difficult this time around. With high ticket prices and a 36,000 capacity, Spurs are hamstrung in their ability to generate extra funds. With financial fair play approaching, the task will become increasingly difficult.
Fortunately, there is progress regarding their plans to build a new stadium adjacent to White Hart Lane, with a commitment to invest in the surrounding area from Haringey Council and a £90m investment in land and planning made by the club. The move would result in an increase in capacity to 56,250, enabling the club to profit from the 35,000 fans believed to be on a waiting list for season tickets. Of course, the success of this development is reliant on a successful side, Champions League football and big-name players.
There is still plenty of reason for cheer. The club remain financially sound, their new training centre in Enfield will open shortly and their academy side performed well in the NextGen Series last season. Yet by sacking Redknapp, Levy appears to be suggesting that the club now warrants a better manager and that a fourth-place finish is no longer satisfactory. It's a bold claim, with so much at stake. Scott Johnson