Ange Postecoglou has been named as the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur with the Australian appointed on a four-year deal.
Postecoglou arrives after two successful seasons at Celtic that saw the 57-year-old win five trophies, including a domestic treble in 2022/23.
He becomes the first Australian to manage a Premier League side and inherits a Spurs team who ended last season in eighth, the club’s lowest league finish in more than a decade.
Following his appointment, we look at five issues Postecoglou must fix at Spurs.
Harry Kane’s future
Harry Kane’s future at Tottenham is the elephant in the room in north London, with those inside the club quiet on the forward’s future despite continued speculation.
Postecoglou will want a resolution – one way or another – on Kane’s future sorted as quickly as possible. If Kane commits, Postecoglou can build his side around one of football’s finest forwards, with the 29-year-old having scored 30 league goals last season in a campaign that saw him become Tottenham and England’s all-time record goalscorer.
Harry Kane scored more league goals than the Golden Boot winners from the other top four European leagues… and still didn’t win one himself 😳 pic.twitter.com/dKrVaNNwj0
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) June 6, 2023
Should Kane push for an exit as he searches for a more readymade setting to win elusive silverware, significant funds will be provided to re-invest and the addition of a centre-forward bumped up the list of transfer priorities.
Losing the club’s talisman would be a major blow to Postecoglou in his early reign, but with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich circling for Kane, it is a scenario that could soon materialise. The sooner clarity on Kane’s future is provided, the better.
Implement an attacking brand of football
Postecoglou arrives in the Premier League amid no shortage of scepticism, a coach who has no previous experience of a major European League and whose past roles include Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Yokohama F. Marinos.
Celtic fans were similarly doubtful at the time of Postecoglou’s appointment in Scotland, but the Australian turned those doubters into admirers with an attractive playing style and silverware success. Celtic had finished 25 points behind arch-rivals Rangers the season before Postecoglou’s arrival, before winning back-to-back league titles under his management.
Ange Postecoglou is the new head coach of Tottenham.
— Tifo Football (@TifoFootball_) June 6, 2023
Postecoglou’s preference for an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation will offer hope to sceptic Spurs fans, who have endured turgid football under Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte in recent seasons. The Australian’s tactical approach is possession dominant and will likely move away from Spurs’ counter-attacking plan, with his set-ups often fluid and including full-backs moving infield to overload central areas of the pitch and free space for wide attacking options.
Postecoglou is untried and untested on this stage, but at a lesser level has a proven track-record of winning titles with aesthetically pleasing football. Implementing the latter as soon as possible could go a long way to providing the 57-year-old with patience from the Spurs support.
Sign a new goalkeeper
Tottenham’s goalkeeper situation is one that must be addressed this summer with Hugo Lloris having confirmed his desire to leave the club.
The 36-year-old’s performances were criticised last season and now looks to be the right time to move on after more than a decade in north London. Fraser Forster deputised in Lloris’ absence last season, but Spurs require a new number one as the Postecoglou era begins.
A goalkeeper with fine footwork should be on the agenda given Postecoglou’s desire to dominate the ball and build from the back, with Brentford’s David Raya among the names reportedly on the club’s shortlist.
🚨 EXCL — David Raya’s Futbol21Pro agent Jaume Munell: “If Brentford does not lower the price tag for David Raya this summer, we’ll be ready to leave as free agent in one year”.
Raya and his camp expect clarity over future after Brentford signed Flekken but still ask for £40m. pic.twitter.com/oH12inFOQz
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 31, 2023
The Spaniard had formed a reputation as one of the best distributors in the Premier League and is set to leave Brentford this summer. The Bees have already signed a Raya replacement in Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken and are expected to cash in on a player who has just a year to run on his current contract.
Defensive issues plagued Spurs during a disappointing Premier League campaign, one which led to the club’s lowest league finish since 2008/09.
Spurs missed out on European qualification after ending the season eighth in the table and with the highest number of goals conceded in the Premier League’s top half. Just two of the teams who avoided relegation last season – Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest – conceded more goals than Spurs (63), who suffered heavy defeats at the likes of Leicester (4-1) and Newcastle (6-1) and conceded 3+ goals on eight occasions last season.
The club’s defensive options require an upgrade and Spurs will reportedly listen to offers for Davinson Sanchez, Ben Davies, Japhet Tanganga and Eric Dier this summer, each of who have failed to live up to expectations or have formed part of the stagnation at Spurs.
Cristian Romero is a World Cup winner and a defender with huge talent, but the Argentine endured rash moments last season and would benefit from a calming figure alongside him in central defence. An ambitious move for Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte has been reported and the Spaniard is the calibre of centre-back who could help transform this team.
Elsewhere, decisions must be made on the club’s full-back options, each of who appear more comfortable at wing-back than in a traditional back four. Postecoglou’s preference for a four-man defence could lead to changes in personnel, though recent recruits Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie will be expected to adapt and form part of the rebuild. Djed Spence will also hope for an opportunity after a false-start at Spurs last season.
Remove deadwood and reduce squad
Tottenham will not feature in Europe for the first time since the 2008/09 campaign next season and Postecoglou will need to reduce the numbers in his squad to ensure a harmonious dressing room.
Spurs have a first-team squad of around 30 contracted players heading into next season, a bloated number given the lack of continental competition.
Sergio Reguilon, Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele, Joe Rodon, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil all spent last season on loan and will be expected to move on on permanent deals this summer, while the likes of Lloris, Dier, Davies, Tanganga and Spence are among the others who could prove disposable.
Those exits – alongside the potential departure of Kane – could bring in significant funds to strengthen, as Postecoglou looks to shape his squad in his own image. Recruitment will be crucial to the Australian, who had success by using his knowledge of the Asian market to his advantage at Celtic. However, he will be operating in an entirely different market at Spurs, given the step up in standard and Premier League riches available.