It’s certainly not been a dull season for Tottenham Hotspur and when you consider that media giant Amazon have been filming a behind-the-scenes documentary at the club this season, their timing could not have been better.
When Mauricio Pochettino led the club to last year’s Champions League final, many felt that this was just another step in the Argentine’s long journey with the North London outfit.
Fast forward five months and it was clear that the well had run dry within the N17 postcode and, although the acceptance of change was far from universal, the club’s board deemed that change was the answer.
That change manifested itself in Pochettino’s rather abrupt departure from the club in November. With a whirlwind swirling around the white half of North London, there was only one man who could fill this sudden void.
Step forward Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese now plays the role of stepfather to someone else’s footballing children, but his tenure has not hit the immediate heights that both chairman and supporters would have hoped for. Because of this, Tottenham’s season is in genuine danger of petering out like a wet fart.
Some will argue that this is already the case. When one looks at their recent performance against Sheffield United, it is difficult to offer up a Devil’s Advocate line of argument to the meek conclusion of this campaign.
Of course, there are several mitigating circumstances that can be served up in defence of the former Chelsea manager, with injuries to key names such as Harry Kane and Heung-min Son just the start of them.
This is also a team that has clearly run to the end of its lifecycle and there is a sense that Mourinho is working with the leftovers of someone else’s squad. However, all new managers will have to deal with these problems, so that does not provide him full absolution.
Then again, when you look at the construction of Tottenham’s squad over the past few years, there has been little in the way of overhaul. Recent evidence from either side of the Premier League’s hiatus suggests that a personnel refresh is urgently needed.
Admittedly, there’s nothing like a global pandemic to scupper your best-laid plans. Transfer funds were surely promised in their bid to seduce Mourinho to the club last winter, but will the same level of funds be available when the window eventually opens?
Not to mention the track record of ENIC (Spurs owner Joe Lewis’ investment group) when it comes to penny pinching, a failure to return to European football will only serve to put further strain on the balance sheet.
Missing out on the Champions or Europa League has paid eventual dividends in the past (see also: Leicester City and Chelsea’s recent bust-and-boom cycles), it’s not necessarily a path any club should tread.
Bad seasons followed by incredibly good ones, particularly without the distraction of European football, have happened before, but like anything in football there are absolutely no guarantees. Just because the system has been gamed in the past, does not mean Tottenham can necessarily do the same.
If there was a guarantee that no European football equalled a Premier League title, then clubs would be falling over themselves to finish within the mid-table positions, knowing that their masterplan will eventually come good in the end.
This is far from the case and, therefore, even if Spurs do miss out on a continental trip or two, it won’t necessarily provide the catalyst that Jose Mourinho’s current group of players require.
Not only that, but with the current financial climate being as it is, now is arguably the worst possible time to miss out on the financial rewards European football offer. Even more so when you account for how much of a rejuvenation process Tottenham need to undergo.
It’s a less-than-ideal conglomeration of circumstances. As the ‘Big Six’ becomes the ‘Huge Two Plus Four Others’, Tottenham could find themselves in the shadows for the foreseeable future.
Which is why the following campaign will be so pivotal for both club and manager. If Mourinho cannot revive the fortunes of this ailing side soon, then we may witness his usual three-season arc being divided by half.