Tottenham’s lengthy to-do list after appointing Ange Postecoglou as boss

Harry Kane’s future remains up in the air  (Getty Images)
Harry Kane’s future remains up in the air (Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur have finally appointed a new manager, 10 weeks and two interim bosses after Antonio Conte was sacked.

Ange Postecoglou is in from Celtic, appointed on a four-year deal, and there’s plenty for the Australian head coach to do in his first few weeks on the job – and much for Spurs as a club still to do to support him, too.

Here’s the lengthy to-do list the north London side have to get straight to work on, both with Postecoglou’s input and to help him thrive in his new role.

Who is the director of football?

Nobody, at present, and that needs fixing. Spurs have already been linked with a host of names and talks haven’t gone routinely with them either.

Fabio Paratici’s tenure can be labelled middling at best in terms of recruitment and decision-making, and even that is perhaps being kind considering where Spurs finished up in 2022/23. But now a new face must be brought in quickly, to act as the go-between before Daniel Levy’s interventions become commonplace once more, or to act as deal-broker in the transfer market.

Whichever is the preference for the club’s latest new structure, in an ideal world this position would have been filled before Postecoglou’s and then the sporting director given input in who to work with.

That hasn’t happened so any appointment to this crucial role will have to be on board with the style and system the new manager wants to work with, then act accordingly in the market.

The future of Harry Kane

Real Madrid are in the market for a new No 9 and that’s a problem for Spurs as much as anybody else, with England captain Harry Kane on their summer shortlist.

On the one hand, selling Kane would raise the club’s ability to reinvest and rebuild the team by a considerable amount; on the other hand, they’d lose their best player, creative outlet, most regular goal threat and fan favourite all in one go.

Tottenham will try to resist offers from Manchester United for their captain Harry Kane (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
Tottenham will try to resist offers from Manchester United for their captain Harry Kane (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Given his age and length at the club, plus how far away Spurs are from challenging for major honours right now, it should be no surprise if he wants to depart and there shouldn’t really be any ill-will from fans if that transpires.

But Levy has never been one to simply give players what they want if there’s no benefit to the club, and there are political forces at play in any potential deal here just as much as sporting and financial ones.

Captain, World Cup-winner... unsettled No 1

Hugo Lloris is almost certainly off, too.

The long-time Spurs goalkeeper missed the end of the season with an injury, having been subbed at half-time in his final appearance amid reports of dressing-room unrest following five first-half goals conceded at Newcastle.

Hugo Lloris has not had one of his best seasons at Spurs (Getty Images)
Hugo Lloris has not had one of his best seasons at Spurs (Getty Images)

While the French goalkeeper has been in place for such a long time that he’ll naturally be a key departure, his form hasn’t been stellar for some time and his end-of-season words – “it’s the end of an era. I have desires for other things” – rather aptly sum up the fact he should be allowed to move on, regardless of having a season left on his contract.

If Spurs are serious about a total rebuild, it must start from the back to give Postecoglou a chance to put a real stamp on the team.

Full-back conundrum

Just ahead of the goalkeeper is another big decision to be made, which will affect far more than just one player.

Effectively, Postecoglou’s decision here is whether he wants to regularly play a back three – as predecessors Nuno Espirito Santo and Conte have done – or reverse to a quartet, as interim bosses Ryan Mason and Cristian Stellini found they were unable to successfully do.

So many of Spurs’ collection of flank-players are very much wing-backs and moulding them to full-backs is improbable for some, risky with others. It could either be a sea-change in personnel in this area, or else much more of the same – meaning other tactical changes are clearly needed for improvements.

The actual transfer talk

Strategy and individuals are one thing, but rest of the summer ins and outs will naturally shape just how well Postecoglou’s debut season could go.

There are loans to sort out, such as whether Dejan Kulusevski’s will be made permanent or if Destiny Udogie is coming back off his and into the squad, while Lucas Moura is among those definitely departing, his contract set to expire.

Dejan Kulusevski has been at Spurs on loan from Juventus (Getty Images)
Dejan Kulusevski has been at Spurs on loan from Juventus (Getty Images)

And on the incoming side, not having a manager or a sporting director in place naturally means that the early days and weeks of the summer window have been lost, in terms of getting targets identified, constructing deals and convincing players that their future should lie at Spurs.

That has to quickly now be the priority as fans demand more of a pathway toward improvement, following an eighth-place finish which means no European football next season.

Pre-season and a trip home for Ange

The full plan for pre-season is also not yet in place for the men’s first team, though there will be a rapid trip ‘home’ for Postecoglou as Spurs play in Australia against West Ham in mid-July. He’s Greek-born and more associated with Melbourne than Perth, mind, but it’s still an intriguing twist on how he’ll be received by fans early on.

Postecoglou has enjoyed great success in Scotland (Getty Images)
Postecoglou has enjoyed great success in Scotland (Getty Images)

Elsewhere, there are two games in Asia to play, in Thailand and Singapore, but the manager may want strong input on where and when matches take place as the start of competitive action approaches.

With the 2023/24 Premier League fixture list out on 15 June and the first game on 12 August, there’s not a whole lot of time to fine-tune the planning – and so much Spurs need to get through before then, on and off the pitch.