Why Andre Villas-Boas should ignore PSG and stay at Tottenham

June 17, 2013 in Ligue 1, Premier League

Football’s history is littered with cases of players that moved too far too fast. Cases where someone got a bit excited and jumped the gun, resulting in a terminal downhill spiral. Steve Sidwell springs to mind; how the Reading midfielder thought he would get into a Chelsea team ahead of Michael Essien and Frank Lampard is beyond me. It’s not been quite the same for him since. The same kind of situation – giving up what looks like a promising career for the first train of opportunity that comes your way – looks dangerously close to happening to Tottenham’s manager Andre Villas-Boas, who has so far not quashed speculation linking him with a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain. In case my train of thought hasn’t articulated my opinion on this matter already, I’ll make it clear: this would be a TERRIBLE move for him.

AVB

Villas-Boas came to England with a reputation as one of the brightest young coaches around, having cleaned up with his exciting brand of football at Porto. That same reputation took a nosedive during his time with Chelsea, with his man-management skills being proved as being sub-par, and an inability to deal with massive egos ended up losing him the dressing room and the club’s support. The damage done to Villas-Boas’ reputation cannot be underestimated here. ‘Andre Villas-Boas’ was a dynamic young coach of the future, while ‘AVB’ ended up as an incompetent coach that seemed severely out of his depth.

It was difficult to see where he could go to repair the damage. A chance at redemption came from Tottenham (unfairly, in the eyes of some), and while he’s not exactly set the world on fire there, he has quietly restored his reputation, and holds the faith of many a Tottenham fan. I suppose it helps when you have Gareth Bale, but it’s what AVB has done with the Welshman that has helped him excel. Games have actually swung drastically in Tottenham’s favour after changes made by AVB, such as Spurs’ 3-1 victory over Manchester City. Clearly, the young manager knows what he’s doing.

But at the same time, the changes in that game only needed to be made after his initial plan fell short, lacking in any real sting. This has also been the case in several games which have seen his Spurs team come up ridiculously short, such as the terrible 4-1 loss to Inter Milan, which still saw them qualify for the next round, almost undeservedly so. It’s due to this that AVB should move to distance himself from the PSG job in a more convincing manner than he has done so far. He still has a lot to learn, and at the age of 35, that isn’t a bad thing. After all, David Moyes, the new Manchester United manager, is 15 years his senior, and will be on a learning curve too.

As romantic as the notion of seeing Villas-Boas run a hand through his thick head of hair in the midst of the Parisian nightlife, it’s one that can probably wait. The expectations that he would face at PSG would be similar to the ones he faced at Chelsea. He will immediately be expected to win trophies and fend off the challenge of the crazy-spending Monaco. He will be expected to better Carlo Ancelotti’s run in the Champions League this year, one that saw the Parisians knocked out by Barcelona of all teams – and only on away goals. The manager that has had problems dealing with the egos of John Terry and Frank Lampard will have to deal with arguably the most egotistical player on Earth, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Has one year at Tottenham really equipped him to deal with all of that? I’m not sure.

And there lies the other problem. Despite being a manager that many hold in high regard, AVB has yet to remain at a club for more than one year. It might not be a bad idea for him to settle down in North London for a bit, forge his career a bit more and really make a name for himself before he moves on to a big club – after all, new Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini had to wait until he was 55 before he moved to a big Champions League club in Real Madrid. Imagine he moves to Paris and fails – another short-term move would have him labelled as a Jose Mourinho-type figure, but one who would have failed at big clubs, and been quick to move from those that helped him onto his feet.

Besides, there are probably much worse places to be right now than Tottenham; having Gareth Bale, as well as a decent young squad including players such as Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Sandro and Mousa Dembele, makes Tottenham an attractive place for upcoming talents to be at. After the career-transforming progress of players such as Bale and Luka Modric before him, you could legitimately see players such as Paulinho and Leandro Damiao making the move to White Hart Lane.

Naturally, working under Daniel Levy means that AVB might not have the most money in the world to spend. While Paris Saint-Germain could guarantee that the same wouldn’t apply in France, it would be a really poor reason for him to dump what could be a career-making, exciting project, just to rush to the front of the line. If he plays it slow, I believe Andre Villas-Boas could have a successful career as a brilliant manager. However, if he jumps the gun and moves to Paris Saint-Germain, I believe it could be the beginning of a long journey down for AVB.

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