Football Expert & Columnist
Jamie Redknapp says Daniel Levy's transfer policy has not made it easy for AVB to flourish at Tottenham.
Last Updated: 14/09/12 10:45am
Andre Villas-Boas has had a tricky start to life as Tottenham manager.
The Portuguese has lost some major players this summer, with Rafael van der Vaart joining Hamburg and Ledley King retiring, while the biggest blow of all was seeing Luka Modric, a man who bought so much guile to the team, sign for Real Madrid.
Some people have said that Modric won't really be missed, but that is a load of rubbish; he is one of the best midfielders, outside of Paul Scholes, that I have seen in the last 10 years in the Premier League.
Perhaps he didn't score enough goals, or even make that final pass, but he was the guy that gave it to the person who DID make that final pass; he could turn defence into attack and most of Tottenham's good football came though him.
So Villas-Boas has watched real quality head out of the club and I don't think he will be entirely pleased with the incomings, either.
Moussa Dembele is a great signing but I don't see where they have replaced Modric's creativity and Van der Vaart's goals - and that is a problem.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has done good things for the club and is a great negotiator - he often gets opposing teams to pay well over the odds for his players - but I think he missed a trick by not really backing his manager this summer, something Villas-Boas needed after his tough time at Chelsea.
The two players Villas-Boas publicly said he wanted were Shakhtar Donetsk winger Willian and Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho - and he ended up getting neither of them, despite the money from Modric's sale being in the bank.
If Levy had worked harder to capture those players, it would have laid down a marker and shown everyone that he has tremendous faith in Villas-Boas.
Like most chairmen these days, though, Levy seems to want to play Championship Manager and not only pay for signings but choose them as well; I certainly saw evidence of that when I was at White Hart Lane.
That's the way footbalI is going these days and I would suggest that perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes are the only Premier League managers who have complete control in terms of who comes into their club.
Chairmen do not know more than a manager - and they undermine the manager when they act like they do. Upstairs interference makes it doubly difficult for the man in the dugout who, of course, gets the blame if the signings don't shine and things don't work out.
Levy's transfer decisions have placed AVB - who probably felt he couldn't kick up a fuss after being portrayed as damaged goods in the wake of his spell at Stamford Bridge - under undue pressure, although he was always going to be under SOME pressure.
I don't think there are many people in football who thought Villas-Boas could get sacked from Chelsea in March and then four months later get an equally good job at Tottenham; he deserved a second chance but the fact that came at White Hart Lane was a big surprise.
He is a very a functional manager who wants his players to stay within an inch of where he has initially positioned them and to not be too expansive, something we have seen this season with him deploying two holding midfielders in Sandro and Jake Livermore.
Everything is structured, but I think that Spurs were at their best last year when they played with freedom and when players like Gareth Bale, Modric and Van der Vaart could roam and produce a little bit of magic.
Tottenham supporters expect glowing football but that might not be what is served up this season, and I think that really hit home in their previous home game with Norwich, in which the Canaries pinched a late equaliser.
Villas-Boas' team should be aiming for the top four and, even though Chelsea have spent money, Arsenal are improving and Everton are making great strides, I think they HAVE to achieve that goal.
Tottenham are not a club in transition; they finished fourth last year. Harry Redknapp was sacked because Levy wanted greater progression, so Champions League football is the minimum requirement.
Being an ex-Chelsea manager, Villas Boas will not get loads of time from the Spurs fans and if the team don't get a result in Sunday's big game with Reading, pressure will really start to mount.
AVB has much to prove - but I think Levy could have made it a whole lot easier for his manager to succeed.