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Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham to-do list: Harry Kane future, transfers and implementing new style

Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge analyses the key questions facing Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham; sorting Harry Kane's future, implementing a new system, and deciding which players to keep or sell are top of the agenda as the Australian looks to get to grips with his new role

Image: Ange Postecoglou has a big task on his hands at Tottenham

Ange Postecoglou officially started his new role as Tottenham head coach on Saturday, but he's been working hard behind the scenes for nearly a month already.

Since the announcement of his appointment was made on June 6, the Australian has been planning thoroughly for what appears to be a huge job at Spurs, who face the reality of no European football for the first time since 2010.

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New Tottenham Hotspur boss Ange Postecoglou reveals his love for cricket after he was quizzed at Lord's. Credit: Cricket Australia

Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge analyses the key tasks ahead of Postecoglou's first season in north London.

What's Ange walking into?

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Michael Dawson is full of praise for both Ange Postecoglou’s attacking style of football and his player recruitment

It's well documented, the challenge that awaits Postecoglou at Spurs.

Ever since Antonio Conte's rant at Southampton, it's been a miserable few months for Spurs fans. Remarkably, Tottenham were fourth before Conte's departure but, at times, it felt a false position with clubs around them having games in hand.

Keeping Conte's backroom staff with Cristian Stellini in charge was a mistake. Ryan Mason took charge for the remaining games with some ups and downs but, ultimately, the fans were waiting for the season to end.

With no European football next season, this looks to be the right time for a complete reset with changes at the top and with the playing squad.

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Winning over the fans

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou celebrates at full time during the Viaplay Cup final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park, on February 26, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Image: Postecoglou must endear himself to the Spurs faithful early on

Unless you're an Australian-based Tottenham supporter, you'd be hard pressed to find too many fans who had Postecoglou at the top of their list at the start of the managerial search.

Many fans were crying out for the return of Mauricio Pochettino; his name was even sung during some home games in March and April, but his return was never on the cards.

The club's insistence that Julian Nagelsmann was not an active target surprised many and, after Arne Slot signed a new deal at Feyenoord, supporters began to fear this was turning into 2021 again with the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo. This summer, however, certainly feels different.

Firstly, Tottenham had to wait and respect the fact Postecoglou had a Scottish Cup final to negotiate and complete a domestic treble.

Spurs also had changes at board level after Fabio Paratici's departure. Scott Munn, Tottenham' new Chief Football Officer, officially arrived on July 1 and is a huge fan of his fellow Australian, Postecoglou.

There will still be supporters who will be sceptical about the 57-year-old taking such a jump; the Premier League has never been more competitive.

However, the vast number of Celtic supporters are insisting Tottenham fans don't yet realise what they're getting in Postecoglou. His philosophy on fast attacking football has also excited plenty.

Tottenham's previous high-profile managers, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, often felt like they were doing the club a favour by being there. That doesn't feel like it will be the case with Postecoglou.

Conte seemed to have little or no interest in renewing his contract which led to weeks of uncertainty.

I regularly attended the Conte press conferences and we were allowed to ask two questions per reporter. In return, you'd get a long, considered answer from Conte. His answer of, ''I'll speak to the chairman at the end of the season', felt completely unrealistic - and that turned out to be the case.

If Postecoglou can show the supporters a glimpse of his long-term vision in the opening home game against Manchester United, it could go a long way to earning their trust. They want to enjoy attending again.

Who does he want to keep and let go?

Leicester have completed the signings of Conor Coady and Harry Winks
Image: Tottenham product Harry Winks (right) has moved to Leicester

Despite reports elsewhere, Postecoglou is prepared to give everyone in the squad an opportunity to impress. His playing style will immediately determine who will be surplus to requirements if they don't adapt.

However, a large number of players will leave the club over the coming months. There are also a few who have decided they fancy a new challenge, notably club captain Hugo Lloris, after 11 years at Tottenham.

Postecoglou already gave the green light to complete the permanent signing of Dejan Kulusevski and the Swedish international says he's looking forward to working under the new head coach.

Then there's the long list of players returning from loans: Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilon, Bryan Gil, Joe Rodon and Djed Spence. With no European football, Postecoglou will have to be ruthless with decisions he makes, but he thrives on that and has done that at most clubs where he's been successful.

It's highly unlikely all of Tottenham's bloated squad will travel to Australia for their pre-season match against West Ham. By then, we're likely to have a much clearer indication of who has a future at the club.

Tottenham conceded 63 league goals last season, an embarrassing amount, and the futures of Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga will be up for discussion given the club are keen to bring in fresh faces at the back. Eric Dier has insisted he wants to fight for his place under Postecoglou.

Does he want any of the Celtic players?

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after doubling Celtic's lead against Aberdeen
Image: Kyogo Furuhashi cwas brough to Celtic by Postecoglou

My understanding is that's currently not on the agenda.

Postecoglou's knowledge of the Asian market played a key role in Celtic's brilliant first season under the Australian. It ultimately blew their rivals away.

Three of his very successful signings - Kyogo, Reo Hatate and Jota - will be upset about his departure and all look more than capable of playing at a higher level, but whether they are the required level for Tottenham is another question.

One you can now rule out is Jota, as he looks set to move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.

Implementing his own playing style

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 30: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou at full time during a Scottish Cup semi-final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park, on April 30, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Postecoglou inherits a mess after difficult years under Antonio Conte, Nuno Espirito Santo and Jose Mourinho

I've had many Celtic supporters tell me Tottenham fans are in for a treat with his style of play but to be patient as it'll take a bit of time.

It's fair to say it's a complete 360 from what Spurs supporters have witnessed for the last few years. A short-passing game dominating possession is something Spurs fans haven't seen for a long while.

It's only been a few days, but you can see the difference in training methods from social media clips posted by Spurs.

Celtic dominated a vast majority of their matches; the big question is can Postecoglou transfer this to the Premier League, and this Spurs side?

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 02: Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium, on January 02, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Postecoglou has a job on his hands moulding Spurs into his own vision

Postecoglou's teams play a 4-3-3 formation. Spurs over the last few seasons have played with three central defenders and wing-backs either side. The immediate concern will be whether Tottenham's wing-backs have the right credentials to adapt to Ange's back four.

He often inverts a full-back, usually the left-back to increase the numbers in the middle, pushing the opposition winger into the middle to allow the winger a clear one-on-one against the full-back.

For Tottenham, on the left-hand side, this is likely to be Son, who has recently revealed he played the majority of last season with a hernia problem.

Postecoglou also likes his wingers to be inverted, so they are able to cut inside and shoot. It's little surprise he gave the thumbs up to sign Kulusevski, a left-footed right winger, alongside Son, right-footed on the left.

The midfielders will be creative, often dictating the tempo, pushing forward onto the opposition defence. The arrival of James Maddison is a huge boost and immediately adds real quality in the No 8 role.

The serious injury last season to Rodrigo Bentancur is a blow as he seems perfect for this system. An October return is the plan but no date is set.

It'll be intriguing to see Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg under Postecoglou and if he fits in this system.

Let's not forget Yves Bissouma, one of Brighton's best players in 21/22 who suffered a serious injury last season. He showed supporters a glimpse of his class on the final day of the season at Leeds.

Of course, it's worth remembering Tottenham paid a lot of money for midfielders Ndombele and Lo Celso. Could they impress Ange in his first few weeks?

Striker-wise, Postecoglou likes a technical centre forward, one who's comfortable with linking up play. Currently he has one of the greatest strikers in world football at his disposal and will be very excited working with Harry Kane, provided the England captain stays at Tottenham this summer.

Celtic scored 114 league goals in 38 games last season. Postecoglou's style of play became so successful Celtic fans called it 'Angeball'. There are clearly going to be big changes in the squad over time but the ones who are brave enough to adapt and adopt the new coach's principles are the ones who will be kept around.

His system has helped win trophies in Australia, Japan and Scotland. But can he find the right players to make 'Angeball' a success at Tottenham Hotspur?

It's been a positive start recruitment-wise, but it must continue.

Why did Postecoglou want Maddison?

Credit - PA/Getty
Image: James Maddison is already through the door at Spurs

As far as I understand it, there was a collective desire to sign Maddison. Spurs wanted him - and Postecoglou agreed that he'd be a great fit.

It was now or never for Spurs in their pursuit of Maddison. They've scouted him since his days at Coventry but were happy for him join to Norwich then Leicester.

Tottenham's firm interest started last summer but nothing developed.

However, they have been desperate for creativity in the midfield and haven't really had it since the days of Christian Eriksen, so his signing is a huge boost and one that delighted supporters when it was announced.

Securing him before pre-season could be vital.

Any other targets?

Postecoglou wants at least five or six - with a goalkeeper, two centre-backs, a central attacking midfielder and, ideally, a young winger. Goalkeeper (Guglielmo Vicario) and attacking midfielder (Maddison) are already secured. Winger Manor Solomon is expected to sign a long-term deal later this week after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk.

Never say never to further additions but several players need to leave and that'll be the priority over the coming weeks.

Spurs are focusing on defenders in terms of incomings. Edmond Tapsoba from Bayer Leverkusen and Micky van de Ven from Wolfsburg are of interest. Both have plenty of pace and are comfortable on the ball.

Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo is also being considered. Clement Lenglet, who spent last season on loan at Spurs, signing from Barcelona on a permanent deal for a nominal fee can't be completely ruled out.

Tottenham simply have to cut out the silly mistakes at the back - it was a catalyst for their extremely disappointing eighth-placed finish.

What's a good season for Tottenham?

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - MAY 07: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou celebrates after securing the league title during a cinch Premiership match between Heart of Midlothian and Celtic at Tynecastle Park, on May 07, 2023, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Image: Postecoglou brings a winning mentality to Spurs

There's an acceptance from supporters this will be quite a rebuild. Errors in recruitment have caught up with Spurs.

No European football for the first time in 13 years will seem strange with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium unused most midweeks.

However, it could be a blessing in disguise as Postecoglou implements his philosophy on the squad.

The term 'the Big 6' infuriates the likes of Newcastle and Aston Villa but the fact remains Tottenham have dined near the top of the league table for nearly 15 years and generate revenue putting them in the top 10 in world football - but there's nothing to show for it in terms of recent silverware.

Spurs need to win a trophy - easier said than done with Manchester City taking domestic cup competitions so seriously.

Entertaining football, a top-six finish and a serious crack at both cups will be a satisfactory first season under the new head coach. With league rivals facing European football and Tottenham's positive start to the summer window, a top-four spot can't be ruled out, either.

Kane future

Harry Kane applauds the fans following the defeat to Brentford
Image: Harry Kane has one year left on his deal and is being linked with a move away this summer

Tottenham selling Harry Kane is unthinkable.

The vast majority outside of the club are convinced it's time for one of the best strikers in world football to join a club in the Champions League who can offer him a greater chance of winning a trophy.

They might be right, but that won't stop Daniel Levy insisting Kane stays for at least one more season, until his contract runs out.

Postecoglou has a very tough job on his hands but it becomes daunting if Tottenham's record goalscorer departs this summer. Last week it was widely reported Bayern Munich made an opening £60m plus add-ons bid for Kane.

Tottenham told me that was not true. What's an official bid in today's world? Someone check the fax machine…

Kane scored 30 league goals in a poor team last season. It's a remarkable achievement from one of the best around.

With one year left on his contract, he might feel now is the time to move on. Reports in Germany suggest Kane is open to moving there, however Spurs, and no doubt Postecoglou, will have other ideas.

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