Andre Villas-Boas, the new head coach of Tottenham Hotspur, said yesterday that he was "privileged" to have taken "one of the most exciting coaching positions" in England.
The 34-year-old Portuguese has returned to the Premier League only four months after his dismissal by Chelsea. He will have to renew a team who lost focus in the second half of last season, leading to a fourth-placed finish, no Champions League football and the departure of Harry Redknapp.
Villas-Boas sounded delighted yesterday to be back in work so soon, and at a side who finished two places and five points ahead of Chelsea in last season's Premier League. "Tottenham Hotspur is a great club with a strong tradition and fantastic support, both at home and throughout the world," he said. "I feel privileged to be its coach. For me, this is one of the most exciting coaching positions in the Premier League."
At Tottenham Villas-Boas will be tasked with implementing Daniel Levy's vision – which he said he "shared" – of a young team playing good football. "I am delighted that Andre has agreed to become our new head coach," said the Tottenham chairman yesterday. "He has an outstanding reputation for his technical knowledge of the game and for creating well-organised teams capable of playing football in an attractive and attacking style. Andre shares our long-term ambitions and ethos of developing players and nurturing young talent, and he will be able to do so now at a new world class training centre."
Villas-Boas, who will be joined by first-team fitness coach Jose Mario Rocha and head of opposition scouting Daniel Sousa, will naturally be keen to preserve the core of players who took Spurs to fourth last season. While Gareth Bale has signed a new contract, Luka Modric has not and is subject to interest from richer, higher-profile teams in the Champions League, not least Spanish champions Real Madrid.
Levy said that new players would be brought in over the summer. "We are constantly looking to move the club forward," he said. "It is important that we now look to develop the potential within the squads at all levels, whilst strengthening the first-team in the summer in key positions with players who will become part of the future –success of the club."
The Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen and Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson are both close to joining from Ajax and Hoffenheim respectively. The latter was at Swansea last season on loan.