With Tottenham having drifted out to 9/1 in the top four betting odds, the chances of them finishing outside the Champions League spots appear likely at this moment in time.
With a best price of 6/1 available on Spurs to win the Europa League, that looks to be a better avenue to Champions League qualification and manager Jose Mourinho has masterminded that route in the past with Manchester United.
A two-time winner of the tournament having also won it with Porto in 2003 when it was still known as the UEFA Cup, you wouldn’t put it past Mourinho guiding this Tottenham team to European glory regardless of their Premier League form.
That’s if the Portuguese tactician can stave off the threat of being dismissed, with Mourinho currently the 2/1 favourite in the ever-popular sack race betting market.
A run of five defeats in six league games, as well as an FA Cup exit at the hands of Everton, has left Mourinho in a precarious position and punters are already speculating as to who could be the next manager of Tottenham.
Mourinho’s immediate future is the biggest talking point at Spurs right now, but bigger problems could run deep into the summer if there’s no turnaround in their fortunes anytime soon.
The partnership of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min has reached a new level this season but their scintillating form has only fuelled talk of transfer interest from other clubs, and should Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League their chances of retaining their two best players will be weakened.
Manchester City, who will likely be looking for a long-term replacement for the aging Sergio Aguero this summer, have been installed as the 3/1 favourites to be Kane’s next club.
However, the England international is closing in on Jimmy Greaves’ club record tally of 266 goals for Spurs and Kane may not want to leave until that milestone has been breached, which would take at least one more full season, probably two given he’s currently 60 goals short.
Son Turning Heads in Transfer Market
Son might prove more difficult to keep hold of should Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League though. The South Korea international has improved season-on-season since breaking into the Tottenham team and will no doubt have caught the eye of the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Not only is Son a world-class operator, but his commercial pull in Asia adds a significant amount of value to his name even with the ongoing pandemic factored into the current transfer market. Truth be told, he’s right up Real Madrid’s street in terms of talent and marketability.
“The commercial value that comes with him is phenomenal, that’s an added bonus, but he has fast become a top, top player,” former Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson told bookmakers.co.uk.
“Let’s not forget that when he first came to Spurs he wasn’t a regular name on the team sheet but he has transformed himself into one of the first names on the sheet and they almost can’t do without him at the moment given the relationship he’s got with Harry Kane.”
Robinson accepts that it could prove difficult to hang on to Son and indeed Kane should Spurs fail to finish this season on a high, although recent revelations over Barcelona’s finances suggest the Catalan club will not be one of the clubs trying to tempt either away from north London this summer.
He said: “If Spurs don’t finish in the top four, that’s one thing they will have to worry about. The likes of Son, Kane and others – it’s a huge squad now full of talented players and all of them want to be playing in the Champions League.
“If Spurs can’t give them that opportunity then other clubs will come looking.
“We’re talking about a very different market now because of the financial state of the economy and the way the world is. Barcelona’s finances have been well documented so the price clubs are willing to pay for players will have changed.
“But players will still have the ambition to play in the Champions League and if it’s another season for the likes of Son and Kane without Champions League football then it’s a worry because teams may well come in and test Spurs’ resolve.”
Are Spurs Too Reliant on Kane?
Having been touted as potential title contenders before Christmas, it’s difficult to pinpoint how things have gone so wrong for Mourinho and Spurs since the turn of the year.
Mourinho’s natural defensive instincts kicked in somewhere down the line and it fails to get the best out of their attack, which lacks potency when Kane is unavailable according to Robinson.
“I think they’re heavily reliant on Harry Kane, they’re a different animal when he’s on the field,” he said.
“It was well documented over the past two or three transfer windows that they would like to bring in a striker, not to directly replace Harry Kane but to take some of the burden off him and to replace him when he’s injured.
“History shows you that he is quite often injured for good portions of the season and they do struggle when he’s not there.
“Yes, they’ve got Lucas Moura, Son and [Steven] Bergwijn but none of them are that central striker figure that they miss when Kane is not available.
“They’ve had chances to solve that issue in the last few windows – Carlos Vinicius has come in and I think he’s done well when he’s played, yet Spurs haven’t looked potent going forward when he’s filling Kane’s role, but I think that’s down to the defensive way Mourinho sets them up.”
That defensive approach may not be working in the Premier League at the moment, but it has proven effective for Mourinho across the two-legged format in European football, with the 58-year-old also having won two European Cups in the past.
He may need to rediscover some of that old magic if Tottenham are to qualify for next season’s Champions League via the Europa, and retain the likes of Kane and Son in the process.