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Spurs crossroads: Has Pochettino outgrown Levy & Lewis?

COMMENT: For Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy's Tottenham, it's new ground this season. Indeed, a watershed. And no, we're not talking about the stadium...

It must have dawned upon them by now. This juncture the club's owners have reached. They have the world class stadium. They have the England captain - and the current World Cup winning captain. But this isn't enough. At least, it's not enough for their manager.

Up until the Mauricio Pochettino era, whether it be by circumstance, deficiencies or something else (just ask Harry Redknapp), Spurs have effectively outgrown their manager. The Tottenham of Levy and Lewis have always parted with their head coach convinced he was no longer up to par. Sacked. Dismissed. Whatever. No manager in this era have ever left (or is that dumped?) Spurs for better things. They've always been judged as falling short of what the club needed . That is, until now.

Spurs, under Pochettino, have reached a watershed. They now have a manager capable of moving to a bigger club. To better things. At this moment in the owners' era, they have a manager who is nearing the point of outgrowing the club.

Competing for the top four is no longer enough. Reaching the Champions League final, just doesn't satisfy. Pochettino wants to be winning things - and consistently. The Argentine has shown he can outdo and outthink the very best in the game - on less resources. And he's had enough. Watching his peers go back to the market this summer, spending where needed, all with the full backing of their board, must be galling for the Spurs manager. Particularly when knowing in one-off games, even ties, he's managed to beat them.

And this is what is about to confront the board at Spurs this season. Pochettino has let it be known he's unhappy. He's unhappy with the market work of Levy. He's unhappy with the decision-making of the chairman. And he's been angered by a fault found in the culture around Spurs Lodge. In total, the complaints add up to a club not serious about silverware.

Pochettino went public - and more than once - over the summer about the slow-going of their transfer plans. Eventually, Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso would all arrive. Sessegnon, however, is seen as 'one for the future' - just like Lo Celso, though that has more to do with the Argentine's fitness than his youth. But it's an outgoing, the departure of Fernando Llorente, that has left the manager frustrated.

Having already overseen Vincent Janssen's sale to Monterrey, it's emerged Pochettino wanted Llorente, at the age of 34, to go around one more time. And why not? Particularly given his influence on the road to Madrid. The Spaniard was up for it - that is, until he saw the contract offer forwarded him by Levy. The terms tabled were basically a dramatic pay-cut - even though he was the only cover on the books for Kane. That Spurs allowed Llorente to leave in such circumstances wasn't the stuff contenders.

Nor was the behaviour of Jan Vertonghen in the offseason. The Belgian's absence in the opening weeks of the campaign owing more to his waistline than his defensive teammates' form. On the back of a run to the Champions League final. With so much to work towards for the new season. For one of the club's senior players, a leader, to offer such a poor example upon his summer return does suggest not all is right inside Spurs Lodge. And again, it really doesn't smack of a club serious about competing at the elite level.

Throw in the public chastising of Levy for voting in favour of the Premier League's shortened transfer window and you clearly have a frustrated manager. Pochettino's outburst suggesting his opinion was not sought - or ignored - before the vote was made.

At this point in their history, Spurs could be anything. They have the stadium. The training centre. The youth system. And - potentially - the resources to compete for the very best talent anywhere in the world. But it's really now reached the stage where messrs Levy and Lewis need to decide what sort of the club they want to be: a contender or a place getter.

And it's a decision that will need to be made soon. Pochettino isn't going to hang around forever. He doesn't have to. For the club's owners, this is new ground. Will Spurs grow with their manager or let him go? This watershed moment for Spurs is getting closer.

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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