ONLY time will tell whether Nuno Espirito Santo turns out to be hunky Dory or an absolute clownfish as Tottenham boss.
His appointment on Thursday ended a search for Jose Mourinho’s successor that lasted a whopping 72 DAYS.
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Some wars have not taken that long. But for Nuno, the real battle is only just beginning.
The former Wolves boss takes over at Spurs knowing he was not their first choice. Or second. Or third. Or fourth.
In fact, he was initially overlooked by chairman Daniel Levy due to concerns over the Portuguese’s pragmatic style of play and reluctance to blood young homegrown talent.
The word on the street in N17 is the club’s new managing director of football Fabio Paratici is responsible for Levy changing his mind.
A two-year contract is hardly a ringing endorsement but that could be a good thing as Tottenham need things to turn around quickly.
They do not have the time for another five-year plan.
Spurs, with their magnificent stadium and state-of-the-art training complex, may not need any work off the pitch but on it is another matter.
Their squad is still largely the same as it was when Mauricio Pochettino was in his pomp five or six years ago.
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They have paid heavily for not investing in the squad when they were flying high.
Most of their stars are household names but it is a familiarity which bred contempt and complacency with the first XI, when all fit, virtually picking itself.
There is no doubt Spurs have gone stale and offer opponents few surprises.
In fact, there is a lot of dead wood which needs shifting.
Even some of their biggest stars need moving on and Nuno is going to have his hands full.
Keeper and captain Hugo Lloris, having had a fine Euros for France, is now in the final year of his contract.
Belgian Toby Alderweireld, despite being hailed as the best defender at the tournament, still appears to be woefully undervalued by the club’s hierarchy.
Eric Dier is yet to convince us he is a centre-back having switched from midfield.
And how will he react after being left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad this summer?
There are also question marks over fellow defenders Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier, both brilliant on their day but too erratic and unpredictable the rest of the time.
In midfield, Spurs are facing a losing battle trying to recoup the initial £55million they laid out on record buy Tanguy Ndombele, who has flopped since joining from Lyon in a deal worth up to £65m.
There is also doubt over the future of Giovani Lo Celso and surely it is time to cut their losses on Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
Then there is Harry Kane. The England captain has made no secret of his desire to leave the club in his quest for honours.
Fans will be hoping the new manager is able to persuade their talisman to stay.
But it is surely unfair to burden incoming boss Nuno with that responsibility.
The reality is no manager — arguably with the exception of father-figure Pochettino — could influence Kane on a decision as important as this.
Whether he stays or leaves will ultimately be down to him, Levy and market forces.
The good news for Nuno and Tottenham is judging by the latest pictures he has posted online, Dele Alli looks in excellent shape as he prepares to build on his positive end to last season.
And Son Heung-min will NOT be going away with South Korea to the Tokyo Olympics.
Spurs will also be hoping Nuno can bring the best out of his former Wolves wing-back Matt Doherty, who tailed off badly last season following a decent start.
If Kane does leave, Nuno’s appointment could prove a masterstroke if Tottenham are able to replace him with Raul Jimenez, who starred under the new Spurs boss at Molineux.
Nuno did an excellent job in the four years at Wolves before they sacked him in May.
If he makes the same marked improvements at Tottenham they could get back in the top four.
But it is a massive ask and he does not have time to waste at a club which took so long to appoint him.
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