It is the question circulating the minds and mouths of every single Tottenham fan in the world. Spurs are ideally placed to finish in the top 4 of the Premier League – yet they are also in with a huge chance of winning the Europa League. So what is more important? Permanent stability and a chance to mix it with Europe’s elite? Or a piece of silverware?
Of course, the ideal answer would be both. But is the Spurs squad strong enough to cope with the demands of both gruelling competitions? Including tonight’s match against Basel, Spurs would have to play 5 more Europa League games in order to win it. In terms of the Premier League, they have 7 more matches to play. So overall, that’s 12 matches – with the potential of 3 going to extra time – to play in 45 days. Certainly, both will be a very hard challenge – although admittedly, one which AVB is seemingly willing to take on. But does he have the squad? I’d love to say yes, but I can’t.
But if they were to pick one over the other to focus on, which should it be? Spurs haven’t won a trophy for 5 years, with their last silverware being the Carling Cup in 2008. I’m sure every Spurs fan can remember the glorious emotions that they felt when the full time whistle blew and Spurs had won a trophy. And, as far as the Spurs squad go, they will unanimously agree that there is no other feeling in football than winning a trophy. And with the Europa League being famously gruelling, challenging and tiring, this would be a very satisfying trophy to win. And beating Inter, Lyon and Basel along the way would be something to tell the grand-kids about.
And then there is the 4th place trophy, one synonymous with Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Who needs trophies, when you can reach the last 16/quarter finals of the Champions League each year? But the CL brings other benefits. Firstly, stature. This is the best competition in the world, and everyone wants to be in it. Secondly, Gareth Bale. He is undoubtedly one of the finest footballers in the world right now, and he deserves the chance to play against the world’s top defences, and battle it out with Messrs Ronaldo and Messi. He might consider leaving Spurs if they can’t grant him this opportunity. Thirdly, money. The financial rewards of playing just one game in the Champions League are astronomical in relation to the Europa League. And finally, bragging rights. Spurs haven’t finished above Arsenal for nearly 20 years and this seems like the perfect opportunity to change that. An attempt to win the Europa League could jeopardise this.
It really boils down to personal preference. Ask each Spurs fan you find outside the Lane tonight and he will say a different option for a different reason from the next. But if you had to choose, what professional footballer doesn’t want a trophy on their CV?