Graeme Souness believes Tottenham are “stalling” under Jose Mourinho and have fallen behind Arsenal.
Despite reaching the Champions League final last season, Spurs have endured a turbulent 2019-20 campaign.
Mourinho took charge of the London side in November after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, but the Portuguese has been unable to get them back in form.
Having won just two of their last 11 matches in all competitions, Spurs are 10th in the Premier League and have crashed out of the Champions League and FA Cup.
Souness believes the Tottenham job is the toughest the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid boss has faced so far in his career, but fears they are falling further behind their rivals.
“It seems strange to say this when you consider that Tottenham reached the Champions League final last June and have finished in the top four in the past four seasons while Arsenal have not made it into that bracket since 2016, but ask yourself this: who would you rather be managing right now — Tottenham or Arsenal?,” the ex-Liverpool manager wrote in The Times.
“Arsenal are a long way from the finished article but they have two strikers with good scoring rates in Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and some young players, most notably Bukayo Saka, who provide energy and the promise of something good to come not far down the line.
“Tottenham look like a club which is stalling. Against Bournemouth last Thursday and in defeat by Sheffield United a week before, their players looked like they were ready to hit the beach.
“That is inexcusable at any time for a professional footballer but especially when you consider that when they went into the latter fixture Champions League qualification was far from a distant prospect.
“What Mourinho must be realising is that the club’s progression to the Champions League final papered over the cracks.
“They played some brilliant football and showed huge character to come through the quarter-final against Manchester City and semi-final against Ajax yet they also played some very sloppy football in those ties and ran out of steam in the final weeks of last season.”
He continued: “Last summer they spent more than £50 million on Tanguy Ndombele. Unfortunately, he has yet to prove that he can cut it in the Premier League.
“Recruitment is integral to a successful club but at Tottenham it’s not clear who is in charge of it and what the strategy is.
“For Mourinho, it’s a bit like when he took over at Old Trafford — but without the big budget.”
While Souness believes Spurs must address their ageing and underwhelming defence, he is more concerned about their chances of convincing star striker Harry Kane to stay.
“The worry must be, though, that Kane is gone within a year. He turns 27 later this month so is in his prime yet has no honours to show for being one of the best strikers in the world,” he added.
“You will often hear the phrase ‘Show us yer medals’ in the context of footballers sizing up a manager. There comes a time too though when the best players must turn that phrase on themselves. Kane has no medals to put in his trophy cabinet. However well paid he is and however loyal he feels to the club, that should annoy the hell out of him.
“It’s not even as if he will have Champions League football next season. In fact, Spurs will be lucky if they are back in it the year after that because Chelsea, Manchester United and, possibly, Arsenal are getting their acts together.
“My take on Spurs is that they are back to the same position they found themselves in when Mauricio Pochettino took over in 2014.”