Daniel Levy has expressed his dissatisfaction at Tottenham Hotspur's season, saying that "performances and results have not lived up to expectation", but the chairman has ruled out another summer of "major upheaval" to the playing squad as he continues the fight to establish the club in the Premier League's top four.
There are expected to be changes at the top, with doubts clinging to the futures of the manager, Tim Sherwood, and the technical director, Franco Baldini. Levy has explored hiring Louis van Gaal as the manager once his involvement at the World Cup finals with Holland has ended and attempts to finalise what would be an exciting appointment are on-going.
Levy has considered other candidates, including Ajax's Frank De Boer and Southampton's Mauricio Pochettino, but either one would be difficult to prise from their employer. De Boer might consider leaving Ajax but only for Barcelona, who he represented during his playing career, or a club of similar stature.
Van Gaal becomes a free agent after the World Cup, when he will be succeeded by Guus Hiddink. The 62-year-old is on record as saying that he wants to manage in England and he met Levy before Sherwood was confirmed as André Villas-Boas's permanent successor last December. Baldini would stand to be a casualty of Van Gaal's arrival, and not only because Van Gaal always likes to have total control at a club. Baldini's stock is low after the poor return of the seven signings that he oversaw last summer at a cost of £110.5m.
The priority for the club's manager next season will be to draw more from those players, even if it is unclear whether all of them will remain. There is uncertainty over the defenders Jan Vertonghen and Younès Kaboul while the goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a target for both Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco back in his native France.
Vertonghen's form has dipped this season, as he has been tracked by Barcelona – they want either him or Chelsea's David Luiz, although Fifa says that the Catalan club will now be banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows for breaking rules over the acquisition of under-age players.
Tottenham have looked into re-signing the defender Steven Caulker, whom they sold last summer to Cardiff City for £9m, while they made an unsuccessful offer of £4m for the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow in January and could try again for him in the summer. There is the intention, according to Levy, only to "strengthen in key positions".
Tottenham sit sixth in the Premier League, eight points behind Arsenal in fourth and with six matches to play. Their league record under Sherwood reads: P16 W9 D2 L5 and he remains determined to convince Levy to persist with him and his heart-on-the-sleeve style. Levy has noted that the club are just two points worse off than they were at the corresponding point of last season but it is a measure of Tottenham's progress over recent years – they have finished in the top five every season since 2009-10 – that the currentcampaign has come to feel underwhelming.
The chairman said: "We have come far in the last decade – we have raised our expectations from a club aiming to be in the top half of the table to competing in Europe each season – to the point at which we find ourselves disappointed if we don't make the Champions League.
"This season, we have had to make significant changes, both in coaching and playing staff and yet we are currently only two points less than last season's tally. Whilst this season's performances and results have not lived up to expectation, we believe our squad has potential and it is important that we all now show commitment and teamwork to get the best possible finish to the season."
Levy's comments came as the club announced their financial results and updated supporters on the progress of the new stadium development. Phase one of it has been financed to completion but there has been a delay in the necessary land acquisition. The club await the secretary of state's decision on the compulsory purchase order. The club said in a statement that they "anticipate going out to tender for construction late this year, which will make a stadium opening date of summer 2017 feasible".
Revenue for the year ended 30 June 2013 was £147.4m, an increase on the previous year's £144.2m, while profit from operations excluding football trading and before depreciation was £23.4m compared with £23m in 2012.