Blog by: Manu
Tottenham Hotspur, for the past few seasons, have been knocking on the door of a Champions League qualifying spot. Twice they went past the door – once reaching the knock out phase while the other time the Champions League berth was cruelly snatched away from them by Chelsea.
Last season too, they were on the brink of ending up in the top 4 positions but fell short in the end. With Liverpool growing as a squad under Rodgers, Spurs must have realized they need to spend to establish themselves as a regular top 4 side. And that they have. Some £107million has been invested in bringing in new players during the transfer window.
Spurs already had money to spend, and with around 90 million expected to come in through the transfer of their Welsh international, they had the means of undertaking a major upheaval of their squad. The club could have conserved the funds to invest in Tottenham’s new stadium. But with the possibility of an uncertainty hanging over Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea due to their managerial changes, Spurs sensed a unique opportunity this transfer window.
AVB’s appointment last season might have been a controversial one considering he replaced the fan favourite Harry Redknapp, but since then he has made all the right moves and has taken the club forward. The players he has brought have been of a higher calibre than those already present at the club. Last season, he made some good buys with the likes of Lloris, Dembele, Vertonghen, Sigurdsson. But it is this transfer season that AVB and the club has gone all out and made signings that truly show title ambitions.
Nacer Chadli joined in July for £7million from FC Twente. A dynamic winger, he will provide competition for players such as Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend. Another player who has joined is Brazilian midfielder Paulinho. Doubts whether he could impress on the big stage were put to rest by his performances at the 2013 Confederations Cup. Etienne Capoue, from Tolouse for £9.5 million, has looked very assured in possession in his first few outings for the club.
Perhaps the biggest addition to the squad has been made upfront. Defoe and Adebayor struggled to find the net regularly last season. No team can seriously think about winning the league without having a world class striker to score 20 goals, and in Soldado, finally Spurs have someone who can guarantee goals. Soldado will ensure a steady inflow of goals.
Spurs went on to splash out cash on three more players in one eventful day. Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen will add the much needed creativity and can also contribute in the goals department, taking the pressure off Soldado. Lamela will have a sizeable pressure on his shoulders as he will be seen as the direct replacement for Bale. But having seen him in action for Roma, I firmly believe he does have the potential to fill the superstar’s shoes.
Christian Eriksen, if he finds his feet quickly and adjusts to the pace and physicality of the league, has the potential to unlock the tightest of the defences and can end up as the difference maker for Spurs. Rounding out that day’s triple signing; Vlad Chiriches adds depth in defense. Add all this potential to the already present squad and Spurs have built one of the most talented, strongest all round squads in the Premier League.
In goal is the hugely impressive Hugo Lloris, with the solid back-up of Brad Fiedel, who still looks imposing and can produce some big match winning saves. In the centre of defence is the elegant Belgian Vertonghen, who just keeps getting better and better. Partnering him is the towering presence of Dawson. The return of Younes Kaboul from a serious knee injury is positive news for Spurs.
The returning Danny Rose, who was one of the best players at the struggling Black Cats last season, can compliment Kyle Walker amazingly well. Both are ultra attacking and can run up and down the flanks endlessly. The centre midfield already boasted Sandro and Dembélé who were one of the best pairing last season. Add to it the attacking ingenuity of Holtby and Sigurdsson along with the dynamic Lennon means Spurs have a host of experienced options at their disposal.
With the World Cup fast approaching, both attackers Defoe and Adebayor would be doing their best to improve on their hot and cold form of last season. Even the loss of Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Scott Parker and William Gallas won’t affect Spurs’ fortunes with the depth of squad they now possess.
Spurs, as one can see, have a wealth of talent and potential at their disposal. They, player for player and man for man, can rub shoulders with every team in the league. But it will take time for their squad of players to become a team. As seen in case of Manchester City who could manage only fifth in 2009/10 despite spending over £100 million – it takes time for the elements to gel in together. AVB realizes this, as his recent comments suggest:
“What we are building is a very, very strong side for the future, alongside massive investment in the structures of the club so that dream can hopefully happen in a couple of years. We have to create a team from all these new players that we have bought. We haven’t had lots of time to work with them. I believe that, in the future, we can definitely achieve it.”
A title this season might be too big a challenge, but the Spurs faithful can be more than happy from the fact that given time to gel, their side can finally finish above Arsenal this season. They might be without their star man now, but they have used money and improved their squad extraordinarily well. Thus instead of being in the doldrums over Bale’s departure, Tottenham are preparing to fly. Perhaps only a few months separate them from developing into title contenders.