Tottenham can look back at this summer and be happy with a lot of work they did in the transfer market. But a couple of big blunders kept it from being the perfect window. Spurs have had a strange start to the season. They’ve played some great football at times but only have three points from four games to show for it. Failure to do business early offered head coach Mauricio Pochettino few options and little room to change things up in his opening four matches. Now recent errors late in the window could plague him with similar problems for the rest of the season as well.
Tottenham had a bright start to the window, with the club seemingly listening to Pochettino’s call to “do our business early, to work hard during the season and take early decisions.” Promising Austrian centre-half Kevin Wimmer was signed on May 29 to add youth and depth to Spurs’ ailing defence. Kieran Trippier followed on June 20 for a bargain fee of £3.5 million to not only challenge Kyle Walker at right back but provide an alternative.
The biggest transfer yet, Toby Alderweireld, was confirmed on July 8 after the club moved ruthlessly to capture him ahead of Southampton. The Belgian could prove to be the most important signing of the summer, with his leadership and ability already a welcome addition to the backline four games in. The club moved quickly and efficiently to sign targets to tighten up the struggling defence from the season before and signs were looking good.
Next, Spurs looked to inject some much needed attacking impetus. Young forwards Clinton Njie and Heung Min Son signed a bit later in the window and joined attacking midfielder Dele Alli, who officially joined the squad after his January move. Pochettino clearly felt his side from last season lacked any meaningful pace and welcomed the addition of the “three young, fast and exciting players.” They are certainly a trio that will look to get bums off seats.
By the close of the window, the club had moved on eight first team squad players who clearly had no future with the club. Their vast wages were wiped from the books and most importantly, their departures allowed room for younger, hungrier players to take their spots. The ability of the club to shift so much deadwood in one window should be commended but perhaps the one they wanted gone the most, still remains. Despite plenty of positives from Tottenham’s window, a couple of key blunders could severely disrupt the upcoming season.
Emmanuel Adebayor is still a Spurs player, taking home a massive wage each week to not play football after being frozen out by Pochettino. It will be another four months before they can think of shifting him on again. But perhaps more frustratingly, the club failed to bring in a second striker to replace him and ease the pressure on golden boy Harry Kane. It was clear last season’s back up strikers would have no future at the club.
Roberto Soldado moved back to Spain, after fans watched a shadow of his former self haunt White Hart Lane for two years, while it was made clear Adebayor would never pull on a Spurs shirt again. To not bring in another striker is inexcusable. While West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino appeared to be the main target, to not bring in anybody because they missed out was just insanity.
It is promising to see Pochettino state that the club “would only add players that we felt would improve us and if any one player was not possible then I prefer we do not add for the sake of it” as this familiar problem has plagued the club for years. Yet to not have a single other target seems naïve to an extreme.
The best case scenario would see Kane playing only Premier League fixtures, if he is able to stay fit that is, while Son, Njie and Nacer Chadli do a job up front in cup games. Even then, Pochettino will still not have another pure striker to assist Kane if he needs to shake things up from the bench. A knock to Kane could be disastrous.
To be fair to the club, this summer was not a fantastic market for strikers. Liverpool had to fork out more than £30 million for Christian Benteke. Arsenal did not add another forward despite knowing before the deadline that Danny Welbeck would be out for a few months. Manchester United could pay a potential fee of over £55 million for a 19 year old who only has 29 starts to his name. There wasn’t a lot of quality available and if it was, it wasn’t good value for money.
There was just as much good as there was bad for Spurs to digest as the smoke cleared on the summer transfer window. They solidified their defence, added some exciting wide players but failed to bring in a striker to support Harry Kane. Problems could arise also if Eric Dier doesn’t take to his new role as midfield enforcer but early signs are promising. A good start to the window was let down Spurs late gambles failing. This strategy has bit them on the arse countless times. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is in the definition of insanity. In fairness a lot of Spurs fans seem to already be way past that point anyway.
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