Finally it is the end of the 2015 summer transfer window. I sound relieved don’t I? The transfer window doesn’t just take its toll on managers, players and executives, but the fans as well. The constant wheel of speculation and rumours is just as exciting as it is draining. Immediately after the transfer window closed on Tuesday, the criticism of Daniel Levy was coming in thick and fast. The general consensus was that Levy had failed to adequately bolster the squad this summer. In recent days Levy has been criticised from every corner, adding fuel to the ‘Levy out” brigade. However, is this criticism really fair?
Let’s first look at the positives of the transfer window for Tottenham. We have strengthened one of the worst defences of last season, by bringing in Toby Alderwiereld, Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer. Alderwiereld, last season, proved himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, and his arrival in N17 has been seen somewhat as a coup considering the shortage of quality centre-backs on the market. Trippier adds depth and quality to what was a problem position last summer, and his arrival will hopefully force an improvement in Kyle Walker’s performances this season. Wimmer is an unknown quantity, but he is young, has potential and gives us another option as a natural left-footer in the centre of defence. Mauricio Pochettino was desperate for his side to improve defensively this season, and it seems as if he has got his first choice targets to now fulfil his wish. The Club also added two young attackers in Heung-Min Son and Clinton N’Jie from Bayern Leverkusen and Lyon respectively. Both are touted as being exciting, direct, pacey young forwards who have a penchant for creating and scoring goals. For many fans, this is exactly what the side was missing last season. Although, their impact will of course depend on just how quickly they can settle into a new country, culture and league.
Apart from bringing new players in, the Club also engaged in a mass fire sale this summer which saw nine first-team players leave, including two of the most expensive flops in the Club’s history, Paulinho and Roberto Soldado. The majority of these nine had severely disappointed during their spells at the Club. Daniel Levy took the unprecedented step of selling many of these players at a loss, taking a combined £23.2 million hit on Soldado and Paulinho. Levy did this to help Pochettino, who wanted a much thinner squad this season. However, there was much frustration that the Club missed out on signing a defensive midfielder and a striker, with moves for Victor Wanyama and Saido Berainho both hitting brick walls. Some fans resorted to calling for the return of free agent, Dimitar Berbatov, such was their desperation to see the Club bring in some support for Harry Kane. Levy was castigated by fans, journalists, celebrity footballers and everybody else who wanted to jump on to the ‘Levy out’ bandwagon for this perceived failure.
Levy, since becoming Chairman of Tottenham in 2001, has overseen, and been responsible for, the transition of the Club from being lowly league finishers, to being one of the best financially run clubs in world football and being regulars in European competitions. To add to that, Levy has built a world-class training ground, and has overseen the initial development process of a new 56,000 seater stadium, that he promises will take the Club to the ‘next level’. These achievements are sadly overlooked, especially during the transfer window when fans get frustrated that Levy fails to spend the vast sums that our rivals do. Levy certainly has his faults, of that there can be no doubt. However, he is learning from past mistakes. For example, he has completely revamped the Club’s recruitment setup that has previously cost Tottenham so dearly. Furthermore, this summer Levy decided not to pay over the odds and not to panic buy. These have been pivotal mistakes that he has made in the past, which have set the Club’s development back. Just look to the 2013 summer transfer window as evidence. Pochettino’s philosophy is that it is better to wait until the right players become available at the right price, and Levy is now buying into that. There is now a long-term vision at the Club, shared by the Chairman and the Head Coach. This is something that should be celebrated by every Tottenham fan. Levy is frustrating, but he has done a huge amount for this football club and he is slowly learning from his mistakes, which will help the Club improve in the long-term. You only need to look back to the reign of Alan Sugar before criticising him too much.
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