For years, Tottenham Hotspur were what many considered to be a “selling club”.
At the end of the season, the star player on the team would draw interest from a huge club that could offer higher wages and trophies. The vultures would circle, and Daniel Levy would do his best to kick the can down the road to the next summer, but eventually, the sale would come.
The likes of Luka Modric, Dimitar Berbatov, and Gareth Bale all left under the same circumstances: late in the window, for a whopping fee and to a giant of the game.
That narrative has changed significantly over recent years. Since the sale of Bale to Madrid in 2013, Kyle Walker is the only crucial first-team player to depart against the desires of the club.
Following the progress of the club under Mauricio Pochettino’s guidance, the stance of Spurs changed so that its priority was keeping the current squad together.
Nearly every first-team player, particularly the English ones, have been the subject of rabid transfer speculation since 2016, and yet Daniel Levy has been able to keep hold of them.
To give credit where it is due, this has been a massive achievement for the club’s management. This has enabled Tottenham to keep several world-class players in the team despite the lower wages and lack of trophies when compared to Europe’s conventional superpowers.
Keeping these players together has led to a change in mentality that has given Spurs’ star players the belief that they can accomplish their goals, together, at Tottenham.
This comradery was a staple of Pochettino’s tenure, with the players and fans all in on a group of likeable players that seemed to get on quite well.
Much of this ability to hold on to key players has come down to Daniel Levy’s negotiation strategy. He is a notoriously shrewd businessman and is well known to be difficult to work with when it comes to transfers.
Levy is a master at getting absolute top dollar for players he sells and paying as little as possible for players he buys.
Fans have been frustrated with how tightly he guards the club’s purse strings when it comes to buying players, but perhaps more should be frustrated with his exhaustive commitment to never settle for anything less than full-price.
A mark of a successful club is being decisive when clearing out unnecessary players. They ruthlessly identify which players do not have a future at the club or are no longer at the playing standard required, and then quickly finding an agreement with a buying club that suits all parties.
What the deal may lack in maximum financial return, it gains in efficiency. The transfer fee, the freed-up wages, and a place in the squad are now available to help entice new players.
Tottenham Hotspur now find themselves at a crossroads where the core group of players it has tried so desperately to keep together has grown slightly stale, particularly in defence and central midfield.
Regardless of the financial situation that Tottenham find themselves in, where they will likely need to sell players to fund new acquisitions, the squad is in desperate need of a clearing out of the likes that Tottenham fans have not seen in many years.
This summer, Tottenham and Daniel Levy simply cannot afford to be sentimental or to hold out for top dollar for every player. Just as the club swung the axe on Jose Mourinho’s time when it became clear progress was not being made, the same must now be done to the playing squad.
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