As the clock struck eleven on transfer deadline day, Spurs fan felt drained, shocked and a little confused. Going into the final days of the window we had been salivating at the prospect of an Isco or a Max Meyer. By the time the window slammed close we had signed Moussa Sissoko for an eye-watering £30 million. You could be forgiven for being a little shocked.
Levy hadn’t given us a ‘Rafael van der Vaart’ but he had put his hands deep into his pockets and given Pochettino the man he wanted. People put their anti-Levy pitchforks away and discussed our most divisive signing since Emmanuel Adebayor late into the night.
Yet now the dust has settled, we are able to reflect on what has been an effective window. We have strengthened in key areas. We have cleared out those un-fancied, due to temperament or talent. We have created an opportunity for our stars of years to come to get valuable first team minutes. Put in those terms, it is difficult not to feel optimistic.
Of course we all wanted a superstar like Isco but Pochettino’s philosophy is based on a balanced team all pulling in the same direction, not marquee signings. For the most part the players we have bought reflect that perfectly. At the start of the window Tottenham needed to strengthen in three positions above all else: A striker to rotate with Kane, a reliable back up to Dembele and Dier, and an injection of pace coupled with quality that we have been missing since the days of Bale and Lennon.
We got all three of these players, a prospect keeper and a thirty million pound signing to boot. Vincent Janssen looks a fantastic purchase from AZ Alkmaar. Despite the fact he has yet to get on the scoresheet, his industry, physicality and flashes of skill, are promising signs of things to come. Victor Wanyama is a tried and tested product of the highest quality and in a market where Ryan Mason is worth £13 million, represents superb value at just eleven. Georges-Kevin N’koudou marks the biggest gamble of the three, but his record of ten goals last seasons, illustrates he is more than just N’jie 2.0. Sissoko is anomalous. His age and attitude leave him wildly off brief. His manner, his love for Arsenal and his price tag mean that there a number of valid concerns surrounding him. Yet it is difficult not to be excited by his skill if Pochettino gets him to knuckle down, we have a potentially world class player on our hands. How he settles in and impacts the squad will be intriguing to observe.
As for sales it is the volume of departures rather than individual sales that have worried fans. Nabil Bentaleb’s departure has caused upset, given the potential he has in abundance, however hit attitude seems to have let him down. Ryan Mason was beloved for his ties to the club as opposed to his footballing ability. Some mention ought also go to Nacer Chadli. One of the most beautiful men of this era to wear lilywhite, he scored 15 Premier League goals and celebrated spectacularly at the Emirates. Beyond that he will not live long in the memory. As for the rest, Yedlin, Pritchard, Fazio and the like, few will even have noticed their departures. The ability to move on these players should be lauded and shows how far we have come since having Khumalo and Assou-Ekotto on our books long past their sell-by-dates. The sales show Levy will do the work to give Pochettino the tight-knit squad he wants.
This has concerned some fans as we have taken a streamlined squad and tried to streamline it further. Players like Winks, Onomah and Carter-Vickers will be thrust into the limelight. This should excite fans, not alarm us. Over the past few years we have seen Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier thrown into the first team in similar fashion with fantastic results. Pochettino has actively cleared the way for these players to get first team football because he trusts them. He has been preparing Winks and Onomah for a first team role since he joined the club. This season will provide an opportunity for them to show the quality Poch clearly believes them to have.
So, no, we didn’t get Isco, but for the most part this has been an archetypal and successful Pochettino-Levy window. We carefully acquired ear-market targets and moved on of players who are not up to the job in order to make room for youth. And we spent thirty million pounds on Moussa Sissoko. This marks a total departure from what was expected, for better or for worse. What is for certain is irrespective of that gamble this has been another positive window for Spurs with major steps towards improving the squad and doubling down on the Pochettino formula.
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