Better Never Than Late?

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Image: SpursWeb

For once our chairman appears to have left it too late. First Premier League team since 2003 and the establishment of the summer window not to have signed anyone? Poch disgruntled or disheartened because this is what he gets after asking the club to be brave? World Cup hangover plus new ground plus no new signings equals no Top Four finish?

Let’s calm down. Any or all of the above might be true, for Spurs are involved in a perennial six team war where one-third of the combatants will be left out in the cold each season. BUT… heretofore we have bested both of our London rivals, and both of our Manchester rivals twice in the past three years. And Merseyside? Well, they haven’t pipped us yet in the Poch era and only once have they finished above us in the last nine seasons.

There is an alternative way to view this latest inaction, and should Spurs avoid a poor start (or even if they don’t, given recent patterns of recovery later in the fall and winter) the virtue of this perspective may become evident.

We have, if healthy, a deep and talented team mainly at or still short of their prime with the added advantage of knowing how to play with each other and for their coach. All the possible deals we heard about—from Grealish to Zaha to Martial—were simply going to add depth—not one of the players mentioned were likely to crack the starting XI.

In goal we have the World Cup winner who, though even in the final he surrendered the type of howler which has come too frequently in the past year or so, bailed out his nation on numerous occasions with stellar saves and is still in a goalkeeper’s prime in terms of age. His backups are more than capable.         

In central defence we have a troika that when healthy is as good as any other in the league. We didn’t sell Toby—in all likelihood because his injury history has been noted and the valuation didn’t exceed the figure which will be forced upon us next season by enough to justify the move. Carter-Vickers and Dier provide depth; so does a shift to a more standard four in the back. We have dual fullbacks on each side—and if Danny Rose, diminished since his injury early last season, is loaned out, Kyle Walker-Peters won’t represent a significant fall-off.

At holding midfield when healthy we have more players than we need. If one of Wanyama and Winks can return to health and form, then a combination with Dier and Dembele will suffice to get us through all competitions. And Luke Amos may just force his way into selection consideration as well.

Up front the worry is that Son’s absence may leave us short for a month, but presumably Lucas has acclimated to Poch’s demands and when accompanied by a healthy Lamela and a player so many despise but who does provide value his manager appreciates, Mousa Sissoko, we have more than enough bodies to join Dele and Eriksen behind Kane. The real crunch won’t come until October when group play begins in the Champions League—Son will be back by then.

Fernando Llorente appears to be staying and in better shape than he was last year. I don’t see an immediate need for a different back-up to Kane—of course that pacy threat we all want would be nice—but maybe between Son and Moura that player is already on board.

The point being that the talent to contend is there. We didn’t lose to Juventus or to Man United in the FA Cup semi-final because of a surfeit of talent. Man City does have more talent—but Spurs are hardly alone in lacking the firepower the champions possess.

Last year the Wembley curse was supposed to doom us to a fifth-place finish. After a shaky start, Spurs played as well or better at “home” than any team save City. This year the skeptics will point to the cost and unfamiliarity of the new ground, the World Cup hangover, and now the failure to bring in fresh talent. I suspect the rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.  

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Agree with most of this. Just to add by comparison over three years Man U have spent nearly half a billion pounds, finished above us just once and we’ve played better football than them all three years! No wonder Sanchez, etc are worried!! They wouldn’t let us have martial as every goal he scored for us would have been a nail in Mourinho’s coffin. And must add hope Danny can stay and fight for his place,

  2. I’m sorry folks but I just can’t share your optimism here. I can’t help feel let down by the senior management team (Levy) at Spurs by their lack of activity and ambition shown for this season.

    I think we seem to be forgetting here our 3rd place finish last season was largely down to the fact Liverpool took their foot of the gas at the business end of the champions league while both Chelsea and Arsenal suffered with disinterested managers on their way out the door.
    All three clubs by the way have since invested a small fortune in the playing staff while we have once again stood still.

    I fear for what this season will bring for my beloved Spurs and just wish Mr Levy shared half my concern and invested where it counts “on the pitch”

  3. And what were the excuses for the 2nd place finish the previous year? The third place finish (when actually it were Spurs that took the foot off the gas after the Battle of Stamford Bridge) the year before that? One can just as easily argue that Mourinho’s United will fall apart in his dreaded third year; that at least one of Arsenal and Chelsea will suffer the growing pains of a new manager;

    Other than the presumably wise early signings by Liverpool, I’m hard pressed to see much if any improvement from our other rivals– Chelsea swapped goalkeepers and probably came out slightly behind in the deal. Arsenal added better offensive players last year in Lacazette and Aubemayang–and to what effect? Poch just transposed his call for bravery on this decision and decried “signing for signing’s sake”– he’s basically saying his team is good enough to improve from last year as is. If he’s wrong, and if we regress our way out of Top Four and don’t sniff a trophy, well then the reckoning will happen next spring. He hasn’t been wrong on the big things yet.

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