It’s not long before the transfer deadline day is here and the pressure is mounting on the managers and chairmen of several clubs. While many have already completed their major signings, it is likely that a few last minute ones are going to be done in these coming days. While I am not fond of the ideology that more transfers can make you better, I, like many others, have a strong perspective on whats best for the team. I am also one of the few who appreciates Levy’s style of negotiated business but this season’s depth is terrifying me.
Squad depth HAS to be regarded as one of the main reasons as to why we failed to achieve our revised target last year. Moving on to this season, we are heading back to the same direction, maybe even worse. We have the chance to compete in four different competitions and while giving youth can be a prior for two of the domestic cup ones, we need to have experience for the major leagues. Take a look at Barcelona. They have one of the best front line in the world. Yet, they are still looking to strengthen the depth of that position by signing Alcacer. Now looking back at us, we lack depth in possibly a third of the attacking positions available for us. Heck, we do not even have a back up for a couple of them.
For me, a team has to constantly improve on two things throughout the season: the quality of its squad and its tactical flexibility. Tottenham, for the first time in a while have an advantage of the latter. Only us, along with our North London rivals have this advantage coming into the season. Our manager has been with us for two seasons now and has been able to assess the squad as per his philosophy. Yet, like Arsenal, we have failed to improve upon the qualitative aspect at the right time. A hiccup of a start can cost us significantly come the end of the season. While we have been able to be a bit more flexible with our tactics by trying new formations and different positions for some of our players, we are lacking behind in the quality we should possess. Was our eleven the best from last season? It was certainly up there, but there were areas where we could strengthen easily and the last few games showed signs of that. Also, with the new managers coming in, it is almost impossible to notice their experience of winning championships across various leagues around the world. They have been able to sign players who meet their requirements but also keep those who could add something different through their experience. For us, we are scrapping away our experienced squad and this could be costly by mid-season.
When Alex Ferguson wanted to win the title in his last season, he signed Van Persie. He strengthened the current team and got the best out of them through competition. We have managed to do that for the last season by improving defensively. The competition has only led to bringing out the best of our team. While I do believe that we might have seen some of the best performances from our side last season. It is going to be very difficult to replicate it as a lot did work right for us that time around. Now with the bigger teams becoming much stronger, we might not be able to get results that we did against them last season. Moreover, Pochettino himself said that he wants us to compete for the title but he hasn’t been able to show signs of that yet. The reality is that while we were the only other team in the running for the challenge last year, we had quite a ground to catch up due to the line of games we drew. We are selling experienced, and possible game changing players and asking alot from our youth which is a high risk.
If we sell, we should strengthen. Its as simple as that. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Given Mitchell’s resignation, Pochettino and Levy will be the main inputs on what transfers to look into. For me, Levy’s style of business needs for this last few days as it will be crucial in deciding where we lie. By letting go for almost four players, we might not have a squad strong enough to compete by the end of the season. Also, it is up to Pochettino to be clear with his transfer targets. For me he is too complacent, like Wenger, on what the team offers and this could essentially be what costs us. When Pochettino said at the end of last season that he now knew who were the players he could trust and wanted to improve upon, you would most certainly think of them from the first eleven. But, he has done little or no changes in order for them to compete for their positions. He needs to look from the outside and see the gaps that the squad has and the positions we must improve upon. Last season for instance, it was the competition that led to Bentaleb and Mason, two key players prior to that season, being dropped. The same, if done rightly for the players higher up the pitch, can significantly improve our team.
These last few days will crucial as to deciding how our season can pan out. If we are to go into this season with the way things are heading, we might not be able to compete for top four. Last season had alot of things in the right direction and knowing our luck, it may not stay the same. We need to improve upon what we sell and also try to give competition to some of our main players. The other teams have kick started their campaign better than expected and it is important that we act on this fast. Its on to you, Pochettino. Please don’t do the same mistakes as last time.
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