After three months of endless rumour and gossip, the transfer window finally slammed shut on Thursday night. Although for most fans the window is an exciting (yet often disappointing) rollercoaster, it will be a relief for the focus to be back solely on what happens on the pitch.
This summer transfer window will be remembered for the three months when football finally lost touch with any semblance of reality. The transfer fees that were paid out this year by clubs across Europe were astronomical, with none more eye-watering that Neymar’s world-record move to PSG. Premier League clubs spent around £1.4 billion in total, with the two Manchester sides’ spending making up around a quarter of that. So, with a £800 million new stadium to finance, the super-inflated transfer fees must have been the thing of nightmares for the Spurs Chairman, Daniel Levy. After another season of Spurs going so close to winning the title, but falling short at the end, how was Levy going to be able to compete in the market to ensure that this season was not going to be yet another near-miss? Well, we learnt part of the answer in July. On the Club’s pre-season tour of the USA, Levy bemoaned the fees being paid out, labelling the spending as ‘unsustainable’. Levy was not going to break from his strict wage-structure and would not break from a habit of a lifetime: to wait until the end of the window and strike late for quality when he believes the price is better.
Predictably Levy left it late, not finalising the Club’s first signing until the 23rd August in the form of Davinson Sanchez. The Colombian was signed for a club-record fee of around £42 million from Ajax. Spurs would go on to make a further four signings in the last week of the transfer window, with three of those coming in the final 48 hours of the window being open. The signings of Paulo Gazziniga, Serge Aurier, Juan Foyth and Fernando Llorente took the Club’s spending to around £88 million. Whilst the high-profile sales of Kyle Walker, Kevin Wimmer, Nabil Bentaleb and co. ensured that Spurs turned round a profit. Judgement on how successful a transfer window has been should always be reserved until the players have put the shirt on, but on paper the signings signal an upgrade on our defensive strength-in-depth and give us a new found game-changer up top in Llorente. However, anyone who has watched the team in the first three games of this season (including Pochettino) would have known the Club were crying out for another creative midfielder and a winger. Moves for Ross Barkley, Andre Gomes and Demarai Gray fell through, so the Argentinian boss will have to use all his managerial acumen to get something meaningful out of Moussa Sissoko and Georges Kevin N’Koudou. On the whole though a pretty good window for the Club.
I am a fan of Daniel Levy and the way he runs the Club. He runs the Club prudently, he’s invested in a world-class training centre, and is on the verge of providing the fans with one of the most impressive football stadiums in Europe. At the same time he has overseen the Club rise from being Premier League also-rans to regular competitors in Europe, and now title challengers. However, what leaves even pro-Levy supporters perplexed is his desire to leave the Club’s transfer business until the last-minute. Leaving deals late costs points. It has become tiresomely repetitive that Tottenham start the season poorly. This year has been no different with one win, one draw and one defeat from our opening three matches. This season the move to Wembley has exacerbated matters, but it is hard to believe when looking at Manchester United, that Spurs wouldn’t have performed better had the players been signed before the start of the season. There is little evidence that the Club paid any less for players by waiting until the end of the window, and they failed to bring in reinforcements in all of the positions they wanted. The reality is that the majority of Tottenham fans recognise the need for the Club to spend cautiously whilst the new stadium is being built, but they are left frustrated by Levy’s reluctance to learn from previous mistakes and give the manager the players he wants in good time.
Even with our early season struggles, the quality of our team and our manager is too high for us not to have yet another impressive season. Let’s just hope our dropped August points aren’t the difference between silverware and another near-miss!
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