Gareth Bale’s post-match comments after playing such an integral role in Real Madrid retaining the Champions League trophy against Liverpool, left many Spurs fans dreaming of the possibility of a homecoming to the club he left in 2013 and filling the missing piece in the jigsaw of a game-changer for Spurs to have a realistic tilt at the Premier League title this season or at least progressing further than last season’s third-place finish.
However not only did the dream of a Bale return dissolve quickly with both Ronaldo and Zidane leaving Real Madrid, the massive shock to find that Spurs made history by becoming the first Premier League team not to sign a player in the summer transfer window, took the majority of supporters by surprise who had the feeling similar perhaps of receiving no presents on a birthday or Christmas Day. So does this spell doom and gloom for our season?
Spurs were linked strongly with Zaha, Martial and Grealish to name a few during the summer but would any of these players with the inflated transfer fees wanted by their clubs have improved our first team? Martial seems to be a big favourite amongst many supporters but would he warrant being an automatic selection ahead of Alli or Son in our starting XI? The one player who should have been our key target from the January transfer window should have been Ryan Sessegnon who perhaps the club felt would be easier to sign in the summer but taking the gamble that Fulham would not be promoted. At the young age of 17, Sessegnon would have fitted perfectly into the first team as a wing-back or left-back with the threat of goals which he scored in abundance with Fulham last season having scored 16 goals.
The key to a successful season this year is the continued progression of young established players such as Dele Alli and club-record signing Davinson Sanchez who have a crucial role to play while Lucas Moura who was signed in the January transfer window is a player expected to push for more of a regular start in the team this season. Pochettino obviously has faith that Erik Lamela is worthy of a new contract having fully recovered from a long-term hip injury while Dembele, Wanyama, Dier and Winks give us both creativity and steel in midfield to compliment Eriksen.
It is clear that we have been looking more vulnerable defensively since last season compared to 2016-17 where we set a club record of conceding only 26 goals throughout the League campaign. With Toby Alderweireld a key figure missing through injury and not selected when available through large portions of the 2017-18 campaign, we conceded 36 goals throughout the Premier League season and were cruelly exploited against the experienced Juventus where we conceded 2 goals in the space of 3 minutes when looking poised to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League with an early lead.
The opening day win against Newcastle was fortunate in which defensively in the 2nd half we were hanging on for the win where we had to rely on the brilliant shot-stopping agility of Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertoghen’s vital deflection from Rondon’s goal-bound shot which fortunately hit the bar.
With a large number of the team just returning to training after their World Cup exploits and Son-Heung-Min on International duty for up to a month with the Asian games, it will take a few games before they are fully match-fit however to keep the momentum going it is vital that we beat Fulham at Wembley this Saturday before our game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Despite no signings in the summer transfer window and the uncertainty regarding the future of Danny Rose who could be transferred at the end of the month, there is no reason why we can’t finish in the top 4 again this season and challenge for silverware with the squad we have however Pochettino must learn from the selection mistakes of last season and play his best team for key games as the loss to Manchester United in the semi-final of the FA Cup still is fresh in the mind with both Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld not selected.
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