Alarm bells should not be ringing for Spurs fans – despite transfer deadline day edging its way closer. While none of the ‘big six’ – excluding Liverpool – have strengthened heavily this summer it’s still easy to worry once again that Tottenham will fall by the wayside amidst more financially well-backed rivals. Those doubts can be assuaged however when the club is lifted out of the context of the furore of transfer media coverage.
Most importantly perhaps is the fact that Spurs will be at least as strong as they were last season.
The eternal fear of losing our star players has burned strong again this transfer window, but barring some outrageously high last-minute bid from one of Europe’s top clubs (Eriksen to Barca / Lloris or Kane to Madrid) Tottenham will keep every player they want to keep. Pochettino proved last season that we can continue to improve without Alderweireld and Rose – who missed most of the season and who both seemed almost irreplaceable at one point in the wake of losing Kyle Walker. For a side who have been historically coerced into signing their biggest players it’s been an understated victory to remain at full strength – that clutch of new contract signings demonstrative of that excellent stability from which the team can move forward and build on last year. One of the criticisms that has been levelled against Tottenham in the midst of their impressive rise of the past few years, is the understandable lack of big match experience. Now after a comparatively successful Champions League campaign, and an extraordinary World Cup for Tottenham players this experience can be built upon and taken into the new campaign.
It may seem strange to celebrate a team that came third in the league last season for maintaining their standard, but Tottenham are young, hungry and yet to properly hit their stride. As the world cup showed, many of these players are beginning to hit maturity – rising up to become key players in their national teams. It might be that for this team, to rely on a hoard of new signings is an overly simplistic answer to the essentially undiagnosed problem of ‘how do we get better’?. It might be that what this team needs is not a set of new £80 million players, but time, and specifically a moment in which their striking development transforms into material success.
It’s also easy to forget that this is a team not been built on the signing of established players, but rather the development of promise and youth.
Amongst the clamour of the transfer window it is counterproductive to worry about Tottenham making massive signings when that isn’t their style. This Tottenham team, and the success it has achieved is the result of shrewd purchases and the development of youth – to go against that philosophy by shelling out on Anthony Martial or Wilfried Zaha is to go against what has made them a breath of fresh air in the league in past years. While it is understandable to want to urge the club forward into a new era of financial expulsion – it should come as no surprise that Tottenham’s transfer window has been nothing but teasing, and methodical.
In the past Tottenham have splurged on dead wood, Moussa Sissoko, the increasingly unreliable looking Serge Aurier, Llorente, Jansen and further back the majority of the post-Gareth Bale money signings. All have failed to make any sort of impact in the Tottenham first team, while homegrown talent signed for comparatively low sums (Trippier / Kane /Ali / Winks) have grown to become key performers. There is a reason Tottenham have been teetering over the edge of being branded a selling club over recent years, and that is because they buy low and improve players exponentially. Rather than willing Tottenham to change, we should embrace what makes them different. This is not to say that Tottenham shouldn’t spend – the money is there to do so – but that we are not as dependent on a host of incoming transfers as it seems.
Transfers will come in the coming days – Alderweireld at least is expected to go, while a replacement for him and a central midfielder are likely to come in. Whatever happens, however, despite the transfer window, there is as much reason as ever to be excited and expectant for the coming season.
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