Before the closing of the transfer window I wrote about how I felt it was ‘now or never’ for Spurs in relation to finally becoming one of the truly big teams in Europe and regularly challenging for the title in England. I felt we were so close. We had a manager who played exciting, high-pressing front-foot football, the best out-and-out number nine in the world (who actually wears a 10), a genius number 10 (who actually wears a 23), the best left-footed centre-back in the league, a class right-back, class left-back, class keeper, and a potential world-class goal-scoring midfielder in Dele Ali. The only thing I felt we were missing was a deep-lying playmaker to dictate possession like Luka Modric (I suggested Ruben Neves), and a wide player with flair and pace who can make things happen when we are struggling for inspiration (I suggested Wilfred Zaha).
At the time of writing there was still a week or so left of the transfer window, and I (naively, foolishly) truly believed that Levy had learned from his previous mistake of not improving the team from a position of strength (the Harry Redknapp/Gareth Bale/Luka Modric team of a few seasons back), and this time we would make the necessary moves to sign the two big players that we needed (or at least one of them).
And then it got to deadline day, and the only player we were signing was Jack Grealish. And then we didn’t even do that.
Now I would just like to clarify at this point that I am not one of the Daniel Levy ‘haters’, as for the past few seasons I believe he has done a decent, (I’ll ignore the new stadium problems here as I’ve got no idea what’s going on) steadily progressive job to get the squad to the quality it is now, with seemingly less money at his disposal than all the other top clubs. But it just seems like deja-vu.
Just competing near the top and hopefully qualifying for the champions league every season appears to be the height of the club’s ambitions, instead of genuinely attempting to actually win something. Actions will always speak louder than words, and when that transfer window shut without a big-game player coming in, the writing was on the wall as far as our ambitions go.
After the United game I started to believe that all my fears were unfounded. That we would be fine. That Eric Dier was coming into the prime age of his career and would develop into the English Roy Keane. That Harry Winks would announce himself as the English Modric. That Erik Lamela might finally become the left-footed match-winner to replace Gareth Bale he was always intended to be… But the Watford game worried me. And the Inter game really worried me.
If I was pressed I would guess that we will finish fourth this season, which will ultimately be seen as successful if we qualify for the champions league. But I can’t help but wonder if yet again we have missed a moment in time, where with a more ambitious, aggressive approach to transfers, we could have achieved something tangible this season. I also worry that in the long run, this lack of genuine ambition might again leave us vulnerable to losing star players, who may feel that in order to win something they need to join one of European football’s ‘true’ elite.’
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