Spurs' Dallying Threatens To Derail Lofty Ambitions

Despite Daniel Levy's talk of greater style and Mauricio Pochettino's designs on the title, Spurs seem to be treading water at best whilst all others improve. It's going to be tough...

Last Updated: 07/08/14 at 12:48 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Patience, Probing, But No Penetration For City...

Post comment

Francesco Totti's subtle finish showed Man City what they were missing on Tuesday as Manuel Pellegrini's side failed to find a winning goal against Roma...

#Usingfootballersnamesineverydaylife

Post comment

We have the last of these as well as mails on Liverpool, Wayne Rooney, QPR, Arsenal's injuries and more. It's a mailbox that's Alonso rather than Rafael, if you will...

All Articles

"Our focus therefore is to continue to invest in and develop the squad [but] we shall not look to a summer of major upheaval, rather to strengthen in key positions - to play the style of football for which we are famous" - Daniel Levy, April 2014.

It's difficult to blame Tottenham's chairman for such an opinion. The hangover from last summer's transfer scattergun party is presumably still causing Daniel Levy to reach for the Paracetamol to staunch a headache caused by a squad bloated with under-performing players about to enter their second season and last chance at White Hart Lane.

Upon his appointment, Mauricio Pochettino spoke of his ambitions whilst at the club. "All managers want the best and want to be the best," Pochettino said. "I knew from the first day I came here that Spurs are a big club. My challenge is to win the Premier League...eventually. This is our goal, to win the title one day." It was said with tongue pressed slightly into cheek, but the remit is evident: Higher than sixth, please.

Furthermore, within Levy's quote lies an additional pressure upon Spurs' third new permanent manager in two years - an expectation to play a brand of football deemed to be pleasing on the eye. This is a side that must improve its league position whilst playing better and more attractive football. It's a tough ask.

The challenges don't end there, either, as Pochettino must also carry out his task amidst a club once again seemingly changing its transfer market policy. Last season seven players joined the club, all foreign, all from abroad and all without any experience of playing in England. In hindsight, it always appeared optimistic to expect Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen all to settle immediately, and so it proved.

This summer, Spurs have looked far closer to home, clearly a deliberate strategy. Michel Vorm and Ben Davies have joined from Swansea, whilst Eric Dier grew up in England and spent time on loan at Everton in 2011. But that's it. Nine days before the season begins and Pochettino has added only one first-choice player (both Dier and Vorm will, for now, be back up). Presumably left-back wasn't the only 'key position' Levy was referring to.

Therein lies one of Spurs' principle issues. Whilst opting to purchase players domestically is perfectly logical, Levy's reputation for driving a hard bargain is far harder to upkeep in the overpriced pool of the Premier League. Offers for Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin (again indicative of Spurs recruiting domestically) were immediately laughed off by Southampton, and chairman Ralph Krueger now appears to be adamant that neither will leave St. Mary's. Liverpool paid big money for Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, but at least they got their deals done efficiently.

Spurs' evident search for a forward has also been entirely fruitless. Imagining dual Premier League and European campaigns with a strikeforce of Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane should make supporters wince but only a seriously injured Rodriguez has been mooted. Romelu Lukaku has joined Everton, Wilfried Bony appears too expensive and Javier Hernandez completely lacking any rumour. It's a very strange state of affairs.

It may sound harsh, but a squad can be fairly easily split into three categories: 1) Struggling for form or fitness, 2) Not good enough for the desired ambition (in Spurs' case, the top four) and 3) Good enough to assist in that aim. That latter group comprises of the players that could expect to move higher up the Premier League if they were sold now, and contains just five names - Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen, Moussa Dembele and Erik Lamela. And I'm being kind to Lamela after last season.

Instead, a group of players leave a squad bloated on quantity rather than quality. Michael Dawson, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul, Nabil Bentaleb, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Kyle Naughton, Harry Kane, Nacer Chadli and Ezekiel Fryers, all names that would leave the Premier League's elite uninterested if they were sold. Many of them wouldn't even trouble the top half.

While Spurs have dallied, each of their top four rivals have resurged, regrouped and reinvested. Manchester City and Chelsea already appeared to belong to a separate echelon to Spurs even before their summer outlays, whilst Manchester United (initially at least) seem renascent and Arsenal have again strengthened impressively. That's ignoring the relatively unknown quality of Liverpool.

Amidst such inadequacies, Levy and Pochettino's references to title bids and footballing aesthetics simply feel like an ambition to run before walking and, with ltitle over a week until their first match, more questions than answers remain.

Chairman and new manager may talk of further improvement in league position and greater style, but right now it feels as if the top four is increasingly becoming more forlorn hope than reasonable expectation.

Daniel Storey - Follow him on Twitter

Thats crazy talk 'Bale doubt', surely by now you must know that any opinion piece that differs from your own opinion is either badly written, biased or lazy journalism. You could go one step further and set up your own blog out of protest. Personally if I wanted to read the same old positive shite about my team I would go to my own teams forums. I like opinions.
- dryice

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

put Ince in my fantasy football team, so it's no surprise at all really. I do that to players. Also responsible for De Jong and Upson being injured. Think I'll transfer in Di Maria just to ruin United....

megabrow (cufc)
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

L

ovren? £20m always seemed a touch on the expensive side, but I wasn't expecting him to be quite such a waste of money

stevenjameshyde
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

H

alf of our players have the physical presence of a 14 year old girl. I don't know why people are always shocked that they're injured.

TheWhiz
Wenger baffled by injuries

Latest Photos

Footer 365

PSG stun Barca, Bayern stay 100%

PSG edged to an entertaining 3-2 Champions League win over Barcelona, while Bayern Munich beat CSKA Moscow and BATE stunned Athletic Bilbao.

Champions League: Manchester City held to home draw by Roma

Manchester City endured yet another night of Champions League frustration as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Roma.

Champions League: Nemanja Matic earns three points for Chelsea against Sporting Lisbon in Group G

Nemanja Matic's header earned Chelsea three away points against Sporting Lisbon in UEFA Champions League Group G.

Mail Box

#Usingfootballersnamesineverydaylife

We have the last of these as well as mails on Liverpool, Wayne Rooney, QPR, Arsenal's injuries and more. It's a mailbox that's Alonso rather than Rafael, if you will...

How Much In 'Pounds Raheem Sterling'?

A whole lot of you use footballers' names in everyday life. And you hate yourselves for it. As you should. We also have mails on Newcastle, Rooney and more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property