At the end of last season, our manager made some telling remarks about "being brave" this summer. With only a few days remaining in the transfer window, will our bravery ever show?
As I sit at my desk and look out over the Kent countryside I find myself, angry, tetchy and frustrated. There are a number of reasons that could be the cause of this, it may be my self-imposed two month alcohol ban, maybe it’s because my mum and her delinquent dog are here to stay for a week or it may even be the lack of rain and incessant cooking of my bodily organs by London Underground. I know the real reason and that my friend is due entirely to Tottenham Hotspur. I am all of the emotions listed above basically because I am torn and I just don’t really know how to feel about our summer and what has basically been one huge non-event. So let’s go back to the beginning and see if we can unravel this typically “Spursy” summer.
It started with a final trip to Wembley in which, for once (even if it was the hard way) we got the job done against Leicester. I left the ground that day with an alcohol induced haze and skint due to the Wembley wallet vortex, but with the words of Pochettino ringing in my ears – “We must be brave” he said “We must take risks” he said “We need to do our business before the World Cup” he said. This all made me very relaxed about the summer. Move the deadwood on early doors and maybe get a couple in pre World Cup. I was confident we would replace Toby, Moussa and also add something extra and different to our squad. The weeks passed by, England this and England that sprinkled with the odd Spurs transfer story, nothing all that exciting . We were linked with a second choice midfielder in Barios and an interesting and exciting link to De Ligt although nothing concrete was happening. The market was slow – very slow with people unavailable due to the World Cup and with their focus elsewhere. The gooners were doing a bit, but nothing of any note except a geriatric right back and a chap whose name no one can pronounce, let alone spell. The market did heat up a little just before the WC and some of the transfers left me looking with envy at some of our rivals – Fulham picking up Seri who on the face of it is an accomplished midfielder with huge potential, The pikey boys picking up Felipe Anderson who despite injuries last year whenever he played looked a class act and I won’t mention the bin dippers whose transfer activity has been swift, effective, and in today’s market, good value. I was beginning to get nervous, but my trust in Poch, Levy and the board still unwavering, we would get the right deals through the door.
The World Cup came and went. No signings and due to England stumbling their way to a Semi-Final we now have 9 players not due back at the club until 6 days before we kick off away to Newcastle. This is where the conflict started. My trust was reducing and with £1200 having recently excited my bank account for a season ticket, it was taking all my resolve not to take to Twitter in a Spurs-based Levy-out, you don’t know what you’re doing, knee-jerk reaction. I continued to maintain faith.
So what was happening? Well we have been linked with Grealish continuously. I have no doubt that he has potential and in time could provide something different and/or cover to Eriksen, but it just doesn’t excite me. We had the chance when Villa were poor to put a reasonable bid in and get him for reasonable money (I should know how Mr Levy works by now), but we didn’t and now they have found a fiver down the sofa will be held to ransom for a huge fee. Zaha has been on and off apparently, but I feel, although he is the best player outside the top 6, we have a similar player in Moura who will be like a new signing (I am annoyed at myself for using the cliché) and Palace will want the kitchen sink thrown into what would be a huge deal. The priorities to me are Central Midfielder and a Central Defender to replace the most likely outgoing Toby. I want to make one thing very clear – you CANNOT replace Moussa Dembele, he is a one of a kind player in this generation what he brings to the team is the balance, the whole team’s pace of play is dictated from him and the ability to carry the ball 30 yards and move the whole team up the pitch. There is no like-for-like replacement, but there are alternatives; N’Dombele, Ruben Neves and the aforementioned Jean Seri with at least 1 of the 3 clearly available for the right price. All young, all with sell on value and would all improve our first eleven in my humble opinion. The second priority should be centre half, with the presumption we will continue with a 4 then Davinson and Jan are the starters, so the new acquisition would have to settle for a bit part. There are plenty of central defenders, Lacelles has impressed greatly and De Ligt looks the real deal and would both be happy to play bit parts for the first season, you would have thought, as they develop. These thoughts and prospective transfers are all hypothetical and in fact are absolutely a waste of ink and I shall tell you why. Daniel Levy has made himself into a caricature of his himself – he enjoys being known as a tough negotiator and whilst this has served us well in the past it is now hindering our transfer dealings. The Premiership is awash with money and there are many clubs keen to part with their recently found riches. Clubs are now paying above the going rate because they NEED a certain type of player. We have been left behind as we still refuse to do this. The market is not a negotiators market – it is ‘get in, pay it and get out as soon as possible’ and the times we have displayed this; Luka Modric, Dele Alli, Gareth Bale and Christian Eriksen all spring to mind. I trust in Pochettino and I trust the project, but now is the time – “To Dare is to Do” .
I was hoping Levy had learnt from past mistakes of the 2010 season when we had a shot at the league, but rather than be brave we went with Saha and Nelson. 8 years have passed since then and we are now in a position where we are at a tipping point. Do we buy 1 or 2 outstanding, world class and no doubt expensive players to take us to turn 1 point against Liverpool into 3? Or do we hang around the reduced aisle waiting for some breaded-ham to be reduced to 48p and then scrape top 4 or worse top 6. It’s time to take that risk, although I fear the moment may have already passed.
It’s Monday 6th August 2018 and there are now 3.5 days remaining of our transfer window. We are heading into a season with 9 players who will suffer fatigue and struggle for fitness due to World Cup exploits. I want my trust to be rewarded. Over to you Mr Levy.