Tottenham are the first team in Premier League history to go two transfer windows without spending a penny on improving their squad. The last time they dipped into the transfer market was back in January 2018, when they snapped up PSG outcast Lucas Moura in a £25 million deal. Their rivals have been busy strengthening in that time and it is remarkable to note how well Spurs have fared despite a lack of investment in the playing staff. Mauricio Pochettino has worked wonders on limited resources, but this squad is now in need of an injection of fresh dynamism.
The 2018/19 campaign ultimately ended in heartbreak for Spurs as they suffered a 2-0 defeat against Liverpool in the Champions League final. Yet they can hold their heads high after vanquishing the mighty Man City in the quarter-finals and producing a superb comeback to topple Ajax in the semis. They secured a fourth consecutive top-four finish and outshone Arsenal yet again, so they deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their endeavors.
But Spurs fans will be left wondering what if. What if they had invested in a better back-up striker, and they had not felt compelled to start a rusty Harry Kane in the final. What if they had improved the midfield after Moussa Dembele’s departure. What if they had spent big to replace Kyle Walker. What if they had spent £200 million last summer, as Liverpool did. They might be champions of Europe right now, and they might have had a better crack at challenging Man City for the title.
It has felt like this Tottenham side have been on the cusp of greatness for years now. Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have been rock-solid, while an attack featuring Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min is outrageously talented, packed full of world-class talent and capable of ripping any team in the world apart. Yet Spurs have no silverware to show for it, and some of their key players are now starting to get itchy feet. Eriksen has said he “might want to try something new” following speculation about his future at the club. Danny Rose said it is “no secret” he may try to leave Spurs this summer.
They can be forgiven for gazing wistfully at Walker’s career trajectory since he forced through a move to Man City. He has won the Premier League twice in two years and his team seized an unprecedented domestic treble this season. He also earns a lot more money than most of the teammates he left behind, Eriksen included. Daniel Levy has a massive job on his hands this summer as he bids to retain Tottenham’s world class core, supplement the squad with some fresh blood and convince prime assets like Kane that their futures lie in north London.
It would be a disaster for someone like Eriksen to leave and it to create a domino effect. Spurs fans should be encouraged to learn that the Danish playmaker is considering a U-turn. Pochettino looks set to stay and that is a serious coup. Alli went off the boil a little towards the end of the season, but he is a sensational player and they club need to keep him, while Kane and Son look set to extend their spells at Tottenham. Alderweireld also appears keen to remain a Spurs player, which is good news.
The best way to persuade everyone to commit their futures to the club is to make a big splash in the transfer market. After a year of inactivity, it is crucial. Kieran Trippier, Victor Wanyama and a few others can leave, and it is time for some fresh dynamism to be injected into this squad. The old adage goes that if you stand still, you go backwards, and that will eventually be the case for Spurs if they do not back Pochettino in the market. They are not among the frontrunners to win the Premier League title next season in the spread betting – an increasingly popular form of wagering that you can easily learn more about – as the bookies are expecting another straight fight between Man City and Liverpool. Spurs need to spend if they are to muscle their way into contention.
They have not tied up any deals yet, but the transfer window does not open until 1st July and the Champions League final will have delayed any forays into the market, so Spurs fans should not be too disheartened. Pochettino has made it clear that he will not remain at the club unless there is a clear plan for progression. “I am not open to start a new chapter with no plan, with no clear idea, with not being transparent,” he said. That sort of talk will force Levy’s hand, as he cannot afford to lose his manager, even at a time when the new stadium has plunged the club deep into debt.
There are some clear areas in which Tottenham need to strengthen. The midfield looked a little lightweight at times this season and a tenacious player to screen the defence would be a welcome addition. New full-backs with bags of pace would be brilliant, as Spurs look short in that department. Another centre-back and a much better back-up centre-forward would also be great. There is also the sense that they could do with a player like Gareth Bale, who can turn a draw into a victory with a burst of pace and a moment of individual brilliance, conjured from nothing.
They have already been linked with Donny van de Beek, Julian Draxler, Edin Dzeko, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Ryan Sessegnon, Nathan Ake, Giovani Lo Celso, Nicolo Zaniolo and more, plus a sensational return for Bale. Most of it is paper talk, but these are absolutely the sort of players Tottenham should be looking at.
The market is ferociously competitive this summer, as teams like Man Utd are desperate to strengthen, so it is time for Levy to transform Tottenham’s reputation by splashing some cash and displaying the sort of ambition that will convince Kane and co that they can seize plenty of silverware at Spurs, without having to seek pastures new.
They can have a successful transfer window, because they have just reached the Champions League final and they have great players. London is a wonderful city and the Premier League is the most exciting competition in the world, so players should be queuing up to join. But the best talent does not come cheap and Spurs will only have a successful transfer window if they loosen the purse strings.