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When Tottenham Hotspur finished second in the Premier League last season, it was heralded as the dawn of a new era in North London, an emerging out of shadows for a club who had been the underdog for so many years.
The curse of St. Totteringham’s Day was broken as the Lilywhites finished above their fiercest rivals Arsenal for the first time in 22 years, as the Gunners ended the season placed 5th, with no UEFA Champions League football at the Emirates for the coming season.
The progress on the field was being matched with equally huge strides off the pitch as well, as Tottenham began construction of a new state of the art stadium, that is set to be the biggest club stadium in London. The new home for Spurs will be able to seat over 61,000 fans and will have many other special features, like the biggest single-tier stand in the country and an experience centre, all of which is going to make it one of the most attractive venues all over Europe.
The whole construction is set to cost the club in the region of £800million and is expected to be ready by the time we gear up for the 2018-19 campaign. But, as is the norm with stadium constructions, it is going to have an effect on the club’s spending power in the transfer market.
This is a path too well-known for their rivals Arsenal. A little over a decade ago, Arsene Wenger and the Gunners embarked on a similar journey, moving from the Highbury to the newly constructed Emirates Stadium, at a cost of close to £400million. Big things were expected from the club post the move. The new stadium and the project in place was meant to attract the best of the players to the Emirates but sadly, that is not how things panned out for Arsenal.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 4, 2017
Around the time of the move, they lost some of their best players in the form of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Ashley Cole but Wenger did not dip into the market to replace the stars with players of equal calibre. Instead, he ended up bringing in players who were nowhere near the level of replacing the quality that had deserted them. This went on for a number of years and has been cited as one of the major reasons for the club being unable to win a single Premier League title in over 12 years now.
Tottenham fans though, were hopeful that their club wouldn’t go through a similar situation despite their big money move to the new stadium. They had all the reasons to be positive, considering that the club had tied down almost all of their first-team members to new and improved long-term contracts coming into the summer. The likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose have all signed new deals with the club ensuring that things wouldn’t go awry in the foreseeable future.
Yet, all the solid foundation that was laid down by chairman Daniel Levy could be undone if they fail to build on their on-field success in the coming season and get their hands on a trophy.
Tottenham are the only Premier League club to have not signed a new player in the summer, till date. Despite having sold one of the key first-team players in Kyle Walker to fellow challengers Manchester City, they haven’t been able to close down any deals, in spite of being linked with a number of players. This could harm them in the coming season.
Yes, they have one of the most well-oiled playing XI in the entirety of England, that can beat any opposition on the given day. But, trophies are won with a strong squad and not just one strong first-team. This is a major area that they had been found wanting over the last couple of years and with no investment in the summer yet, they could be set to go down a similar road once again.
If you see the most dominant sides in England in the past 20 years or so, Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, Wenger’s Arsenal in the beginning of the millennium, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side during his first stint, all the teams had one major thing in common – strength and depth of quality. All those teams had at least one player who could easily replace any player in the manager’s first choice XI on any given day. But, the same cannot be said about Tottenham.
That level of depth not only keeps the main players on their toes and keeps them spurring on to do better, but also allows the manager to rotate his team in a long and arduous season. It helps in the situations of injuries which are bound to happen in the game.
While Levy has stated that the inactivity in the transfer market isn’t related to the club’s investment into the expenses for the construction of the new stadium, it cannot be ruled out completely that Spurs are feeling the pinch of their off the pitch expenditures and maybe it is holding them back from dipping their toes into the market. Perhaps, it could also be said that they are being extra cautious given their failure last summer?
Whatever the reason might be, Tottenham need to go about their business quickly in order to continue their rise on the field. Without trophies to show for, they face the danger of losing their best players, with no shortage of suitors for the likes of Kane, Alli etc. Last season was their best league finish since way back in 1963 and for them to build upon it, Tottenham need to invest in new players. If not, they could well end up treading the same path that their arch-rivals Arsenal did, post their move to the Emirates.