When they are in full flow, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in Europe. As evidenced by their recent demolition of Chelsea, Spurs are one of the best passing teams in the Premier League and also know how to put the ball in the back of the net. With a number of standout players including Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min catching the eye so far this campaign, many have predicted that Spurs could be challenging Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title come to the end of the season. So, can Spurs capitalise on all of the hard work done by their manager and finally land a trophy? Or is there something below the surface still holding Pochettino’s men back?
Is Spurs’ Starting Eleven Simply Too Good?
In terms of transfers, the situation over at Tottenham has to be one of the strangest and most intriguing in recent memory. The starting eleven that the North London team can boast is undoubtedly one of the strongest in world football and ironically, this also appears to be part of the problem. When delving into the transfer market, Spurs are often in for players who are likely to play second fiddle to someone who is already well established in their respective position.
Of course, there are notable exceptions to this – both Son Heung-min and Kieran Trippier were arguably bought as backup players but have since forced themselves into the Spurs starting line-up over the last 18 months or so with a string of exceptional performances. With that being said, however, it still took Kyle Walker’s departure for Trippier to hold down a starting berth and Son’s rise has coincided with the long-term injury of Erik Lamela.
Despite the fact that Tottenham still seen as one of the biggest draws in European football, the very best players are simply not content with moving to a club to sit on the bench. Gone are the days of fighting for your place – top players are now bought for the present as opposed to the future and are expecting to play as soon as they arrive at their next destination. It is for this reason that Spurs have failed in their pursuit to find an adequate back-up striker to Harry Kane. Vincent Janssen and a past-his-best Fernando Llorente are the most recent flops in this area but with arguably the best striker in world football in Kane, Spurs will always struggle to attract top forwards who know they may have to wait a number of months for their chance to shine.
Are Spurs Simply Too Reluctant To Spend?
When you consider the amount of money that has been spent by Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea in recent years, it’s quite clear that this is now a necessity in order to be successful in the Premier League. Of course, naysayers will be quick to point out Leicester City’s exploits of a few seasons ago but in the main, spending money in the transfer market is vital in order to stay competitive. Even Spurs’ North London rivals Arsenal have slowly started to release the moths from their wallet after years of transfer tightness and Spurs surely have to do the same if they are to win something.
In terms of teams that Spurs can learn from, Manchester City and more specifically Pep Guardiola have to be the benchmark when it comes to transfer policy and the signing of new players. One of the main reasons why Roberto Mancini and to an extent Manuel Pellegrini failed to build on their Premier League winning seasons was a reluctance to improve on a title-winning squad. Pep, on the other hand, has no problem in bringing in world-class players to bolster the squad and has a knack of being able to rotate the squad whilst keeping everyone happy.
Players such as Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane often find themselves sitting on the bench when they would arguably get into most starting line-ups around Europe. However, having a wealth of world-class players to choose from has been key to Guardiola and what he’s built at Manchester City so far. In order to replicate this kind of success, Pochettino may have to convince Daniel Levy to open his chequebook and spend big in order to both increase competition for places and the chances of silverware in the future.
Who Are Spurs Currently Linked With and Will They Finally Spend?
The transfer market rumour mill is constantly awash with speculation and so it’s often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. However, it does appear that Mousa Dembele looks set to leave this Summer and as a result, Spurs will need to look at bringing in a combative, box-to-box midfielder to their ranks. During the Summer, Spurs were close to landing Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish in a £25 million move but with the 23-year-old signing a new five-year deal back in September, this now appears to be dead in the water.
Another player potentially on Spurs radar is Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele, who has impressed in both Champions League outings against Manchester City this year. Lyon are huge outsiders to land the Champions League trophy this season with most online bookmakers.
Depending on how you view the midfield situation at Spurs, you could argue that they already have two ready-made replacements for Dembele in Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko. The former has impressed over the past couple of seasons and Sissoko has effectively revived his Tottenham career in recent months and could also be the answer to Pochettino’s problems. For Spurs to signal some real intent, however, they must surely be looking at signing a top class midfielder to replace Dembele and it will be interesting to see how this situation plays out.
Things Will Have To Change At Spurs Sooner Or Later
There’s no questioning the job that Mauricio Pochettino has done at Spurs but when all is said and done, Spurs haven’t won a trophy since they landed the League Cup back in 2008. Whether Pochettino needs to be more demanding or Daniel Levy a little more frivolous, something certainly needs to change at Spurs in order to get them back amongst the winners. If the 2018/2019 season turns around to be yet another baron season for Tottenham then serious questions must be asked of the hierarchy and transfer policy.