Spurs have undoubtedly come a long way since the “selling” days of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. Since the sale of Bale in 2013, the Lilywhites have spent over £250 million and their league position has consequently improved.
In the immediate aftermath of Bale’s departure, Spurs signed seven players, of whom only Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela remain at the club. Since then, arrivals at White Hart Lane have been calculated and largely cheap transfers, typical of manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Dele Alli and Eric Dier have become undroppable for both Spurs and England over the course of the last two seasons. Only £9 million was spent to acquire both players.
But despite finishing above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years, fans were left disappointed at missing out on the league title again and embarrassed at their group stage exit of the Champions League.
After finishing second last season, with a points haul that would have won the league by five points in 2015/16, fans are expecting to strengthen in areas of weakness, to go that extra step and become league champions.
Yet no signings have been made thus far. Only Ross Barkley has been rumoured to be on Daniel Levy’s radar, yet plays in a position currently occupied by Dele Alli, while Christian Eriksen can also fill in.
Defender Kevin Wimmer has been linked with a departure, with Spurs looking to replace him with an Englishman in either Swansea’s Alfie Mawson or Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson.
Spurs conceded just 26 league goals last season, the best defence in the Premier League. Barkley would not be an improvement on Alli or Eriksen. It’s somewhat unclear why Spurs are working on areas they are already exceptionally strong in.
Over the last 10 years or so, teams who have gone far in the Champions League have been in one of two situations. Either their league has been easy enough to rest players, or their squads have been large and good enough to justify rotation.
Spurs fit into the second bracket. There are no easy fixtures in the Premier League calendar anymore and this lack of depth is what concerns many fans.
Hugo Lloris is amongst the world’s best, while Michel Vorm is a quality back up.
Spurs have two quality left and right backs, in Danny Rose, Ben Davies, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier. In the middle, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer occupy the spots, while Davies and Eric Dier can both fill in, particularly when they place with three at the back.
Victor Wanyama and Moussa Dembele were a force last season, screening the defence. In this position, Spurs have back up in Moussa Sissoko, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and the young Harry Winks and Josh Onomah, the latter performing brilliantly at the under 20 world cup for England.
Wide Midfield has been occupied by Eriksen, Lamela and Heung Min Son, but with Lamela’s injury record, this is an area Spurs should look to strengthen. In the centre of the attacking midfield, Alli and Eriksen make up the numbers.
Harry Kane has been brilliant for Spurs over the last three years, but they still haven’t found a convincing back up striker to play in his absence. Vincent Jansson was signed last summer but failed to convince, his strike rate a poor reflection of his probing work rate.
The only areas arguably needing imminent improval are in the wide midfield and up front. A striker capable of starting in the Champions League is imperative, and a new tricky wide-man to trouble continental defences.
Even then, when Kane was out injured last term, Son and Alli carried the torch, so Spurs are well set already.
Why fans don’t need to worry:
Ross Barkley will not improve the squad. Pochettino has shown in his time in England that he has excellent judgment when it comes to transfers and will undoubtedly spend some money before the window shuts.
If Kyle Walker departs as rumours suggest, Trippier has shown he will step up. Most likely a young replacement will be signed as cover.
The squad Spurs currently have is arguably the most naturally complete and balanced in the Premier League – they will certainly be challenging towards the top of the table again this season.
Written by Sam Hanys.