July 28, 2017

Being Left Behind

One of the comments being directed at signing-less Spurs this transfer window is that we are ‘being left behind’.

In this unusual transfer window, where prices have rocketed similarly to how they suddenly leapt up around 2006/2007, Spurs are the last Premier League club to make a signing. There are two key points to make on this, surrounding:

1. The pool of players.
2. Value for money.

The Pool of Players

The pool of suitable players available to Spurs is smaller than that available to other clubs due to a number of factors. The first factor is that we have one of the best teams (if not the best team) in the Premier League, and so improving on that is naturally more difficult for us than, say, for Everton, who last season had a demonstrably worse team.

Secondly, due to our wage structure — which has been necessary for a number of reasons, including limited match-day revenue — we are unable to offer the wages that some of our rivals offer. We can counter this to some extent with large ‘signing-on’ fees, and also apparently offer an attractive bonus structure, rewarding players for successes. We also regularly refresh contracts, meaning that players have a constant sense of financial progression; a smart move. But there is little doubt that our wage packages are less attractive than those at other clubs.

So with a smaller pool of players that would improve us available, and being unable to attract many of those players due to our wage structure falling below that of their current clubs/rival clubs, we are left trying to find value elsewhere.

Value For Money

Daniel Levy has described transfer prices as ‘unsustainable’ and, in some cases, he is right. There are clubs who simply cannot continue spending these sums as their revenue won’t sustain the level of spending. But Daniel Storey makes the point well in his article for Football 365 that Manchester City, for example, ‘have unprecedented resources; why wouldn’t the transfer fees be unprecedented too?’. For some clubs this will simply be the new norm.

Levy will undoubtedly have been frustrated by the £30m which was (in)effectively thrown away on Moussa Sissoko, and asking him to part with the same or a bigger fee will now be a more difficult task; he will need assurances that we are getting better value for the prices stated. One would have to imagine that Sissoko in this window would likely cost another £5m minimum.

My gut feel is that we ought to resort to the transfer strategy of a few years ago, focusing primarily on strategically identifying young prospects who have not quite ‘broken out’, signing them early and loaning them back to their clubs to foster their potential. Ryan Sessegnon would have been (and would still be) an ideal signing at this level, but there are other budding young talents in the football league too: Ronaldo Vieira at Leeds, Ben Brereton and Joe Worrall at Nottingham Forest, Ezri Konsa at Charlton to name a few.

In my opinion we do need to sign a right-back to replace Kyle Walker (because I don’t think Kieran Trippier is stylistically the right fit), and we could also do with a Christian Eriksen rotation, but otherwise we are pretty well set and don’t need to worry too much about keeping up with the Joneses.

There are no issues with our 25-man squad list either. Despite the fact that we have lost a number of ‘homegrown’ players in the last twelve months — Walker, of course, but also Tom Carroll, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb — we only actually have 18 players to list, four of whom qualify as homegrown (Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier). We could feasibly sign another three non-homegrown players and still be able to name them all in the squad list.

Far from being left behind, last season we were the team leaving others behind, and there is no reason why our squad cannot continue its upward trajectory, boosted by another year of experience, a few more Academy players looking ready to step up, and the return from injury of Erik Lamela and (hopefully) Danny Rose.

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  • R says:

    Although Spurs do have a good first 11, the squad is seriously not that strong.
    Other temas are improving first 11 & squad, where as Spurs are not improving the squad, as we need adequate quality rotation players.
    We are being left behind..!

    • Kiedis says:

      This “good first 11, bad squad” myth needs to die. We dealt with injuries to Lloris, Kane, Dembele Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Davies and Lamela last season.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      Think we have some good squad options – particularly in Trippier (assuming we sign a RB), Davies, Winks, Lamela, Wimmer – but that we need to find a rotation option for Eriksen.

      • Cyril says:

        Could Harry Winks be the Eriksen rotation option, or does he play better further back? What about Lamela, assuming he gets fit again?

  • Danny Boy says:

    Good article and pretty accurate in my view. I would suggest another experienced centre back is also required , assuming Kevin Wimmer is sold.

    Is Poch going to use Sissoko in that right wing back role on occasion?? Alternating him and Trippier depending upon the opposition? I’m not saying he should, but wonder is that the position for him. DB

    • WindyCOYS says:

      I would be sad to see Wimmer go in many ways as I think he has broadly done well when called upon.

      Not sure about Sissoko’s ability to play that role, but there’s no doubt he’s good at carrying the ball at pace.

  • Paul Davis says:

    The problem Spurs is, is that there first eleven are first class. To be able to improve that is not an easy task.like levy said unless the player is going to improve the squad we will look from within. The secret in our success is that we’ve got a great first eleven. The squad needs improvement but we’re in a good position. We’re not unsettled, we have a team that has jelled together over the last few years. Let’s see before we all start getting carried away. Coys

  • Mattspurs says:

    The constant moaning of Spurs fans about transfer windows under Poch is getting tiresome. Last summer we heard the same stuff – no big signings so we’d be lucky to finish 5th, we ended up 2nd. I’ve been banned by the Wingeing Windbag Hotspurs blog for constantly debunking his prophecies of doom.
    I think what is key now compared to a few seasons ago is that whoever we sign they aren’t under pressure to step in and perform immediately – they need to work their way into the first team. Look at Janssen and Nkoudou, they barely played last season but I think they’ll be better for the experience as they now know the level at which they are expected to perform if they are to get anywhere near the first team. Winks seems to have listened and learnt what’s required – Onomah knows that he needs to make the most of his next opportunity. Davies, Trippier, Son and Wanyama were squad players this time last year but became first eleven regulars by the end of the season. People forget how crucial Lamela had become to our team. I really believe that it’s about Poch coaching players better, players who put football before money.

  • abe says:

    Let’s face it. We are the second tier of the world elite. We sit with the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and others. Yeah the likes of Everton might be spending big this year – but as the club has stated – we have a different philosophy. Overall I like that. It would be great to have a really top class player (like an Eden Hazard) but otherwise I think our approach is good. I am hoping that the existing bunch can improve a bit, but more importantly others (like Janssen, Sissoko and Nkodu) step up. We saw what happened with Son and Lamela when they raised their game

  • James says:

    The first 11 is strong but the bench is week …needs strenghening.kane needs quality cover and walker needs replacing.we also need an out an out winger and another attacking midfielder.janssen sissoko lamela wimmer to go onimah loan.team needs freshening up.dont ever forget son playing full back against chelsea . .no investment in squad will only suit daniel levy.

    • mattspurs says:

      Why we we sell Lamela? He’s had an injury he’s not dead – Roy Keane missed more games in a season than Lamela and the next season led United to the treble.
      Janssen is still young – as Conte said this week Kane is probably the best CF in the world right now and Janssen has a massive task trying to fill in for him.
      Wimmer is needed as the back up to Jan.
      Onomah can get games at Spurs – this is the season he needs to play 20 games and needs to start some games.
      New players will limit the chances of Onomah, KWP and Winks who are all at the perfect age to break the first team

  • Lloyd says:

    if this were our squad of 25 we intend on using on Sep 1, i’d be more than happy.

    Lloris, Vorm
    Trippier, new RB
    Alderweireld, new CB
    Vertonghen, Wimmer
    Rose, Davies
    Wanyama, Dier
    Dembele, Winks
    new RW, Lamela
    Eriksen, Dele
    Son, N’Koudou
    Kane, Janssen

    with Walker-Peters, Carter-Vickers and Onomah to round out the 25.

    Sissoko never fit our system in the first place and understandably wants to leave. that’s fine with me. we should get around £20m for him.

    plus we have the £60m from Walker, Fazio and N’Jie (and maybe the £20m from Bentaleb and Carroll as well.

    that would give us £100m for three players. i’d happily spend £40m on Mahrez – he was great in 2015/16 and would only get better playing with better players, leaving us a massive amount of money for a CB and RB.

    i shouldn’t think it’ll be too tough to attract the defenders we need. we may not pay as much as some but we don’t pay peanuts.

    my real concern is that Poch really thinks that KWP, CCV and Onomah are good enough to be relied upon, and I just haven’t seen that yet. i think CCV is around two seasons from being ready (2019/20) whereas Onomah and KWP should be ready by (2018/19).

    • WindyCOYS says:

      You could have Erisken at RW too as he played a lot there last season, but I agree and this is great.

      • Lloyd says:

        yeah i know, but the fabled 343 last year was in many ways a 3421 for us, with Eriksen and Dele floating behind Kane.

        as you might have noticed, my ’22’ was based on a 4231 system, which obviously still has its uses.

        tbh, i’d also be happy if we only had 5 AMs to play behind Kane/Janssen (Eriksen, Dele, Son, N’Koudou, Mahrez).

        i realise Lamela has his uses, but considering he makes Anderton look durable, i’d happily let him go too. and with Edwards being Edwards, it might also be best if we want to keep him around.

  • Pete says:

    Windy – I agree with a lot of this

    Although Barkley would be a welcome addition, he is not worth £50m especially with a year remaining on his contract.

    I also agree with you on RB. I do think Trippier is the replacement for Walker, though the way in which our system works, a lot of miles are covered by our fullbacks, we need strength in this area.

    That said, we have to be wise. I would rather have Walker-Peters as that back up than a £10-20m foreign kid with no experience that would be in a similar mould to N’Jie.

    I am also keen on using some of our kids more. I think Onomah had a great tournament this summer in a deeper midfield role, I’d like to actually see him play there for us. Winks is great to have back and I hope Nkoudou can have more of an impact. CCV is also young – perhaps a loan move would be good for him.

    It’s a bit of a tricky one. I’d like to ask your opinion. The five I have mentioned (Onomah, Winks, KWP, CCV and Nkoudou) – Do you think we should be looking for targets in the positions they play in? Do you think they can step up to the mark this season for us? (perhaps Winks has proven he can already)

  • Namingrights says:

    I have learned never to judge a transfer window until it is closed. Van dear Vaart for example.

  • Brian says:

    Thank you for a sensible article.

    Being 3rd and 2nd in the PL were great achievements. To come first and compete in the cup competitions, I think we need to strengthen a little.

    You mention buying in young talent and loaning out, and that is a possibility for strengthening the squad in future years but it will not strengthen now. In addition, we already have a pool of young talent, so I am not sure we need to buy in more.

    To buy we must sell and so-called replacements may not be exactly that – they may be in different positions. Sissoko and Lamela need to go. I noticed last season (as did others I guess) that if either Toby or Jan were missing, the substitute partnership was just not of the same quality. I also felt we were far less effective if Eriksen was missing. Pretty obvious stuff – but not so obvious in regard to who to bring in.

    If we are happy to be in the top four I believe we need do nothing. If we want to win the PL in the short term I think we have to do something.

    If we want to win the PL in the long term (5-10 years) the new stadium and other financial deals will enable the club to attract some players that it may not have managed to attract so far.

    • mattspurs says:

      Eriksen played 50 games – not sure he really missed any games. (though if he got injured he’d be hard to replace)

      Of the centre backs it was probably Jan we missed more as Dier covered better at RCB than Wimmer at LCB (against Liverpool Dier played at LCB and was hopeless)

      Not sure why Lamela needs to go – the season before last his set pieces were better than Eriksen’s

  • James says:

    The plain fact is without a stronger bench we will struggle again.pochettino and the team need to start winning trophies to ensure top players stay.we fell short for last two seasons and europe was a disaster.sensible investmemt needed in team now and no more panic buys on last day of window.

    • mattspurs says:

      Struggle again? Best league finish for 50 years? First time we’ve qualified for CL two seasons in a row. Youngest squad in the PL – Players improving and gaining experience.

      Struggling is finishing 5th/6th

  • David says:

    Agree with most of the replys but we will only buy squad improovers not first eleven improovers. Of our probable starting eleven probably only Trippier would be the only player we could afford to improove on the rest are nailed on starters and this may be an insult to Tripps.

    • mattspurs says:

      My worry is that if we buy another right back then KWP won’t play a single game – he’s 20 and needs to start playing

  • james says:

    You missed the point mattspurs struggle meaning winning trophies and improving quality on bench.lack of depth was clearly evident against chelsea when it mattered and in europe we were just not good enough.the first eleven is excellent but a strong bench is essential to win leagues and trophies.our academy players and promising but not ready for the premier league this season and sound investment in squad is essential now if we want to take the next step up.

    • mattspurs says:

      Against Chelsea I think Poch got it wrong tactically. Son was picked in an attempt to pin back Moses and offer a speedy option on the counter. Davies wasn’t fit nor was Rose. Other options would have been to play Jan at LB or perhaps Walker. If you’re blaming lack of squad depth for a lack of options for a third choice left back.
      Europe again I think we just got tactics wrong again and were just a bit naive – Monaco were thought to be an easy opponent but proved with a semi final run that they were pretty decent. Gent we went down to 10 men and were unlucky to not win.

      In terms of the academy players I’m more than happy to let Poch decide. KWP and Onomah are both 20, Winks is 21. Kane, Alli and Dier all made debuts at the same age or younger. Eriksen was 21 when he joined us.

      The thing is Kane, Alli and Dier all benefited from being chucked in the deep end and are now regarded as amongst the best players in the league.

      I have no doubt Nkoudou and Janssen will be better this season.

      Barkley could come to us and I have no doubt he’s improve and could become a beast.

  • Brian says:

    For those of you who like comparisons, I offer the following. I will only comment that the figures of course relate to the role the player is expected to perform. Other than that I leave it to you (if you are interested).

    Premier League figures per 90 minutes for 2016-17 unless otherwise stated

    Dembele
    Goals 0.04
    Chances created 1.09
    Pass completion 92%
    Total forward passes 37

    Eriksen
    Goals 0.23
    Chances created 3.16
    Pass completion 80%
    Total forward passes 31

    Lamela (2015-16)
    Goals 0.15
    Chances created 2.72
    Pass completion 80%
    Total forward passes 24

    Barkley (Everton)
    Goals 0.16
    Chances created 2.54
    Pass completion 83%
    Total forward passes 26

    Iheanacho (Manchester City)
    Goals 0.64
    Chances created 2.08
    Pass completion 76%
    Total forward passes 14

  • james says:

    How anyone can think our bench is adequate is just plain wrong.Granted winks took his chance when selected. Ali and Eriksen are not academy players. onomah and kyle walker peters need loan spells like kane to get regular first team experience.we have been improving each year for last two years. winning a trophy must be the target this season and more quality is definately needed.janssen still fails to convince and just hoping he comes good is wishful thinking.King of bournemouth would be a big improvement with guaranteed goals.the game against chelsea at wembley was not just tactics . the bench was threadbare compared to chelsea and we are going to sustain injuries more than likely due to number of games this season.competition for trippier needed, sell wimmer and replace with versatile central defender , quality winger( names please) , with nkoudou other option for wembley pitch, barkley and king …that represents a good transfer window and freshens up the squad.

    • mattspurs says:

      OK if our first 11 is:

      Hugo,
      Rose, Jan, Toby, Dier, Trippier
      Wanyama, Dembele
      Dele, Eriksen
      Kane

      that leaves a bench of
      Vorm
      Davies
      Janssen
      Lamela
      Son
      Winks
      Wimmer

      of than bench only 3 can even come on and play

      That then leaves
      Sissoko, Onomah, KWP, CCV, Nkoudou not even on the bench

    • mattspurs says:

      I’m not sure how you can be so certain that Janssen will not succeed? he’s scored goals before, knows the Spurs set up etc.

      I’m also not sure how you can be so certain that King would be a success? King is after all a player dumped out of the Man United academy for not being good enough having spent 4 seasons out on loan.

      Why didn’t Soldado succeed after having such a great track record? He was guaranteed goal wasn’t he?

      If you’d told me in the summer of 2104 that Harry Kane would be our main striker that season I’d have thought relegation was on the cards.

      Have a bit of faith

      • BERNARD says:

        exactly right i never thought Kane would ever turn out the way he did 1st showing i though never make it but what a turn round there is hope for Janssen yet

  • George Hopkins says:

    Many great comments but of all the players in the market how many put team before themselves? We have a great TEAM at present any new talent whether from the academy or beyond must want to be a part of that team philosophy or they will fail.

  • james says:

    Did poch really sanction sissoko buy or was this a levy last day panic buy. comments please.

  • james says:

    Improvement is essential for this very talented tottenham squad not only to win trophies but to retain key players.Anything less will be seen as conte said lacking ambition. This window is absolutely critical and quality signings are needed especially more pace for the wembley pitch.We have great visionary manager and need to start winning silverware to compliment him and the team.The squad needs improving especially the bench and i hope we do not fail to invest on what we have.

  • james says:

    mattspurs bench of
    Vorm
    Davies
    Janssen
    Lamela
    Son
    Winks
    Wimmer

    Apart from son and winks and a second goalkeeper is anyone else excited by the others ..no mention of possibility of injuries to key players i notice and how then would the bench look.

    Levy would like more people like you …so therefore no need to spend just carry on as we are…unbelievable.

    • mattspurs says:

      We need players who are dependable, know the system and who can help us win games. Davies was our left back for the longest sequence of wins a Spurs side has ever had – like ever!

      We’ve had our best league finishes ever in the 25 years of the PL.

      Can you remind me what happened when we spent big on a player last summer?

      “people like me”? What a person who buys a season ticket for 15 years, remembers how bad we were, got super excited about players we signed who ended up being useless? Who remembers our best players leaving and the negative impact it has (you’ll maybe have noticed that we haven’t sold a key player under Poch). A person who saw Kane on debut and concluded that he’d never deliver, who thought Rose was awful and should be sold, I think even Dembele wouldn’t have been a big loss at one point?

      If carrying on as we are means Poch working the same magic on Janssen, Nkoudou, KWP, Winks and Onomah that he managed on Kane, Alli, Dier, Rose and Walker then yep, I’m in. I’m in for a season ticket, all our cup games and even a few away games. hell, I quite like the new blue away top so may get one of those too.

  • james says:

    i think mattspurs sums up precisely your heading…being left behind

  • Ian says:

    I agree with the guy who says that our squad isn’t as weak as suggested. I have no problems with is continuing down the route Levy and Poch Have started on with developing our own talent from within. We have a number of potentially excellent first teamers coming through and the last thing we need is to sign someone who blocks their path. Good article although calling Walker, Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier “homegrown” shows a real lack of knowledge about the background of our team.

    • Brian says:

      > … calling Walker, Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier “homegrown” shows a real lack of knowledge about the background of our team.

      Are you using the term ‘homegrown’ to mean something different from the official definition?

    • mattspurs says:

      Homegrown means ‘English’ in terms of PL rules – players that have played in the English League for a period before they turn 21. Any PL squad can only have 25 players over 21 with a maximum of 18 being not homegrown.

      for example:
      Eric Dier is not homegrown because he played in Portugal

      Siggurdson is homegrown because he played in England

  • Fanny Batter says:

    You just like watching boys running around in tight shorts

  • peter says:

    Really! what is wrong with these so called supporters / Levy haters?

    They obviously know nothing regarding the finances of running a football club properly (I very much agree with DLs recent comments that this summers spending is totally unsustainable for some clubs)

    Why do we have to spend money on over priced average players who are simply not as good as the ones we have

    A recent report said we have 2 out the 4 highest value players in the world. We have managed to hold onto those players, not bad for a club run in the way ours is (and totally different to how the club has operated in the past)….and still supporters are moaning!!

  • Thanks for compiling such nicest information in your blogs. Articles are very informative and hope again I’ll find more like that.
    Stardew Valley Abigail

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