Assessing the transfer window
NB: values are ‘best guesses’ based on reports.
Vlad Chiricheș (£8.5m)
Étienne Capoue (£8.6m)
Nacer Chadli (£7m)
Roberto Soldado (£25.8m)
Erik Lamela (£29.9m – inc £4.2m in bonus payments)
Christian Eriksen (£11.5m)
Shaq Coulthirst, Lawrence Vigouroux, Kenneth McEvoy, Grant Ward.
3rd year scholarships:
Alexander McQueen, Dominic Ball, Laste Dombaxe, Ruben Lameiras, Darren McQueen.
New Academy intake:
Luke Amos, Channing Campbell-Young, Anthony Georgou, Cy Goddard, Shayon Harrison, Joshua Onomah, Joe Pritchard, Lloyd Ross, Harry Voss, Kyle Walker-Peters, Anton Walkes.
Gareth Bale (£86m)
Clint Dempsey (£5.8m)
Steven Caulker (£8.5m)
Tom Huddlestone (£5.5m)
Scott Parker (£3m)
Massimo Luongo (£400k)
Nathan Byrne (free)
Jake Livermore (Hull City), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Queens Park Rangers), Tom Carroll (Queens Park Rangers), Adam Smith (Derby County), Bongani Khumalo (Doncaster Rovers), Grant Hall (Swindon Town), Alex Pritchard (Swindon Town), Ryan Mason (Swindon Town), Tomislav Gomelt (Royal Antwerp), Yago Falque (Rayo Vallecano).
William Gallas, David Bentley, John Bostock, Jack Munns, Jack Barthram, Jake Nicholson, Dean Parrett.
Academy players released:
Tom Gardiner, Mason Bush, William Ekong, Billy Grainger, Sam Smith, Victor Zapata-Caicedo.
Franco Baldini, our recently appointed Technical Director, has illustrated his worth already. It surely cannot be a coincidence that Baldini arrived at the same time as Spurs seemed to develop a coherent transfer strategy. By that I mean that we seem to have identified players for now (i.e. players at an age and level of experience who will fit straight into the first-team squad) and have gone out and got them – David Villa aside. We have acted decisively and as a unit – Villas-Boas knows how he wants to play, and Baldini/Levy have brought in players who will help him achieve this.
There has been much talk on forums, podcasts and on Twitter that Spurs’ window has “proven” once and for all that you don’t need Champions League football to attract the best players; personally I think the opposite. Whilst our dealings have been decisive and largely hassle-free, I think we are still shopping for ‘second-tier’ players – albeit arguably the best second-tier players we could have hoped for. This was best illustrated by Arsenal signing Mesut Özil on deadline day. Arsenal had a poor transfer window in which they mostly failed to address problem areas; however, in Özil they have signed one of the best players in European football. Spurs simply weren’t and aren’t able to compete for this type of player, due to wage demands and due to the players’ desire to play Champions League football. Were we able to, perhaps Bale wouldn’t have left.
Don’t get me wrong, Lamela and Eriksen are good players – and potentially very good players – but it says a lot that we were competing with the likes of Liverpool in trying to sign them – another club likely to be battling for 4th rather than challenging for the title. Likewise Soldado is a good striker – but we have effectively paid £25.8m for a striker who finishes exceptionally well, but who doesn’t tend to involve himself much in general play. For me, a player who costs that much simply has to be more of an all-rounder (but that’s almost by-the-by, and I do rate Soldado and think he’ll score a lot of goals for us).
We’ve done exceptionally well this window to fill nearly all of our problem positions (left-back remains an issue) and to improve both the first eleven and squad, whilst also getting players off the wage bill, but until we have Champions League football and, probably, a large stadium that brings in more match-day revenue (and will allow us, therefore, to offer more in wages), we simply can’t attract the top-tier players.
Our 25-man (which is actually a 24-man squad) squad is likely to be as follows (* = home-grown player):
NB: a home-grown player is defined as follows:
… one who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Welsh Football Association for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).
We do not need to name players who are under 21 on the squad list; for the 2013/14 campaign under 21 players will have been born on or after 1st January 1992. Eriksen, Lamela, Fryers, Kane and Stewart, for example, do not need to be included on the list.