A review of Spurs’ summer spending, plus possible starting XI.
IN: Paulinho (£17m, Corinthians), Nacer Chadli (£7m, FC Twente), Roberto Soldado (£26m, Valencia), Etienne Capoue (£9.4m, Toulouse), Vlad Chiriches (£8m, Steaua Bucharest), Erik Lamela (£30m, Roma), Christian Eriksen (£11.5m, Ajax).
OUT: Jack Barthram, David Bentley, William Gallas, Jack Munns, Jake Nicholson (released), Massimo Luongo, Grant Hall, Ryan Mason (loan, Swindon), John Bostock (free, Royal Antwerp), Tomislav Gomelt (loan, Royal Antwerp), Adam Smith (loan, Derby), Bongani Khumalo (loan, Doncaster), Steven Caulker (£8m, Cardiff City), Clint Dempsey (£6m, Seattle Sounders), Tom Huddlestone (£5m, Hull City), Jake Livermore (loan, Hull City), Scott Parker (£4m, Fulham), Gareth Bale (£85m, Real Madrid), Massimo Luongo (£400,000, Swindon), Tom Carroll and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (loan, QPR).
Spurs finished the summer as the Premier League’s biggest spenders, breaking their transfer record three times in the process, but the world-record sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid saw the club make a profit for the third summer running – although their wage bill is now likely to be significantly higher.
Bale’s protracted transfer to the Bernabeu understandably dominated the headlines but, aided by the appointment of sporting director Franco Baldini, Spurs quickly and economically improved their squad with no less than seven quality additions.
Brazil international Paulinho arrived for £17m shortly after being named the third most valuable player at the Confederations Cup and the 25-year-old will add energy, steel and goals to the Spurs midfield. Nacer Chadli, the Belgium international winger, is perhaps the least glamorous of the new arrivals but the former FC Twente man has already proved capable of troubling Premier League defences with his direct running and strength.
Roberto Soldado’s £26m arrival from Valencia provided boss Andre Villas-Boas with the top quality striker he craved last season and, although the Spain international was perhaps a little overpriced for a 28-year-old, he will surely score goals if given the service. Etienne Capoue, a £9m addition from Toulouse, has already impressed Spurs’ fans with his excellent reading of the game and the hulking powerhouse had established himself as first choice at holding midfield before his unfortunate injury.
Vlad Chiriches, 24, Erik Lamela, 21, and Christian Eriksen all followed in a single extraordinary Friday, with £30m Lamela again breaking the club’s transfer record. While Chiriches, a classy centre-half in the mould of Jan Vertonghen, could form a stylish partnership with the Belgian or allow Vertonghen to fill in at left back, Eriksen and the Argentine will be tasked with providing service for Soldado.
Even without Bale, the duo have the potential to turn an otherwise functional looking Spurs side into one of the most potent attacking forces in the league and there are many within Italy that regard Lamela as having the potential to be even better than the Welshman. Eriksen, meanwhile, is a set piece specialist who boasts four seasons of Champions League experience at the tender age of 21.
Joining Bale in leaving White Hart Lane permanently were Clint Dempsey, Steven Caulker and English midfield duo Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker.
The sale of the man who scored 21 goals and won 22 points individually last term is a massive blow but as Spurs (and Liverpool) have discovered, it takes a great squad rather than a superb individual to secure a place in the Premier League top four.
Spurs have wisely used the Bale cash to build their strongest squad in recent memory but Villas-Boas faces a job ensuring the new signings settle and the team gels quickly.
While the squad has no glaring weaknesses, question marks remain over Danny Rose at left-back, particularly after Benoit Assou-Ekotto was allowed to join QPR on loan, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe must improve on last season if they are to challenge Soldado for a starting spot.