New Spurs boss to work with what he’s got.
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While all their rivals around them spend and spend, it has been an unusually quiet transfer window from Tottenham Hotspur so far this summer, with only one sale to speak of and no one coming in as we head towards the end of July.
Contrast this with last summer, when Spurs were one of the busiest clubs in Europe, signing seven players for a total of £105m, largely generated from the sale of star player Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. With the Welsh winger leaving, the north London club sought to buy themselves an almost entirely new starting eleven, with some exciting signings such as Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado providing a real sense of optimism despite the loss of Bale.
However, as perhaps should have been seen coming, things didn’t work out that way, with the arrival of so many new players leading to a distinct lack of cohesion in the squad, and some below-par performances as a result, particularly in the big games. Former Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas later admitted some of the signings made weren’t his decision, which begged the question – what on earth was the direction of the club? Who thought simply throwing money at the problem and assembling a group of individuals would actually pay off?
New manager Mauricio Pochettino is the latest to be tasked with moving this club forward, and his appointment may prove a masterstroke from the Spurs hierarchy if they let him do his job without too much interference. The Argentine did some fine work at Southampton without too much emphasis on making new signings. Instead, he took the old fashioned approach, mixed nicely with some modern methods, of coaching his players and building a team with what he had. The likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, who have all earned moves to bigger clubs this summer, all improved vastly under the guidance of Pochettino, and that is the kind of impact he will hope to have at White Hart Lane.
The 42-year-old should, on paper at least, have better players to work with at his new club, and his focus for the moment will surely be on getting to know the squad he has inherited, and developing a system for them to play. The last thing Tottenham need is another raft of new arrivals, who will inevitably need time to settle in and to get to know their team-mates.
Although no one can be sure what results this will yield yet, Spurs fans should welcome what is hopefully a wake-up call for the club’s board, and a realisation that a new approach is needed. Hopefully this won’t be another case of signing whoever is available and then sacking the manager when they don’t live up to expectations. Liverpool have reaped the rewards for allowing Brendan Rodgers the time to put his stamp on how things are done at Anfield, and despite the departure of Luis Suarez this summer, you can bet they’ll be playing a similar style of football next season as they develop a philosophy and an identity based on tactics and style, rather than the personnel on the pitch.