Written by Adibir Singh
Tottenham have just come off the back of one of their most successful seasons in recent history. Albeit without any silverware, Mauricio Pochettino’s side has made innumerable progress from when the Argentinian first took over in May 2014.
A hard-fought 4th place finish and a memorable Champions League runners-up finish may look sub-par to the eye, but the hard work and passion shown by ‘Poch’ and his squad spoke volumes all along the 18/19 season.
Perhaps what is most startling is that Spurs went on with business, without actually doing any business for two straight transfer windows. No signings to bolster his squad depth left many fans and pundits confused- why not build on a good team, to make it great?
Competing with the heavy spenders in today’s day and age, not spending a penny is reminiscent of David versus Goliath in terms of squad depth- especially when competing with the gargantuan numbers of Manchester City and Liverpool.
Injuries were a major hindrance to Tottenham’s campaign last season- losing the likes of Kane and Alli with no alternative option to fill the void left many wondering “what if” they had worthy like for like replacements on the bench?
Spurs’ first signing of the season caught everyone’s attention- in-demand central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele was bought from Lyon for a reported £55 million fee- a club-record transfer fee- to add depth to an already packed midfield roster. You can already see the difference he makes to their midfield.
Pochettino held no prisoners in the weeks leading up to their Premier League opener – publicly stating that any more incoming transfers were not in his hands, but solely dependant on chairman Daniel Levy. Many saw this as the manager venting frustration at lack of transfer activity. More reinforcements were needed given the season dampening injuries from last year.
Leaving it late just like their Champions League comeback against Ajax, Tottenham’s transfer activity on the last two days of the window took all their rivals by surprise.
They completed the signings of Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham and Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis- as well as attempting a failed but audacious bid for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala showed a real statement of intent from the North London outfit.
Sessegnon’s signing is vital to provide Spurs cover in their fleeting ranks of full-backs. Kieran Trippier’s move to Atletico Madrid, and selling Kyle Walker to City the year before last has left Tottenham short of quality and consistency in wing-back positions- and the 19 could prove to be the perfect solution for a number of years.
Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso has come in on loan with an option to buy at the end of the season- a shrewd piece of business for a man who set La Liga alight in the 18/19 campaign. The midfielder can fit seamlessly into the system adopted by Pochettino, playing anywhere from deep in the centre or further up the pitch in an attacking role- depending on the personnel deployed alongside him.
Too many options in one position may be a hard task for many managers, but if there’s one thing the Spurs boss would have no problem tackling next season- it’s picking from a world-class pool of talent in the middle of the park.
Spurs’ midfielders in recent years have perhaps been complacent at times, owing to less competition in the ranks. New signings mean demanding more out of both the old and new regiments to keep their place in the side- something that only helps the team grow as the season progresses.
After all the paperwork completed with regard to the new boys, Tottenham’s definition of “success” has to change this season. That means winning trophies at the highest level.
Fans and players alike have waited far too long for trophies to show for the progress they’ve made- and this season may be more important than most.
Failure to win a major trophy may have tempted some of their star players such as Eriksen or Alderweireld, and even Pochettino himself to look for greener pastures- one’s that are competing for top-level silverware consistently.
But the fact that the spine of the team has stayed intact, on top of adding new recruits is a testament to the vision instilled by Pochettino onto his players, staff, and boardroom for years to come.
Spurs have an opportunity to well and truly turn the tide in English football if they can topple the other big spenders in the league, as well as the heavyweights in Europe. Making it to the European Cup final on a paper-thin squad is no easy feat- and Tottenham fans will be hoping to go one better in the coming season and finally get their hands on silverware they have so long yearned for.
El Arte Del Futbol is now an official content creator for One Football. Find more original features, Player Profiles and tactical analysis on www.elartedf.com. If you are reading this on our website, we’d like to thank you for your continuous support!