Spurs 1 Burnley 1
Spurs ended the Summer transfer window as one of 5 PL Clubs to make a ‘profit’, in the simplistic way that such figures are analysed. In round numbers, we spent £82m and received £92m, a net income of £10m.
We purchased 5 players: Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth adding speed and depth to the defence, Llorente a ‘Plan B’ and his experience up front, and Gazzaniga as our 3rd Goalkeeper.
We sold just 2 players; Kyle Walker and Kevin Wimmer from our defence. The others – Fazio, Bentaleb, Njie, – had already left the previous summer (on loan) or were youngsters – McGee, Miller – sold or loaned out – Onomah, Carter Vickers – and the remainder released.
As I wrote last week, the concern amongst our fan base is not so much that Spurs have weakened it is that both Manchester clubs in particular have strengthened. Liverpool look good going forward and have kept Coutinho but still have dodgy defenders. Arsenal look shambolic, have kept Sanchez but may surprisingly come together in the face of adversity. Chelsea have problems but still undoubtedly possess one of the best squads in the League.
I have little doubt Levy and Pochettino were ready to spend more if the right players were available. Most fans agree we are lacking 2 players; a fast, wide player of the Mane-Salah type, and another creative maestro, as an heir to Eriksen. But such players don’t grow on trees and the very best are either ridiculously expensive or not-for-sale. Mahrez was talked about but in the end Leicester didn’t sell him to anybody. Gomes was considered as a loan deal from Madrid (with buy-clause) but that fell through. The Barkley saga has been well documented. Ross may not fit either the fast-wide player or creative maestro specification but Pochettino clearly rates him and it seems likely we’ll be back in January.
Taking stock now, it’s clear we’ve strengthened. The question is, have we done enough? Time will tell. A lot depends on the return of Lamela, our luck with injuries this season, the form and mood of Rose, and whether Nkoudou, Janssen and even Sissoko can prove more successful than last year.
Remember (my Post 14), there are many reasons to remain cheerful. This is a team that scored 117 goals last season, of which 86 were in the Premier League (2.26 per game). Kane, Dele, Son and Eriksen helped us score all types of goals (around 28% came from team / passing moves, 22% from set pieces and penalties, 20% were headers or from wide crosses, 18% were from counter attacks and 12% were shots from outside the penalty box). We have lost Walker (who made 4 assists) but replaced him with Aurier, a younger, more accurate, possibly even faster, right back.
It looks to me as if there are 5 clubs competing for the title and CL places, with Arsenal and Everton jostling for Top 4-7. There are still 35 games (105 points) to go. Spurs are 9th after 3 games with a 1-1-1 record and 4 points. One of our old ‘bad habits’ has crept in and affected everybody’s mood as we now undergo the international break. Without the late goals conceded versus Chelsea (88th minute) and Burnley (92nd minute) we’d have a 2-1-0 record and things would be looking more positive.
Real life (as in my niece’s wedding) got in the way of the Burnley game. I didn’t see it and didn’t bother with the highlights. By all accounts we had the chances to win the game and should have done. The media’s “Wembley hoodoo” narrative is something we must suffer for a while yet. At least Kane is off the mark with 2 goals for England (Malta 0 England 4) on 1st September.