A costly season for Spurs-Part 1: the rat race…

Spurs deserve a lot of credit for their improvement over the past few seasons. For me, the true show of Spurs’ progress is the fact they have had top 5 finishes in 4 of the last 6 seasons, a supremely difficult level of consistency to achieve. To put this in perspective, before the 2009/10 season, their last top four finish was in the 1989/90 season when they finished 3rd. Spurs’ haven’t achieved back-to-back consistent high finishes since the 81/82 & 82/83 seasons, when they achieved 4th place two years in a row.

Looking back at the season, some Spurs fans will be disappointed that they were unable to qualify for the Champions League after such an endearing debut in the competition, but surely a 5th place finish and a CL Quarter-Final cannot be a bad season when you look at the history books.

Even though the season should be seen as a success this could prove a very costly season for Spurs when we look at the bigger picture.

As we welcome Martin Jol back to the Premier League (the man who laid the foundations for where Spurs are today) it was interesting to read his comment that Spurs must retain Luka Modric to stand any chance of a top 4 finish next season. He is obviously bang on and the Modric situation has highlighted a big problem at Spurs.

We have seen the speculation regarding Modric’s move to Chelsea or Man United and there is further speculation regarding some of Spurs’ biggest players, with Bale being courted by all the top European sides and Lennon being linked with a move to Liverpool. (Insider insight: Lennon is unhappy and does want to move back north, but ideally wants a top 4 side. The only apparent reason is that he has stopped enjoying his football at Spurs).

With the failure to qualify for the Champions League, this attitude from the players is to be expected, however it puts Spurs in a very vulnerable position.

Although Modric may well be on the verge of signing a new contract and issuing an apology to Spurs fans, this is only a temporary solution. Daniel Levy will have to give assurances to Modric that if Spurs do not qualify for the Champions League next season then Modric will be allowed to leave. It seemed the days had gone when Spurs need to make these sorts of promises, the ‘just give us one more season’ beg to a player. You rarely see any other top clubs doing this, even Liverpool players won’t moan because of the magnitude of the club.

Fair play to Levy for sticking to his guns regarding Modric, but he seems to be writing cheques his body can’t cash. There are rumours circulating that Spurs are a bit short on the cash-front and it shouldn’t be a surprise. The failure to qualify for the Champions League could hit Spurs like a sledge-hammer to the face. They have lost important additional revenue and therefore, in general, profit’s will be adversely affected, therefore so will the transfer kitty.

But this is not new, the signs were apparent last season; I want to take you back to when Spurs tried to sign Phil Neville for £500k. Now this deal could have happened, reportedly the reason it didn’t was because apparently Spurs wanted to pay the £500k in two instalments. What’s £500k to a club like Spurs? Why did Spurs reportedly bid €3m below Kun Agüero’s minimum fee release clause? It could be due to Levy driving a hard bargain or is it because Spurs want to have a champagne life-style but now only have a lemonade budget?

Last week the media reported Harry would have to sell before he can buy-is this just to trim the wage bill of one of the Premier League’s biggest and most talented squads? Or is it because Spurs are a bit low on money?

If Joe Lewis is getting tired of funding the team, then Spurs have a big problem. This summer all of the top 4 and Liverpool will be spending big. We have seen Manchester United already splash the cash with the Ashley Young signing and De Gea seemingly in the bag, Arsenal have got some rebuilding to do, Man City can get any of the world’s top players whenever they want them and Chelsea have a new manager who will want to make signings.

Also, let’s make no bones about it, Redknapp wanted to sign Ashley Young but didn’t even bother making a bid once he knew of United’s interest.  

Can Spurs compete with the rest? Probably not. They have to show their intent with their signings, not just for the sake of Modric and Bale, but to send out a message to the fans and the rest of the Premier League that they won’t get left behind. But with less money at the club, a strict wage structure and no offer of Champions League football the signs don’t look great for Spurs.

With these restrictions can Spurs get in anyone truly world-class? Quite simply, no. Therefore what players can they get? Well it will either have to be players from ‘lesser’ Premier League sides or up and comers, none of which will fill Modric et al with confidence. The big questions are where are the world-class players going to come from and can Spurs afford them. I think that although there is renewed optimism this summer, come the start of the season, Spurs fans could be disappointed.

This is one reason why this season’s lack of a top four finish is looking very costly for Spurs, make sure you read the second part of this article to see what other problems lie in wait for Spurs that could threaten their chances of staying at the top.

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  1. Nicko Yido says:

    i am worried we will fall away, so much money everywhere else that we can’t keep up & if we can’t spend money on higher wages who can we get that will improve us?

  2. Studub says:

    I agree with many of the sentiments within but must question some of the content. Spurs skint? How can that be possible? Already before last season we were a well run, financially stable club. Last years CL adventures should have seen at least £25m in extra profit (Swiss Rambles estimate). Yes we’ve spanked some cash on the fruitless chase for the OS (perhaps Levy realised what an arse it would be getting Olympic tickets) but we’ve barely spent any. We probably only offered 2 installments to Everton because unlike Redknapp, Levy realised that Neville was pointless.
    As for Joe Lewis funding us? No. He’s not. We are very much a self sufficient business thanks to Levy/Lewis stewardship.
    I also take massive issue with the last season ‘not being too bad’. On the face of it it was good, however 1 win from each of West Ham, Blackpool, Wigan, Wolves and West Brom would have seen us in 2nd and all discussions above and about Modric completely null and void. Those are the things that made it a costly season. But what do I know? I’m a fickle idiot who should support another club apparently.

  3. Ben Shelf says:

    This is interesting, considering we didn’t spend big last summer or in Jan it is fair to say we haven’t been splashing the cash around, but surely we can’t be skint???

    I think the bigger problem is attracting the players-we need the best to keep up and half the players we are linked with aren’t good enough. We can’t afford the world’s best, we can only afford potential which fits our business model in terms of re-sale value. But with the stars of the u21 tournaments going to big sides I can’t see who we can get.

  4. Robert Spalton says:

    I think Spurs are buggered.

    They’ve overspent for a while now hoping it would equal a longer CL stay and it hasn’t.

    Since 2003 their net transfer dealing is -£132,150,000. That’s the 3rd worst behind Manchester City and Chelsea.

    Until the stadium solution is solved they can’t compete. The process of solving it may mean either cashing in on the current crop ie Bale and Modric or a good 5 years of very little in the transfer kitty.

  5. Tom says:

    Spurs aren’t on a rolll anymore, you have to take your chance whilst your in the Champo League. Now that they are not I can see them losing a couple of players and struggling to attract anyone of note. Back to the Europa League…….

  6. Pingback: A costly season for Spurs part 2: stadium sentiment could be Spurs’ stitch-up! « Feature Articles « Football Rascal | For the fans

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