Spurs: To spend & sell, or not to spend & still sell?

“Football has gone mad” is what most non millennials bellow every time a player is linked with a big money move. “The new TV deal is to blame for all this” is what usually follows. Notice the key word in that sentence. “New”. The “new” TV deal is to blame. It’s almost as if the domino effect that was Sky’s 5 year, £191M deal with the Premier League back in 1992 didn’t happen. Fake news, apparently.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Chairman Daniel Levy today (26th July 2017) defended his club’s lack of transfer activity this summer, claiming the spending by other Premier League clubs is unsustainable.

When you take into consideration the timing (redevelopment of White Hart Lane and the surrounding area, plus a year at the “home of football” – Wembley Stadium) Mr Levy’s choice of words deserve the **scratching chin**/”hmmmm” emoji. Is this another point to add to the list of reasons for the lack of spending? A member of the Shoot The Defence Facebook group page wrote:

“I’ve been telling Spurs fans since the stadium was granted planning that they were going to face a decade of financial restraint. Just like Arsenal – Spurs are a self-sustaining club which means they have to generate the money before they can spend it.”

A fair point, no question about that. This leads to a question that’s been asked over and over – have Spurs become, or have they always been a selling club? Looking at the last 10-15 seasons, there’s little evidence to suggest they aren’t a selling side. This summer alone is a clear indicator that our resident poster is onto something.

England international Kyle Walker, Tottenham’s 27 year old first choice right back (for the best part of 5-6 years) was sold to Manchester City for a whopping £45M – yes, a right back has been sold for £45M, deal with it.

While it’s fair to say this is a great bit of business given the emergence of Kieran Trippier, Levy’s frugality leaves another bitter taste in the mouths of Spurs fans. In Levy’s defence, Opta stats (as of 2nd May 2017) show Spurs top the Premier League table over 2 years, despite a NET spend of £7M. Incidentally, the sale of Kyle Walker has made the club’s NET spend over the last 5 years MINUS £44M.

There’s no denying the club has moved in the right direction. Their youth academy is one of the best in the country and in Pochettino they have a Head Coach who isn’t afraid to trust a young group of players. whilst the other “big clubs” smashed transfer records left, right and centre, the Argentinian guided Spurs to their highest Premier League position, finishing above the big spending Manchester clubs two seasons in a row, surpassing people’s expectations in the process.

Nevertheless, titles, trophies and medals are the be all and end all, and unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re from the red half of North London), the trophy cabinet has been bare since 2008. A top 4 league finish has gone from being desirable to imperative in the clubs continued growth, development and future.

That being said, it goes back to the aforementioned “be all and end all” – trophy victories. Many Spurs fans would argue that, for now, obtaining Champions League football equates to a successful season given their size, spending power compared to others and recent history. More often than not, the follow up questions lead to more questions than answers.

How long will the sought after Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier wait for the trophy drought to end before wanting out? Is Harry “one of our own” Kane going to honour his £80,000 a week contract extension that ends in 2022 if the club fails to win some silverware soon? Let’s not forget the other sticking point – wages. Spurs only recently restructured their wage policy to make Kane the highest paid player to fend off interest from the elite clubs. While Levy is lauded for running a tight ship, Spurs are a Champions League club paying like a mid table club.

Tight ship or not, rumour has it the ship on the outside may not be what it is on the inside.



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