In the summer, Tottenham Hotspur had a legitimate chance of building a team to battle for a spot in the UEFA Champions League while elevating the club to become a contender in the Premier League. With £80million in the bank from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham had a once-in-a-decade opportunity to strengthen its playing staff with the amount of money that football chairmen and supporters could only dream of having.
Since then, the club sacked one manager and look set to replace his replacement by the end of this season, or in the summer. Having splashed £107 million on 7 players, Spurs are back to where they started one year ago, or arguably have regressed with the majority of those “magnificent seven” not having impacted the team in a significant manner.
Similar to the transfer escapades of Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid, the only club Gareth Bale wanted to join and could pay the fee Tottenham was looking for was Los Blancos. The difference is that Sir Alex Ferguson feels United did not get enough for the two-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Ferguson told Spanish newspaper AS,
“I told David Gill to ask for £150m. Perez would have paid. The only thing that hurt me, and I said this repeatedly to David Gill, was that we didn’t demand enough. I told David, ‘Ask for £150m’. He said, ‘Don’t be silly. They’ll never pay £150m’. I said, ‘Ask for it because he’s worth it.’ We signed the deal. I think it cost £80m or so but I’ll always wonder what Mr. Perez would have said if we’d asked for £150m.”
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy didn’t have this excuse because he used his talent as a shrewd businessman to get Real Madrid to overpay for Bale. Following the sale, he said:
“We have, therefore, with great reluctance, agreed to this sale and do so in the knowledge that we have an exceptionally strong squad to which we have added no fewer than seven top internationals. More importantly, we have an immense team spirit and a dressing room that is hungry for success.”
The seven top internationals Levy was referring to are:
• Etienne Capoue,
• Nacer Chadli,
• Vlad Chiriches,
• Christian Eriksen,
• Erik Lamela,
• Paulinho, and
• Roberto Soldado.
Capoue, Chadli, Chiriches, and Lamela have been fringe players this season. Eriksen started slow but is picking up steam. Paulinho, by far, is the best purchase Tottenham made and has been a solid performer in the midfield while being able to play up the pitch and score goals. Soldado has been heavily inconsistent.