Despite a rocky first half of the season with Andre Villas-Boas sacked in December, Tottenham was able to finish the season under head coach Tim Sherwood before he too was sacked. His replacement, Mauricio Pochettino has the unenviable task of picking Spurs up this season and trying to get the club back into the UEFA Champions League.
So, what has changed for Spurs this summer? It all comes down to the manager. The former boss at Southampton comes into White Hart Lane with a newly minted impressive reputation that he garnered by having Saints not only play beautiful attacking football, but also developing young talent by the boatload. He’s now entrusted with not only doing the same at Spurs, but resuscitating the fortunes of big money signings from a summer ago that failed to live up to the height of their name on the marquee.
Pochettino has said that his squad is too big (which is true), but the incomings and outgoings list has been fairly small compared to their nearest competitors. Instead of being flashy, Spurs have been quiet and targeting in their business this summer. In come Ben Davies, Michel Vorm, Eric Dier and DeAndre Yedlin for a combined fee of about £10 million or so. Three of these players will play roles, even if they are restricted to cup ties only. Yedlin is a signing for the future, and he may not see action in a Spurs kit until 2015-16 at the earliest. These signings have shown a consistent plan with how Pochettino and Franco Baldini want to build this team going forward, and the age of the signings for the outfield players being 20 or 21 should give a clue as to how future business may be handled. There are more signings coming, but as is customary with Spurs, they’ll need a shot of Big Ben at night and Jim White yelling on Sky Sports to push those deals over the line.
The only notable outgoings are Jake Livermore and Iaqo Falque at the moment, and neither figured to be in the plans this season. Amazingly, they’ve made about £12.5million with these sales, meaning that as of this writing, Spurs has turned a profit in the transfer market. There are more outgoings surely to come, with some deadweight defenders and midfielders needing to be sold. See above for when those will be done.
The expectations around the club are for improvement from last season (which is next to impossible not to achieve). Spurs can finish in the Top 4, provided a combination of Liverpool and United underwhelming and Spurs exceeding expectations happens, which is possible, but highly unlikely.
If Spurs made a deep run or even won a Cup this season, the Lane would be happy again. This year is about building for the future, but mainly it’s about cleaning up the toxic waste from a wasted last year.
For more Spurs coverage, visit the Tottenham team page.