There are less than two weeks to go until the transfer window closes for English clubs on Thursday, August 9 at 5pm. Some clubs have the majority of their business done, and may just add one or two more if the opportunity presents itself.
Liverpool seem to be the club that have made the most significant progress this summer as they attempt to challenge for the league title next season. Arsenal have brought in a few too, giving new boss Unai Emery something to work with. Man City have signed Riyad Mahrez. Man Utd have signed Fred and Diogo Dalot. Chelsea have signed Jorginho and have been linked with Gonzalo Higuain, while also bringing in a new manager. Spurs are yet to do any business at all.
I really think Spurs could be in danger of getting left behind if they don’t get some deals done. Jack Grealish is the only player that they’ve been heavily linked with, and it doesn’t seem like they have made a move for him either. There have been some whispers that they would try to sign Anthony Martial, with Toby Alderweireld possibly going in the other direction, but that hasn’t taken off at all. I’m not convinced in the slightest that there will be a flurry of transfer activity in these last two weeks either.
Of course, there is the small matter of their £800m new stadium to pay for. That doesn’t pay for itself, and the club would have had to take out huge bank loans to fund that. Some reports say the cost of the stadium could reach one billion pounds. You can understand that they’re not flush with money at the moment, but their fans would still be disappointed if they went through this window without one major signing.
Reports say that Mauricio Pochettino was told he has to sell players before he can buy, but that’s quite surprising to me. Back in May, there was some speculation that Mauricio Pochettino wouldn’t sign a new contract unless he was promised funds to spend in the summer. He said that the club have to be brave and take risks. A little over a week later, Spurs announced that he signed a new five-year contract, which gave the impression that he had been told he would be given money to spend.
That doesn’t seem to be the case, but maybe he wasn’t told he would be given money. Maybe he was talked into staying around for the project in their new stadium. Maybe he was told that after this summer money would be available again. Maybe he decided that he is happy with the squad he has for now, and one or two acquisitions would be positive.
There is still time to get something done, and maybe they’re working on deals behind the scenes. It’s not very often transfers are done without people knowing these days, but it can still happen. Liverpool announced that they had signed Fabinho earlier in the summer, and that was the first time I had heard about them signing him. Maybe Daniel Levy is keeping things as quiet as possible.
Maybe they simply don’t have the money to buy new players. The idea of moving to the new stadium is that they will generate more money from ticket sales, sponsorships etc. and they’ll have more money to spend and can compete with the big clubs. But the problem is that the stadium costs so much money, so they’ll be quite short of money for the next few years.
We saw this with their north London rivals Arsenal, of course. They barely had a penny to spend. People said that Arsene Wenger just didn’t want to spend the money, but that wasn’t true. They just didn’t have it, but Wenger took all the blame for it instead of giving out about the board. Arsenal really struggled for a few years when they had to pay for the Emirates. They were selling the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor and signing players like Mikael Silvestre, Andre Santos and Marouane Chamakh. It was an awful time for them, and they suffered for a number of years.
The Emirates cost less than half the price of Spurs’ new stadium. Arsenal built the ground for just £390m, which is quite incredible when you look back at it. There’s no way Spurs can go through what Arsenal went through though. There would be uproar if they started selling the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen and replaced them with players worth half the amount of money. They would be in real danger of being overtaken by the likes of Everton and West Ham then too.
I think I’m going a little bit too far, because I would be surprised if they went down that route. They’ll know that they can’t afford to drop out of the top four, because the Champions League money will go a long way to helping pay off the stadium. And they’ll know that they won’t get into the top four without spending some money. They might feel that their squad for the upcoming season is still good enough to finish ahead of the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and maybe even Man Utd. They could be right too. But they have to be wary of the danger of being left behind.
Finishing in the top four last season was extremely important. Having Champions League football in their first season at their new stadium will be a huge positive. They’ll be hoping that they can do well and go deep into the competition. Daniel Levy will be hoping the same as he watches the money roll in.
The thing about the new stadium is that the may need some time to adapt to playing there. They could turn it into a fortress immediately, but I think that would be surprising. It’s going to take the players a while to get used to it, but hopefully not too long for their sake.
There has to be a real worry that they’re going to get left behind. Surely a lot of their fans are looking at the other top clubs and seeing they’re doing business and are worried about the season ahead. Dropping out of the top four would be a disaster for them. There’s no way they want to go back to playing Europa League football after getting used to the Champions League. The Champions League is where the feel they belong, and they want to keep it like that. But they won’t be staying in it unless they start spending some money.
A quick look at the Europa League now, and Burnley drew 1-1 with Aberdeen in the first leg of the second qualifying round last night. Aberdeen took the lead but Sam Vokes equalised with 10 minutes to go. It’s a decent result for the Clarets – even if they would have been expecting to win the game – and they now bring an away goal into next week’s second leg at Turf Moor.
Anyway, that’s it from me this morning. Your news will be on Twitter throughout the day, and I’ll be here tomorrow with more. Have a good one.