Written by Carl Walker
If you are a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur, I imagine you are quite jovial at this moment in time, beaming with delight at the current state of affairs within the club and why wouldn’t you be.
In 2015-2016 Tottenham pushed Leicester City all the way in Premier League title race, or close enough anyway up until a disastrous end of the season which saw them claim a possible two points from twelve, subsequently finishing 3rd and once again just behind Arsenal. Fear not though, the tide could be turning in North London.
Last season Tottenham Hotspur were a real breath of fresh air and showed that they are no longer a team that will be pushed about and easily beaten, the results last season show this to be true. Wins over Manchester City both home and away, Manchester United at home, along with credible draws both home and away against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea confirm that Tottenham are no pushovers and are here to stay.
Some of the football played last season and indeed in this seasons campaign so far has been breath taking, truly delicious and the credit for this must go to the manager, Mauricio Pochettino. He has built a dynamic young squad with a real resilience and steel about them which has gained plaudits from all over Europe and seen his name Linked with jobs such as Manchester United, PSG and Barcelona.
So what has he done differently? Well when he first arrive on these shores, it was Southampton that made the appointment and if truth be told it raised a few eyebrows, a relative unknown and someone who could not speak to language, you wandered if it was a gamble that would pay off. It certainly did. As a player he was a tough tackling centre half, who played at the very top level, if you’re wandering it was him that fouled Michael Owen in the 2002 world cup, and in which David Beckham went on to score the penalty in a 1-0 win.
In 2014 he left Southampton for Tottenham and after some impressive work with Southampton his stock had risen with the English game and he slowly got to grips with the language. He got straight to work with Tottenham and dived straight in, assembling a squad of players for an assault, first on the traditional top four and then on the summit of the Premier League. It has not been an over night process by no means and he is far from finished.
Pochettino has assembled a young, dynamic, exciting squad that can cut it and mix it with the best in the Premier League, a great blend of young players with slightly more experienced heads has seen Tottenham play some amazing football. The likes of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have flourished with the formation used when Tottenham have possession. The wing backs both push on, the two centre half’s split and the defensive minded, holding player, usually Eric Dier drops in to act as a third centre half. This tactic has seen them be able to counter attack at devastating speed and with devastating effect.
During the summer, Pochettino, with Champions League qualification secured, looked to strengthen the squad if we are being honest it was a window of frustration for Tottenham fans on the signings front. Victor Wanyama was brought in from Southampton in June and then long term target Vincent Janssen, who took the Eredivisie by storm with 27 goals in 34 games for AZ was recruited to help share the load with Harry Kane up front.
The transfer window carried on and the season begun and it was on deadline day that Tottenham managed to bring the two final players. Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, the pacey winger from Marseille finally completed his long awaited move after waiting for clearance due to Marseille being taken over and Moussa Sissoko, who we all know from his time at Newcastle, was snatched from Everton’s grasp in the final hours of the window. The signings have not really got going as of yet for Tottenham, Sissoko has struggled to get starts, Janssen has only scored from the spot this season and N’Koudou has made three appearances, all from the bench. The only real successful signing has been Wanyama with his industrious, tough tackling displays which help protect that back line so vitally.
What has been significant from Pochettino though is the fact that he has signed up all his stars to long term contacts with Tottenham. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Michel Vorm, Erik Lamela and Jan Vertonghen have all pledged their future to the club. These contact renewals should be seen as just as important as the improvements made to the squad during the window itself. Pochettino is also a great advocate of youth development, which was evident from his time at Southampton. Harry Winks has subsequently broken into the first team this season, and scored his first senior goal against West Ham this season and also Tom Carroll and Joshua Onomah have been involved in first team duties, mainly in the EFL cup run.
This also bodes well for the national team. Pochettino has and is developing young English talent which is slowly helping form the foundations of a future England generation. Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane are all now full internationals and all five of these were including in recent Euro 2016 finals squad in France. Playing at the top level for club and country will only further develop this talent. The state of the art training complex has also gone a long way to ensure that young players are in the best possible environment for their development.
Tottenham have definitely got a bright future with this new batch of players, but some of the more established youngster such as Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli will all attract interest from some of the elite clubs in Europe as they already are doing and the best way for Tottenham to keep hold of these players is to win something.
Players want to be successful, winning trophies is part of that aswel as playing at the highest level. A player will only stick around with a project for so long, if the club is not successful they will move on. Look across London at their rivals Arsenal, no major trophies in a barren spell, coupled with a new stadium, financial restraints on transfers due to this being built (which we will come onto in a moment) saw their biggest stars leave. Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri, Robin Van Persie and many more moved on to further their careers and win honours, and incidentally nearly every single one of them who moved on did so.
Tottenham also have the prospect of a new home from the start on the 2018-2019 season. The 61,000 capacity stadium is modern day architectural triumph, like so many others being developed across different league’s in Europe. A modern day coliseum for the modern day gladiators. The new stadium is also a significant nod to stature of the club, which is constantly being raised, the new stadium which has almost twice the capacity of White Hart Lane will in turn, in the long run, generate more money in season tickets, match day tickets and match day revenue and also be used for NFL games and as a music venue for summer events.
This wonderful new stadium is again a reason for the Spurs faithful to be excited about the future of the club, and with naming rights still up for grabs, thus again would help finance the project which is to one of the more costly in English football history.
Current affairs on the pitch are also in a very healthy position, Tottenham sit third in the Premier League and are right in the title race, with the window open, money now dependant, Pochettino may look to strengthen his squad slightly with Harry Kane still carrying the burden of the heavily relied goal scorer for the team, another injury to him could be devastating for the title challenge.
credit Doha Stadium Plus Qatar
On a final thought, Daniel Levy, the chairman of the club has often been criticised for his tight fisted approach when it comes to club finances, this approach in the past has seen the club lose some big players, Berbatov left to go Manchester United when the price was right and this is a trend that Levy has looked to stop. Tottenham no longer want to be seen as a selling club.
By opening up his wallet and loosening the purse strings he now has arguably the most exciting young players in the Premier League and in Europe on long term contacts, a manager which has a longevity about him and a sustainable project which is reaping the rewards of the clubs youth development. With the new stadium on the horizon too, Mr Levy must be lavishly praised for his vision for the future of his club and his new approach to player retention.
Daniel Levy’s biggest problem in the short term, as mentioned earlier, may be keeping hold of his manager. Pochettino has attracted interest both domestically and in Europe for his work with the club, overcome this first hurdle and Tottenham, with a few tweaks, could be serious title contenders.
The future is bright for Tottenham Hotspur and for England.
Can Spurs win the title in the next few seasons? Are they overtaking Arsenal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
featured image by @cfcunoffical