Spurs started July with the statement signing of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for a club-record fee of 70m Euros (including add-ons)
I thought (and I’m sure I wasn’t alone) that this would be first of several signings, with some major squad development required in order for the team to progress and genuinely challenge Manchester City.
The signs were there. Early links with Bruno Fernandes, Giovani Lo Celso, Ryan Sessegnon and his twin, Steven covered problem areas: central midfield and full-backs.
But here we are in late July with just 10 days left of the transfer window and Spurs have just Ndombele, Jack Clark, who has been sent back to Leeds on-loan, and 17-year old Notts County striker Kion Etete (likely signed to cover for the promoted Troy Parrott) to show for a window that promised much.
And here I am praying that there’s still time to do all of the business that I want us to do. Like a fantasy football manager who has triple-captained Harry Kane at home to Burnley.
The game has got to 80 minutes and only now have I remembered that Burnley are really good at defending, so this was a terrible idea and yet I am obsessively repeating ‘all it takes is a moment, all it takes is a moment’ in my head. I’d take an assist. Anything.
In this analogy, the triple-captained Harry Kane is Tottenham’s title aspirations and Burnley are Daniel Levy’s willpower.
I understand why Levy does this. It’s about two things: negotiating positions, and movement in the market.
As we know, Levy drives a hard bargain.
So long as the player has his heart set on a move, this becomes easier for him as time progresses; the last thing the selling club want is to be left with a disgruntled player and besides, if they have had time to identify and sign a replacement, they will perhaps be more willing to do a deal at a price that Levy likes.
Equally, the ‘transfer merry-go-round’, as it is somewhat embarrassingly referred to, is a legitimate thing. Sometimes it takes one club to make something happen for the knock-on effect to kick in.
Agencies working for multiple players may also become more focussed once one or two deals are done for other clients.
But, there are huge downsides to Levy’s strategy, the main being that any signings from this point have missed all of Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-season preparation.
All of the fitness and conditioning, which are so important to him and to his assistant, Jesús Pérez. All of the long-term tactical implementation, putting in place the tactical groundwork for the season.
This is, after all, the longest block of uninterrupted time that Pochettino will have with the players all year; a great time to start to implement new ideas and approaches. Like the pressing we saw in the first half against Juventus – something we had not seen since the early Pochettino years.
Spurs signings can take some time to adjust to Pochettino’s system; Lucas Moura and Moussa Sissoko are good examples of this being the case.
Not signing players until a few days before the start of the season is not the best way of limiting this phenomenon.
Then, of course, there are still doubts hanging over the futures of Christian Eriksen (*praying emoji*), Toby Alderweireld (*praying emoji*) and Danny Rose (*thinking emoji*), with potential replacements needed at short notice.
The Rose situation is a matter entirely of our own making, and a bit unusual, with Rose ‘granted additional time off in order to explore prospective opportunities with other clubs’ whilst the rest of the team went on tour.
Daniel Levy is a man who knows what he’s doing, but boy am I getting anxious.