Tottenham Hotspur have set an ignominious record after their transfer inactivity this summer. The Londoners are the first Premier League club not to buy a player in the transfer window.
On deadline day, they were heavily linked with Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, but they didn’t come close to matching his asking price. The England u21 international appeared happy to stay at Villa Park too.
Mauricio Pochettino will have to work with the squad he’s got, which is brimming with talent, but Spurs could struggle this season. Their competitors have all strengthen in the summer and could leave the Lilywhites behind.
Back in May, Pochettino told Tottenham owner Daniel Levy that he “needs to take risks” if he truly wants to win a major honour, saying: “If we want to be real contenders for big, big trophies, we need to review a little. First of all, I need to speak with Daniel, then we will know what we are going to do.
“I think it’s a moment the club needs to take risks and if possible work harder than the previous season to be competitive again.” Pochettino has since been forced to change his stance, calling Levy’s actions “brave”. Citing the new stadium as part of the reason why spending has been stemmed, the Spurs boss believes keeping their best players amounts to a victory in the transfer window.
“Maybe (no summer transfers) looks bad because of the perception. That is our decision – to keep the best players and to keep the squad. It is a brave decision. What the club is doing is showing it is brave. Building a new training ground, finishing the lodge – it was a massive investment. Building a stadium that is nearly £1 billion.
“Of course, maybe in the mind of everyone they will say ‘oh Tottenham did not sign anyone’ but to sign for the sake of signing? It is better to keep your best players”. Tottenham haven’t had the worst summer. Toby Alderweireld stayed for another season, Harry Kane signed a new deal and Pochettino committed his future for the long-term too.
Spurs have finished in the top-three of the Premier League in each of the last three seasons – 70 points in 2015/16, 86 points in 2016/17 and 77 points in 2017/18. They risk losing ground on the competition by not strengthening, but Tottenham have shown they’re no slouches.
They’ll be hoping for a bright start to the season to remind supporters that they’re still a strong outfit, regardless of recruitment.