By TomTom – Your SatNav around Football
AVB’s bruising initiation to the Premiership has continued after a difficult start to his reign as Tottenham manager. He will have been desperate to begin the season in convincing fashion, both to help put some of his Chelsea ghosts to bed and also to appease Spurs fans who were left feeling uneasy following Harry Redknapp’s rather abrupt departure.
Luka Modric’s protracted transfer to Real Madrid has been a cloud over the young Portuguese manager’s first pre-season in charge and crucially the club have failed to attract a genuine replacement. Although Daniel Levy has supported his new manager with the funds to strengthen his squad, spending over £50m on six recognised internationals, the question remains as to whether the Tottenham chairman’s operations in the transfer market have truly provided AVB with the best chance of success.
Levy is notoriously one of the hardest negotiators in football and whether he is selling one of his prized assets or attempting to sign a key transfer target, he invariably oozes every penny of value from any deal. There is much to admire in Levy’s stance and also in his refusal to run the club unsustainably, yet it is becoming a recurring pattern that Tottenham’s start to a season is overshadowed by transfer sagas. Much of the important business is regularly done on deadline day, with games already played and crucial points dropped.
Ever since Dimitar Berbatov sulked his way through pre-season in 2008 before eventually signing for Man United at the 11th hour, Levy has developed a fetish for deadline day deals. The start of that season was undermined, leading to Tottenham’s worst ever start to a Premiership campaign and the eventual sacking of Juande Ramos. If we were to rewind to last season, when Modric refused to partake in the first two games of the season, and a lack of reinforcements recruited, we would see that Tottenham were pointless by deadline day, having been resoundingly beaten at Old Trafford and then embarrassed in their own backyard at by Man City.
The late deals to sign Scott Parker and Emmannuel Adebayor then saw Spurs go on to win their next eight games. Now there is of course no guarantee that those two signings would have meant any points were gained from those opening fixtures, however, considering Tottenham eventually missed out on the Champions League by one point, throwing away games due to the squad not being stable is wasteful.
Levy’s desire for last minute wrangling, which although undoubtedly allowed Parker to be brought in on a cut price deal and for Adebayor’s wages to be subsidised, also contributed to an awful start and ultimately to a failure to match the club’s ambitions for the season. Any immediate financial gains on the two deals were surely outweighed by a failure to qualify for the Champions League and therefore Levy’s conduct has to brought under consideration.
All good sense would suggest that Levy would have learnt from last season’s disruptive start and altered his policy accordingly. However, the inevitable departure of Modric should have been sanctioned early in the off season, Spurs missed out on Moutinho and the club were allowed to start the season with only one recognised striker in the shape of Jermaine Defoe. With a tricky, yet winnable opening of Newcastle away and West Brom at home, AVB will surely have been hoping for a minimum return of four points. With the home game against Norwich also heavily affected by the transfer dealings the previous day, Spurs have amassed a disappointing two points from three games. On current form, it appears as if Levy’s tendency to do late business could have a far more damaging influence on this season than it did last.
A disappointing season at the Lane would inevitably lead to fingers being pointed at AVB and his reputation in England being brought under further scrutiny, however, Levy has to be held accountable as well. He needs to swallow his pride and start doing his business earlier and in a less dramatic fashion.
For Tottenham fans deadline day is one of the most pulsating events in the football calendar. The training ground resembles Piccadilly Circus for the day and eager journalists are camped outside in expectation of numerous comings and goings. Despite this entertainment, I’m sure fans will be happy to sacrifice the high pitched squeals of Jim White on Sky Sports News as yet another high profile name is linked to or away from the club, if it meant an improved start to the season.« Grant Holt Signs With FC Agency team Calzaghe Knocked Out in Sellebrity Soccer Match »
“Having studied English at university and always been a keen footballer and fan, combining the two has always appealed to me.” - Tom Lytton-Dickie. -"I'm a recently qualified journalist and I've worked in newspapers and broadcasting. I'm a dedicated follower of all sports primarily football, tennis and cricket." Tom Allnutt
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