Tottenham's 2012-2013 season was in no way a failure. They finished with their highest points total in the Premier League era and one that was good enough to make the Champions League every year but one other.
Gareth Bale turned himself from a great young talent into a superstar and top 10 player worldwide. However, when push comes to shove, it wasn't enough. They weren't able to finish in the top four. Here are three ways to improve their chances of reaching their elusive goal next season.
Keep Gareth Bale
Bale was undoubtedly a main reason for Tottenham's success last year. He scored plenty of goals; more importantly, he scored when it counted. Crucial goals could be seen against West Ham, Sunderland, and Manchester United.
With a deadly left foot, the versatile left winger terrorised defences, cutting from left to right and leading to more space for teammates. Bale has been linked with Real Madrid, PSG, and Manchester United for as much as £100million but Daniel Levy has been stubborn, insisting that Bale is going nowhere.
It's a good thing too. Bale makes everybody on the team better, and no doubt helped attract Paulinho. Tottenham has class in other areas and adding a bunch of squad players would just further congest occupied positions. Bale is irreplaceable and a cornerstone for the Spurs success.
Go to a 4-3-3
AVB showed in his first year at Tottenham that he's a real coaching talent. He made savvy moves and is one of the main reasons for Bale's development. Therefore, Tottenham should trust him to go back to the formation that worked nearly flawlessly when he was back at Porto.
It opened up huge gaps in defences and led to a consistently moving, omnipotent offence where everyone was involved. Tottenham has the midfield to make it work. Paulinho, Sandro, and Moussa Dembele are all strong midfielders with creativity but a good work rate.
They could make up the middle three. Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson have the defensive mindset to play the highline well, although it might require some teaching for Kyle Walker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto on how to recover defensively.
Bale would be allowed to be even more forward, which, let's face it, is what everyone wants. The other side could be filled by Aaron Lennon. That leaves one position.
Buy a quality striker
This last key is the real missing piece. Sure, the defence could improve slightly and there are some ineffectual midfielders but the lack of a consistent striker allowed defences to throw every man they had at Bale.
Either Emmanuel Adebayor had already given up on the play or Jermain Defoe was injured or on a cold streak. There are some solid options on the market and Tottenham have been linked with Roberto Soldado, Christian Benteke and Leandro Damiao.
The Lily Whites should avoid anyone without experience against top level competition so that leaves Damiao out. David Villa would have fit in very well but was bought by Atletico Madrid.
Benteke and Soldado both would work well but Benteke would be the best fit. He has fellow Belgians Vertonghen and Dembele on the team and is better at holding the ball up.
This works well when you have players like Bale and Lennon constantly making runs. Benteke would also provide more of a threat in the air because of his size and strength. Soldado brings a real finishing touch but Benteke has proven he does to, and has room to grow under a great coach. If Tottenham can successfully do these three things, a Champions League spot is all but sealed.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH