It seems that Tottenham Hotspur remain to be somewhat scarred by their reckless behaviour in the transfer market two years ago, as, for the second season in a row fans are made anxious by the club’s relative lack of transfer activity in the summer transfer window, as opposed to being somewhat bewildered by the club’s buzz of activity the summer before last.
Fans should only be grateful that Harry Redknapp is no longer at the club; who knows how long it would take him to wind his window up and leave the training ground after being accosted by transfer-story hungry reporters? Despite deadline day being just over a week away there remain to be fairly large holes in Tottenham’s squad, with gaffer Mauricio Pochettino admitting Spurs’ need for a striker is “obvious” during a press conference on Thursday.
As a move for West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino looks increasingly likely, is a striker the only addition required to complete Pochettino's squad?
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What do Spurs have to spend?
The average top-six club in the Premier League generally has a transfer budget of around £20 million in each summer transfer window. Add to this Tottenham's transfer activity up until now (with the clearing of "dead wood" such as Etienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches offsetting the purchases of Kevin Wimmer, Toby Alderweireld, Kieran Trippier and Clinton N'Jie) and it can be assumed that Tottenham have around £38-40 million to spend at present. Considering that Pochettino very much still wants to sell two further players, outcasts Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham could have around £50 million to play with near the end of the transfer window.
Do Tottenham only need a striker?
Is a new striker Pochettino's most urgent priority before deadline day? Yes. Is a new striker Tottenham's only priority before deadline day? Probably not. The drawback of selling underperforming players to be replaced is that replacements need to be found for them - and fairly quickly at that. With a transfer kitty of between £38-40 million, Spurs could do with another centre-half following the sales of three first-team players in the same position this summer.
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Pochettino also implied in Thursday's press conference that he sees defensive consistency as being more important than firepower, saying "People will speak about how we need defensive players but we need to be more consistent because we conceded a lot of goals last season". Tottenham could also do with another central-defensive midfielder, with new centre-half Toby Alderweireld believing a move for a player in the mould of Victor Wanyama or Morgan Schneiderlin would be ideal. Equally important, however, is the need to get rid of cast-offs Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor before deadline day.
Which strikers could Spurs look to sign?
The striker who has been linked with Tottenham more frequently than any other in recent weeks is 22-year-old Saido Berahino, currently of West Bromwich Albion. At the time of writing, Sky Bet offered odds of 1-3 on Berahino moving to White Hart Lane before September 3rd, so a deal looks likely. Tottenham have reportedly already made an offer of around £15 million for the forward, but the Baggies seem determined to hold out for a fee nearer to £25 million.
If Spurs fail to sign Berahino or are unwilling to fork out that sort of money, another possible alternative (but an entirely different sort of player) is QPR's Charlie Austin. Austin, who scored 18 goals last season as QPR were relegated, would be available for £15 million and would therefore serve as both a cheaper alternative to Berahino and a player more in the mould of White Hart Lane hero Harry Kane.
Other strikers linked with Tottenham in recent weeks include former AC Milan starlet Alexandre Pato and Manchester United outcast Javier Hernandez. Pato, currently of Brazilian side Corinthians, has been linked with a move to White Hart Lane in previous years and Tottenham have been "cleared to complete a transfer" for the Brazilian striker, according to Metro.
Meanwhile, the London Evening Standard have reported that Spurs are stepping up their interest for Hernandez, 27, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid. Both would be fairly good signings for Tottenham but issues are clear with the signings of either of them; Pato has struggled with form and fitness in recent years and Louis van Gaal is unlikely to want to let Hernandez go, given Manchester United's only other out-and-out strikers are James Wilson and Wayne Rooney.
Is there anything else Tottenham need to do before deadline day?
As well as filling the gaps in the squad as mentioned, Tottenham's other priority in this transfer window is to keep hold of their most vital players, three in particular; Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris (both of whom have repeatedly been linked with Manchester United this summer) and Christian Eriksen (linked with a move to Italian giants Juventus this week). It would be rather depressing to imagine where Tottenham would have finished in the league last season without the influence of that trio, and all three will be similarly important in this coming campaign.