Position last season: 4th
Premier League title odds: 33/1
Players in: Jan Vertonghen (Ajax, £11 million), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim, £8.8 million)
Players out: Steven Pienaar (Everton, £5, million), Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kyiv, £6.1 million) Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow, £6.1 million), Ledley King (Retired), Ryan Nelsen (QPR, Free transfer), Louis Saha (released), Ben Alnwick (Barnsley, free transfer), Massimo Luongo (Ipswich, free transfer), Oscar Jannson (Shamrock Rovers, free transfer)
Net Spend: £2.4 million
Opening Fixture: Newcastle United, Sports Direct Arena (Referee: Martin Atkinson)
Predicted finish: 5th
Key Man: Sandro
A left-field choice perhaps, but when it comes to helping implement Andre Villas-Boas’ new system and with it ensuring continued success from the previous era , the dynamism of Sandro is key.
The Portuguese manager likes his teams to press without the ball and build attacks from the back when in possession and with Scott Parker missing the start of the season, Sandro will become the key link between the front and back.
The Brazilian has had a busy summer and is still on international duty which has irked Villas-Boas, who still hasn’t had the chance to see him in training, but his dynamism and energy will be key next season, as will his under-rated passing ability.
All change at White Hart Lane – and whether that means progress to a regular Champions League spot or falling backwards while others make leaps forward is in the lap of the Gods.
After the initial shock of Harry Redknapp’s departure earlier this summer most of the club’s fans seem to be on board with the Andre Villas-Boas revolution – his tactical nous is a million miles away from Redknapp’s arm-round-the-shoulder man-management spiel – now the two outstanding questions are: has he learned from his time at Chelsea, and can he mould a squad (or sign the players required) to fit his particular style and be a success?
His time in charge of pre-season has given little away except what most already knew; that Spurs look good going forward but desperately lack a striker. In their game against Valencia last week, their biggest test of pre-season, they carved chance after chance but couldn’t put them away, eventually falling to a 2-0 defeat. With only Jermain Defoe on their books up front they need something to happen soon, especially with the England striker hinting at an exit this week.
Spurs have tried in vain to land a forward so far, something in keeping with their so-far frustrating dealings in the transfer market. Luka Modric’s protracted exit has held up potential deals for Hugo Lloris, Gaston Ramirez and Emmanuel Adebayor, while their attempts to line up a replacement for Modric have been thwarted, with Oscar heading to Chelsea and Joao Moutinho out of their price range.
Spurs are renowned for their expertise in the transfer market and won’t worry about taking all their deals to the last day, but last season they felt the affect of doing just that in losing their first two games heavily and will be concerned about doing so again.
If they can get the deals they want to do done and land Lloris, Adebayor and targets Yann M’Villa and Leandro Damiao to compliment their two signings so far, Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson (two excellent buys) then they would have a fine squad to maintain a top four challenge and beyond, but with time running out that seems somewhat fanciful and they may have to settle for just one or two new arrivals.
The fact Chelsea and Liverpool, two main threats for a top four spot who finished below them last season, have undergone massive changes over the summer makes predicting where Tottenham will end up even more difficult given their own upheaval – however under Villas-Boas the players appear happy and motivated and have said the right things so far.
The uncertainty that surrounds them however means that how well they do next season could be largely determined by how well they do in the next couple of weeks. It’s always been a rollercoaster supporting Spurs, and that looks set to continue.
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