Tottenham Hotspur may have spent £107million on a string of new signings to cover Gareth Bale's departure to La Liga, but that spree has now placed Andre Villas-Boas in an impossible position in terms of matching expectations at White Hart Lane this season.
The majority of Spurs fans would be happy with securing Champions League qualification this year, but it is worth remembering that a fantastic run of form towards last season was still not enough to earn a top-four finish ahead of bitter local rivals Arsenal.
Spurs went eight games unbeaten in a storming finish to the campaign, inspired by a winger in Gareth Bale that continued to deliver career-best performances on an almost weekly basis. But the Gunners still found a way to maintain their dominance in North London, winning nine of their last 10 games to pip their neighbours by just a single point.
Spurs have outspent every other side in the Premier League during the close season to land coveted talents such as Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, although admittedly armed with a world-record sum fetched from Real Madrid for Bale.
Supporters at White Hart Lane would be quite within their rights to argue that a three-figure outlay should result in an improved squad in all areas, which will mean that even if AVB can secure a Champions League place that achievement would could go largely uncredited in terms of personal recognition.
Villas-Boas has created a problem for himself in that seven new faces need time to find their feet in the Premier League, but with the top places likely to be decided by the thinnest of margins once again patience is a commodity the club can ill afford.
The Portuguese coach has never spent longer than a season with any of his three previous clubs, so it has to be questioned if he has the stomach for a long-term project under Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini.
Levy has backed his manager all the way with a shrewd set of acquisitions during the close season, building a model akin to those used by top clubs across Europe in trusting a sporting director to get deals done.
Unfortunately for Villas-Boas in that system a coach is always the most expendable commodity, which means he has to demonstrate significant improvements this season to keep his path for redemption after a nightmare at Chelsea on track, and quickly!
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