Tottenham Hotspur’s transfer window effectively began once Didier Drogba nestled his penalty past Manuel Neuer to secure Champions League glory for Chelsea. The Ivorian’s spot-kick condemned the North London side to Europa League football, regardless of their fourth place Premier League finish, and unsurprisingly saw a number of the club’s bigger stars linked with summer moves away from White Hart Lane.
The prized trio of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart were all supposedly set to leave Tottenham, but we’ll get back to the later. The first major movement at Spurs didn’t involve any of the players, but rather a change of manager. Harry Redknapp had supposedly been set to depart the club for some time. His flirting with the England job was the final nail in the coffin for the veteran boss.
Chairman Daniel Levy was thought to have had enough of Redknapp and his antics within the media, often speculating on a new contract, whether he would like to coach the national team and the sales of the aforementioned prized trio. The matter reached a brim and finally on the 13th of June, Levy decided it was time to let go of Harry Redknapp, a decision welcomed by majority of the Tottenha fanbase.
His replacement was announced on July 3rd and came in the shape of Andre Villas-Boas. Fresh from his Chelsea sacking four months earlier, the 34-year-old was the favorite to succeed Redknapp from the day he was sacked. The supporter’s choice, if you are to believe certain Spurs quarters, and the man to bring long-term stability to White Hart Lane.
A day after his appointment, Tottenham confirmed they had agreed a fee with Bundesliga outfit 1899 Hoffenheim, believed to be around £8m, for the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic international enjoyed a prolific loan spell with Swansea City last term, netting seven goals in 19 games during the second half of the 2011/12 season.
His arrival was quickly followed up with that of Jan Vertonghen from Ajax, who had been heavily linked with a move to White Hart Lane for much of the summer. At one point, it looked as though the deal was set to stall and become a window-long affair, but Spurs managed to stave off serious competition from the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan and Barcelona for his signature.
Many felt it was a change in Levy’s usual tactics in the transfer window; hold fire until deadline day and pick up players on the cheap. Fans held their breath hoping for another signing; at the time it was a fresh announcement a day for Spurs, with Bale and Steven Caulker also extending their contracts at the club.
Yet, it wasn’t to come to fruition. As the hours turned to days, days to weeks; there was no sign of any possible incomer on the horizon. Speculation continued to circulate linking Modric with a move to Real Madrid, a transfer that would eventually come to fruition. However, that was to come about after the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Togolese front-man spent the 2011/12 season on loan at Tottenham, a spell that can be considered an unparalleled success having ended the campaign with 18 goals and 12 assists in all competitions. It was no surprise to see Spurs work hard to bring him back to North London on a permanent basis and with the transfer window drawing to a close; they managed to do just that.
Then came the Modric sale. It had been a long time coming, with the Croatia international reportedly going on strike in order to secure his move to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Nevertheless, Spurs fans sent him on his way with their blessings, confident in the knowledge that a replacement had been secured.
It came in the shape of Moussa Dembele. The Belgium international arrived from Fulham for a fee of £15m, possibly rising with bonuses, and his quality shone through on his debut, where he netted the opener against Norwich having come on from the bench for the injured Sandro. What followed was the regular madness surrounding Deadline Day, or what is more commonly coined now as ‘Levy Time’.
Rumours were abound last week of several high profile arrivals. First up was Hugo Lloris, current France captain and number one and, formerly, of Olympique Lyonnais. He was spotted at the Spurs lodge early in the afternoon amidst reports he was undergoing a medical with the club. His arrival was finally confirmed later that evening, with the 25-year-old securing his switch to White Hart Lane later that evening.
FC Porto star Joao Moutinho, who shone during the European Championship with Portugal, had been heavily linked with a summer switch to Tottenham, with Villas-Boas the man to have taken the 25-year-old to the Portuguese champions from Sporting in 2010. Many perceived him to be the Modric replacement and Twitter almost spontaneously combusted when news emerged that the North London side had agreed a club record £22m fee with Porto for his signature.
Spurs pressed, and pressed hard, for his signature, but much to the disappointment of the fans; the deal failed to come off. Personal terms were the initial stumbling block before reports of the third party ownership began to filter through to the media. A deal sheet is believed to have been in the offing, meaning the club could negotiate his transfer right up until 1am on the Saturday morning; two hours after the deadline had passed.
However, it wasn’t to be. Terms couldn’t be agreed and Spurs had missed out on their top target. Nevertheless, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for fans. News began to reach the supporters that the club had come to an agreement for the signing of Clint Dempsey from Fulham. Liverpool were thought to have been the front-runners for his signature, but failed to agree a fee for the USA international.
It was Spurs who came in with an 11th hour bid for the 29-year-old, thought to be in the region of £6m, for the attacking midfielder who has netted 36 goals in all competitions in the past two years. A shrewd piece of business by the club who earlier in the day lost both van der Vaart and Giovani Dos Santos to Hamburg and Real Mallorca, respectively.
On top of losing the aforementioned trio, Tottenham also sold Sebastian Bassong, Vedran Corluka, Steven Pienaar and Niko Kranjcar, released Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen and confirmed the immediate retirement of stalwart Ledley King.
All in all, it can be considered a successful window for Spurs. The sales of Modric and van der Vaart were a hammer blow, coupled with the retirement of King, but all in all, Villas-Boas and Levy strengthened adequately to cover for the departures. The return of Steven Caulker, who has been likened to King, will bolster the back-line that was recently dealt the hammer blow that Younes Kaboul has been ruled out for four months with a knee injury.
Vertonghen as well is an astute acquisition, considering the options he had available to him. Many have tipped the Belgian and Kaboul, once he returns from injury, to form the platform for the back-line in the future. With Lloris behind them, all have the perfect blend of youth and experience to succeed for years to come.
In the midfield, Dembele, Sigurdsson and Dempsey all bring a different creative aspect to their respective games, the latter two will ultimately bring goals from the midfield; something Spurs have lacked in recent seasons.
Further forward, Adebayor has proved time and time again he is capable to lead the front-line on his own and, regardless of the doubts that he won’t perform to the same expectations from last season, showed his class for Spurs as the previous stats outline.
One gets the feeling, however, that missing out on Moutinho is a massive blow to Tottenham. The need for a deep lying playmaker to make up for the sale of Modric was painstakingly evident against Norwich over the weekend, with the midfield lacking any real cohesion and creative spark in the middle of the park. However, Spurs will have to make do until January, where a move for Moutinho has again been mooted. Until then, Villas-Boas may persist with either Dembele or Sigurdsson in the pivot between the back-line and attacking quartet.