Tottenham don't need to splash the cash - Kane and Alli are proof of that
No new signings for manager Mauricio Pochettino so far, as club seem set to go with what they have for 2017/18 season.
You should never read too much into results of pre-season friendlies. As lucrative as it has become to travel all corners of the globe in match-ups that wouldn't look out of place in the Uefa Champions League, few managers treat them as anything more than tune-ups for the season ahead, even if the standard of opposition is several galaxies higher than that of Boreham Wood or Forest Green Rovers.
While Arsenal went to Australia then to China to take on Bayern Munich and Chelsea, Liverpool joined Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion in contesting the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong. Tottenham Hotpsur have headed to North America, joining Premier League rivals Manchester City and Manchester United. Waiting for them were such luminaries as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
Tottenham kicked off their whistle stop tour with a thrilling 4-2 victory over PSG in Orlando on Saturday, punctuated by a goal from Christian Eriksen that belongs firmly in the highlights reel marked "worldies".
And while the gradual acceptance is that far-flung tours are done out of commercial necessity, most clubs are judged on the money they spend on new signings rather than the cash they hoard from playing in front of new audiences.
Take Tottenham as an example. A quick glance at the "ins" column makes for quick reading, with no players signed in this transfer window thus far. The outgoings shows Kyle Walker, Nabil Bentaleb, Clinton N'Jie, Federico Fazio and Pau Lopez all heading for pastures new. The lack of new faces has caused some consternation in some quarters, although most of it is not emanating from inside the Spurs camp.
While Manchester United have splashed £75 million (Dh358m) plus add-ons for Romelu Lukaku, Manchester City looking like breaking the transfer record for defenders twice in as many weeks for Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy, and even Everton forking out close to £100m on new players, silly season is in full swing.
Mauricio Pochettino has guided Spurs to third and second-place finishes the past two seasons, finishing 10 and seven points behind the eventual champions, Leicester City and Chelsea, respectively. Their haul of 86 points last season was the club's highest. Their 156 points accrued over the past two seasons is 11 points more than their closest challengers, Arsenal.
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There is a case to be made that over the course of two seasons they have been England's best team, and yet they have nothing to show for it. So, the theory goes, they need to add to a squad if they are to win trophies.
But a look back on Spurs splashing the cash in pursuit of glory reads like a financial crash. Indeed Pochettino's recruitment success is patchy at best. While Son Heung-min, Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama have proved an undoubted success, and Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier to lesser extents, Moussa Sissoko, Vincent Janssen, N'Jie, Fazio, Georges-Kevin N'koudou, Kevin Wimmer, Benjamin Stambouli and Michel Vorm have not.
French midfielder Sissoko became the club's record signing last summer when signed from Newcastle United for £30m and barely played. Dutch striker Janssen is the club's sixth biggest transfer of all time at £18.8m and has mustered a miserly two Premier League goals.
A look at the club's 10 biggest transfers shows the manager is right to show reluctance in the transfer market. Save for Son (4), Luka Modric (8) and Mousa Dembele (10), the club has witnessed the spectacular decline of Sissoko, Roberto Soldado, Darren Bent, David Bentley and Paulinho. The jury is still out on Erik Lamela.
So while there is general agreement that the squad lacks something, signing players for big money is not necessarily the answer. Indeed Spurs' two biggest success stories over the past two season have been the result of careful nurturing in their youth system and expert recruitment in the lower leagues. Harry Kane's 29 goals carried him to the Golden Boot last season. Alli, a £5m purchase from Milton Keynes Dons that will surely go down as the deal of the century, enhanced an already impressive reputation with 18 league goals last term to add to the 10 in his debut season.
And while fans may have genuine concerns about how the team will perform at Wembley Stadium this season while White Hart Lane is redeveloped, their is acceptance that the manager and club are right not to make wholesale changes to one of the best squads in the division.
The success of Kane and Alli serves to expose the comedy value to silly season. Indeed Eriksen, one of seven recruits when he joined the club in the summer of 2013 for another fee that looks a steal at £12m, said that the mindset of spend, spend, spend was very much an English mantra.
"It’s an English thing isn’t it. It’s an English thing where you have to spend money to win something, apparently."
The 25-year-old Dane has seen plenty of players come and go during his four-year stay. Perhaps this season will be one of just seeing familiar faces.
Updated: July 23, 2017 12:19 PM