Spurs missed out on Champions League qualification by one point in the 2012/2013 season, with a total of 72 points – the highest point total for a top flight team outside of the top four – ensuring Balemania would start as soon as the last kick of a ball was kicked at White Hart Lane.
Zinedine Zidane, Florentino Perez and Gareth Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, came out of the woodwork as early as June, with rumours flying around about the Welshman making a move to the Bernabeu.
But while the Bale saga was just starting, the Tottenham trio of Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Andre Villas-Boas were adamant that Bale wouldn’t leave, while Villas-Boas put forward his targets to Levy, and Baldini did the rest.
Spurs have had the best transfer window of the Premier League lives, but the start of the transfer window saw Spurs linked with David Villa and Christian Benteke. The Spaniard decided to stay in Spain and sign for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, and Belgian striker Christian Benteke decided to sign an extension on his contract at Villa Park.
An evaluation is needed after Tottenham’s busy transfer window, Spurs have signed a total of seven players, gained Andros Townsend and Danny Rose back from their loan spells, while selling their star man Gareth Bale, and nine other departures from around the squad, it seems from early finance statistics, that Spurs have broke even, or even made a profit with their departures and incomings. According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Tottenham’s total expenditure came to £107m, while their departures came to £111m.
Gareth Bale: The best Spurs player the fans have seen at White Hart Lane in decades, and can be argued the best player they have ever seen, judged on his ability alone. His ‘boyhood dream’ move to Madrid came towards the end of the transfer window, although it looks like the deal was sorted out months beforehand, but strategic commercial ploys and the need for Spurs to buy players delayed the transfer until the last possible moment. A reported £86 million, that’s right EIGHTY-SIX MILLION POUNDS, for the Welshman to leave White Hart Lane for the Galacticos. How could Levy not accept that?
Clint Dempsey left for MLS side Seattle Sounders for £8m, while he was never a signing Spurs fans really wanted, nor needed, the American scored important goals for Spurs throughout the season, against both Manchester sides. Stoke City, Southampton and FC Basel.
Steven Caulker, Scotty Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore all departed for Cardiff City, Fulham and Hull City respectively. While, Parker had a brilliant first season at White Hart Lane, his second season under Andre Villas-Boas was poor, but that was partly because he didn’t have the creative mind of Luka Modric alongside him. Parker was known through out the season as Scott ‘Xbox 360’ Parker, due to his 360 degree pivot on the pitch near enough every game. Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore left for Hull City to gain more games and more Premier League experience, Huddlestone on a permanent move for around £5m and Livermore on loan to Steve Bruce’s side, both will drastically improve their midfield.
One departure left most Spurs fans flabbergasted, including myself. The departure of Steven Caulker came as a shock, mostly because Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson are fairly injury prone, and because William Gallas left the club on a free transfer. Big things were expected of Caulker at N17, after an impressive first season at Swansea under Brendan Rodgers, he returned to White Hart Lane with Villas-Boas at the helm. Caulker made 18 Premier League appearances, but Villas-Boas must have seen something in Caulker that he did not like.
Billy Gallas and David Bentley left on free transfers, both of which were on huge wages. Iago Falque left for Rayo Vallecano. Fan favourite Benoit Assou-Ekotto seems to have been pushed out of the Spurs set-up and has joined QPR on loan, while Tom Carroll has also joined Redknapp’s revolution at QPR. Carroll is highly regarded by Villas-Boas and Spurs fans, and most hoped for a Premier League loan move, but he has been given the number 10 shirt at QPR, indicating he may be a key part of QPR’s promotion chase.
As stated earlier, Spurs have had an incredible summer in terms of signings, seven in fact, arriving from Ligue 1, Eredivisie, La Liga, Serie A, Brasilerao and the Romanian Liga.
The first of Spurs’ seven signings. The Brazilian broke the Spurs transfer record for the first time of this transfer window. Paulinho had a brilliant 2012/2013 campaign, winning the FIFA Club World Championship with Corinthians with a win over Chelsea in the final, and was an integral part of Brazil’s Confederations Cup success in June. Paulinho’s versatility is the area that Villas-Boas wants in his Spurs team this season, with the Portuguese manager setting up in a 4-3-3 formation. The Brazilian international is comfortable with the defensive and attacking transitions in midfield, which is shown in his 34 goals in 167 appearances for Corinthians. Paulinho has started all three Premier League games this season for Spurs.
The £26m signing from Valencia, at that time, was Spurs most expensive transfer in their history. And for a reason, too. Soldado scored 24 goals from 100 shots in La Liga, a 24% chance conversion. Soldado scored 80 goals in 146 appearances for Valencia from 2010-2013 after signing from Getafe.
Tottenham have been without a proper number 9 since Dimitar Berbatov left for Manchester United in 2008. Soldado will be a great addition for the Spurs line up, the Spanish international is clinical in the box, while also holds up the play excellently. The Spurs fans have nicknamed the Spanish forward Bobby Soldier, and the striker has had an impressive start to his Spurs career with 4 goals in 3 games.
Alth0ugh, he has scored 4 goals in 3 games for the North London outfit, it’s safe to say that the team are not currently playing to his strengths, as shown in the Arsenal game, the ball was lumped up to him to challenge for the ball aerially, which is simply not his strength, the acquisitions of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, will help Soldado in terms of chances created for the striker.
This transfer came out of the blue to many Spurs fans, as usually newspaper journalists report any potential interest in new signing.
Chadli plied his trade in Eredivisie for FC Twente, and during his time in Holland, the Belgian winger scored 31 goals in 106 appearances, and played Champions League football for the Dutch side, and were in the same group as Spurs in the 2010/2011 season – Chadli scored two goals against Spurs in that Champions League campaign.
FC Twente won 65% of games in the Eredivisie last season when Nacer Chadli played. Without him, they only won 25%. (via Opta Sports)
Chadli has had a fairly impressive start to his Spurs career, but tends to shoot waywardly in his first three games, but has created (9) total chances in his three games for Spurs, (6) of those in Spurs 1-0 win over Swansea.
The ex-Toulouse and current French international joined Spurs for an estimated £9m, and despite heavy interest from Cardiff City, Capoue chose Spurs over the Premier League new boys.
Standing at 6ft 2′, Capoue made 174 appearances for Toulouse. The Frenchman primarily plays as a defensive midfielder, anchoring the midfield with intelligent passing play, immense defensive capabilities, the ability to read the game and has added to goals to his game.
In the 2012/2013 season, Capoue scored 7 goals from defensive midfield, and assisted three goals. Capoue had an 80.3% passing accuracy in Ligue 1 last season, while also averaging 2.6 winning tackles, 2.6 interceptions and averaged 3.5 successful aeriel duels per game.
The Frenchman will add further steel to a midfield that boasts the likes of Sandro, Mousa Dembele and Paulinho.
Capoue sustained an injury in the North London derby, and according to reports he will face four weeks on the sidelines, although it was feared it could have been a lot longer. In three appearances, Capoue had made (13) interceptions.
Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches
Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are the two signings that Spurs fans have been the most excited about, these players are proper Spurs players, in terms of the attacking and creativity ability that they have.
The trio signed from Ajax, AS Roma and Steaua Bucharest respectively, for a combined fee of £50m. Eriksen has reportedly cost Spurs £11m, an absolute bargain for someone of his ability in the game, Lamela has signed for a reported £26m, with £4m in add-ons, and defender Chiriches has signed for £8m. Eriksen has been an integral part of Ajax’s side since joining in 2008, scoring 32 goals in 161 games for the Eredivisie side, and has been a key component of their last two title winning campaigns. Before joining Spurs this summer, Eriksen scored two goals and created three goals in four appearances before moving to White Hart Lane.
According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Eriksen has created 51 goals for his Ajax team-mates since 2009, an outstanding amount of assists, the last two seasons he created (17) in the 2012/2013 season and (19) in the 2011/2012 season.
Erik Lamela has been given the number 11 shirt at N17, the heir to Gareth Bale’s throne, was initally thought to be the heir to Francesco Totti’s throne at AS Roma. The AS Roma fans were dismayed that the club sold their prize asset to Spurs. Ex-Roma Technical Director, now Spurs Director of Football, Franco Baldini brought Erik Lamela to AS Roma from River Plate in 2011. His first season at the Stadio Olimpico was his ‘finding his feet’ season, scoring four goals and creating seven assists in 29 appearances. His 2012/2013 campaign was the season where people really started to take notice of his ability. Primarily a right winger, coming in on his left foot (not too distant from Bale’s play), the Argentinian scored 15 goals and created five goals in 33 appearances.
According to WhoScored, Lamela completed (3) dribbles per game, (1.7) key passes per game, and created (9) clear cut chances.
Vlad Chiriches, the Romanian centre-back, joined from Steaua Bucharest, along with Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela.
His play has been likened to that of Jan Vertonghen, a player who is comfortable bringing the ball out of defence, and is confident enough to see a pass.
Signing of the summer? Franco Baldini. Without this guy, Spurs would have most likely reverted to their usual Deadline Day antics, instead they had a structure in place, and bought fantastically well.
So, how will Andre Villas-Boas shape his side over the forthcoming season? Will he play 4231 or 433?
Here is my idea of what team Andre Villas-Boas will field this season.
Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend will fight for a place on the wing, while Christian Eriksen and Lewis Holtby will fight for the place to support Roberto Soldado from midfield.
This is my Spurs first XI, what’s yours?