Successful summer to spur Tottenham on to the next level
On the whole, Daniel Levy will be happy with his summer business in the transfer window. The Tottenham chairman’s effective streamlining of his squad, which included offloading a number of flops and recruiting quality in key positions seems as though it could start to pay off.
Spurs moved relatively early to secure deals for their main targets and were able to bring in Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer, Kieran Trippier and Dele Alli, with Mauricio Pochettino identifying a need to strengthen his rearguard.
However, with a number of players considered surplus to requirements, Aaron Lennon, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Lewis Holtby, Benjamin Stambouli, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul were all sold.
With a striker considered their main priority throughout the summer, West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino was persistently pursued. Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace was unwavering in his insistence that the 22-year-old would not leave for a penny less than £25m and admirably, stuck to his guns, though Spurs had lined up contingencies.
Somewhat underwhelmingly, in came France prospect Clinton Njie from French outfit Lyon and although blessed with potential, he is one for the future.
Not long before the end of the transfer window, it seems Spurs landed a credible coup. Arriving from Bayer Leverkusen for £22m, South Korean striker Son Heun-Min looks the real deal. Also possessing the versatility to operate on the wing, the 23-year-old has been an instant hit.
Bagging a brace in his new side’s Europa League 3-1 win over Qarabag, he followed this up with a winner in his club’s derby over Crystal Palace.
While Tottenham arguably need another striker, there are plenty of positives to take from the start to their season. Pochettino has built from the back and are much harder to beat than they were before, due in no small part to the highly effective defensive partnership between compatriots Jan Vertonghen and Alderweireld, who have provided a platform on which an effective team can be built.
Not forgetting the commanding presence of Hugo Lloris in goal, they have the start of a very strong spine which is beginning to pay dividends.
Utilising versatile defensive option Eric Dier as a midfield anchorman has proved somewhat of a masterstroke and it is also encouraging for England, should Roy Hodgson decide to also explore this alternative.
Fans are also starting to see the quality and potential of Argentine Erik Lamela, who under compatriot Pochettino has been nurtured in the right way. He, Nacer Chadli provide Spurs with genuine, quality width, while Son can also play out wide.
It is likely that Levy will return with a bid for Berahino that meets his employers’ asking price, however, whether the relationship is beyond repair between the two clubs remains to be seen. However, Spurs appear to have a more compact togetherness about them again and this can only be a positive sign for the rest of the campaign with the club 18/1 with Coral to win the Europa League.