At the final whistle of Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat of Sunderland, Chairman Daniel Levy appeared understandably despondent. Frustrated by the North London’s side’s continuous inability to better their local rivals and dejected at the prospect of yet another season of second tier European football.
Yet the proverbial finger of blame is largely pointed in his direction. Levy’s resounding influence over the transfer proceedings of the Lilywhites is well-documented, and his failure to secure the signatures of the players identified by his manager in both the summer and winter markets ultimately proved to be a fatal blow to a side that lacked the creativity and free-scoring edge of teams past.
Voices of disappointment from the Tottenham faithful slowly turned into one of optimism. Words of pride in their team’s record Premier League tally worked its way into conversations, whilst more defiant fans asserted that this season represented one of transition from the Redknapp regime. The reality remains however, that like last year, Tottenham missed a glaring opportunity to overhaul their London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea when they were at their lowest ebb and most vulnerable. Whether this chance re-presents itself in 2014 is an unknown. Critics will argue this appears unlikely with the impending figure of Jose Mourinho ominously hanging over Stamford Bridge, and a seemingly fiancially rejuvenated, re-focused and stable Gunners squad emerging. So where does this leave Villas-Boas’ side? In short – at the mercy of Daniel Levy and his billionaire boss Joe Lewis.
No longer can those in charge at the top afford to jeopardise the security of Champions League football by tying up transfer deals on August 31st. No longer can Tottenham afford to miss out on key players due to a restrictive wage structure or excessive frugality in the market. Villas Boas must now be financially supported to be able to form the team he has been seeking to form from his very first day. No longer can Spurs afford to incessantly lose players central to their progression – and in this instance, never has a player been more vital to Tottenham’s progression than Gareth Bale – and Levy will know this.
Embarrassingly premature judgements of a shift in the ’balance of power’ come from the dressing room at the slightest hint of good form. Having gone 7 points clear of Arsenal, Villas-Boas insisted that Arsenal were entering into a ‘downward spiral.’ Arsene Wenger’s side proceeded to collect 26 points from a possible 30 to deservedly take a Champions League position. Ironically, it was Tottenham, who fulfilled the prophecy of their manager. One would think it were now time that all the talk matches the walk.
Yet in reality this Tottenham squad is deceptively weak. An injury to Lennon upsets the balance and pace of the team. The absence of Dembele removes Tottenham of its midfield authority and without Gareth Bale, quite frankly, the team are unlikely to register a victory. Tottenham’s squad was indeed ill-prepared for the challenges of both European and domestic success, let alone prepared to consolidate the ‘North London power shift.’ Whether Levy understands this issue is an unknown.
This summer will either outline the true ambition of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club or show the North Londoners to be pretenders. Tradition must be temporarily abandoned, and the club’s prevalent motto must be put to the ultimate test. ‘Audere est facere’. To dare is to do. If Tottenham are to carry the slightest hint of a serious assault on the big time – their transfer policy must be equally as daring.