Tottenham Hotspur: Life after Bale

Another summer filled with anxiety and huge speculation surrounding Tottenham’s star man Gareth Bale’s future. The predictable occurred and he left a couple of days before the close of the summer transfer window for a world record fee of £85 million to Real Madrid. With four more key outgoings, Tottenham received £110 million in transfer fees allowing manager Andre Villas Boas with plenty of money to spend in the remainder of the window.

That money was reinvested and AVB now had over £100m worth of talent at his disposal after bringing in Paulinho,  £17m from Corinthians, Christian Eriksen (Ajax £11.5m), Roberto Soldado (Valencia £26m), Nacer Chadli (FC Twente £7m), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse £9m), Vlad Chiriches (Steaua Bucharesti £8.5m) and Erik Lamela Roma £30m bringing the total spending to £109 million.

On 6 July 2013, Tottenham Hotspur announced the signing of Paulinho after he successfully completed his medical, at the time, a club record fee of around £17 million pounds for the Brazilian Confederations cup star.  After seeing him perform so well for his country there was an extreme buzz around White Hart Lane at the prospect of seeing a top international play for them. He was branded as the ‘Brazilian Frank Lampard’ a goal scoring midfielder who loves to get forward and into the box. He recorded his first goal for the club in the last minute of the game against Cardiff with an audacious back heal to secure the three points for the club. Paulinhos time at Spurs has been extremely quiet with some fans curious what his role in the side is. He currently has 6 goals and 3 assists in 29 games, an extremely unsatisfactory return bearing in mind the amount of money the club funded for him.

Next was Nacer Chadli who arrived in mid-July whilst the team were on a pre-season tour of Asia, the Belgium international arrived from FC Twente for £7 million pounds. Like the majority of the new signings Chadli has also struggled to uphold a firm starting role at the club. A combination of injury and poor form meaning he has only started 10 league games up to now.

The third man to join the club was Roberto Soldado, a man that has scored 102 goals in his last four seasons. The season started tremendously scoring two penalties in two 1-0 wins for Spurs sandwiched amongst a brace in the Europa League taking his early season tally to 4 in 3 games, almost immediately becoming a fans favourite. Since then he has only managed four league goals in 7 months of Premier League action, two of which were penalties.  The dip in form has reduced his chances of making the Spain World Cup squad, particularly after missing out on last weeks friendly win over Italy in Madrid. If one occurrence could round up Roberto Soldado’s spell at Tottenham it would be the open goal miss from three yards in Ukraine against Dnipro which proved costly as Spurs went on to lose the first leg 1-0.

With £50 million pounds already spent including breaking the clubs record transfer fee twice , most thought the spending would die down, but it didn’t. Four days before the season begun French international Etienne Capoue was bought in from Toulouse for £9 million. It’s safe to say Capoue’s signature didn’t bring the Spurs supporters too much excitement, being largely required as protection for injury prone Mousa Dembele and Sandro. Due to injury and mostly being down the pecking order Capoue has struggled for consistent first team football starting just seven league games this term.

When Vlad Chiriches arrived at White Hart Lane from Steaua București for £8 million pounds no one believed he would play as much as he has and additionally the impact and unity he has bought to the back four. Vlad made his debut in a 4-0 Capital One Cup win at Aston Villa, only a couple of weeks later he was handed his Premier League debut once again at Villa Park winning the man of the match honour in a 2-0 win for Spurs. Vlad then went on to retain another two clean sheets in the following two league games guaranteeing his first four games for the club ended with 3 wins and a draw with zero goals conceded. His solidarity and partnership with Michael Dawson has come as a pleasurable surprise for the Spurs supporters.

Out of the seven summer additions made by Tottenham, Christian Eriksen has debatably made the biggest impression on the club. A fabulous assist and man of the match performance on his debut against Norwich in September thrilled the Spurs fans giving signs of what perhaps could be to come. Then came the frustration for Spurs fans as Eriksen’s next six matches delivered zero goals or assists, shortly after he got injured and missed the next five games. He returned just before the end of December when new manager Tim Sherwood was appointed. Spurs went on a run of 6 games unbeaten in which they took 16 points, the midfield man scoring three goals and also contributed three assists. Along with an inspiring performance in the Europa League last 32 picking up a goal and an assist turning round a 2-0 deficit winning the game 3-1.

A man that was tagged as Gareth Bale’s replacement.  Erik Lamela, the twenty two year old is currently Tottenham’s most expensive ever player costing £30 million from Italian side Roma, taking the clubs entire spending to £105 million. Disaster, calamity and nightmare are three appropriate words to sum the Argentinian internationals time at White Hart Lane. Starting a mere three league games, playing only 331 minutes this season, with an appalling 68 of those at home. The infuriating thing for Lamela and Spurs’ fans is that he hasn’t really been given the opportunity and when he has he has been thrown in at the deep end… e.g. Manchester away making his full debut, Fulham away and Southampton away, all tremendously difficult fixtures,.

With over £100 million being spent, money largely subsidized by the loss of Gareth Bale. In the middle of March, Spurs were 6 points off Champions League football, out of both domestic cups and out of Europe. It is safe to say that this money hasn’t been spent well with very little of the seven incomings having a major influence on the club.