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October 2016
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Tiny worries: how things might not be working out perfectly for Tottenham

By Tony Attwood

What the newspapers don’t say has these days become more interesting than what they do say.   For example, the Independent is currently running the headline “Arsenal should look at United to see dangers of transfer failure” which might lead one to think that, at least in passing, they might consider the amount of money Arsenal and Man U spent last summer, and then consider where each club ended up in the league.

Last summer Man U had a net expenditure on players of £33.6m, and came fifth in the the league.  Arsenal spent under half that much (£15.6m) and came second.   Manchester Airport spent nine times as much as Arsenal (£124.4m) and came fourth.

But it was Tottenham who were the clever clogs in all this – managing to make a profit last summer on their transfer dealings of £6.7m, and they, as those of us who were present at the Aston Villa match might recall, came third.

All the way through the league, last summer, the summer before, and the summer before that, the amount of money spent on players bears no relationship to the position achieved in the league.  We’ve analysed it just on the amount spent, and on the net spend, and neither of them get us anywhere in terms of finding a link.

And yet day after day we are told not to believe the evidence of our own eyes – the numbers that are freely available – but believe instead that this year it will be different.  This year, for the first time, money will determine who wins the league.

So what does that mean for Tottenham?  Normally they do as they did last summer – make a bit of a profit on their transfer dealings.   I’m not too sure what Tottenham fans think of that, but I am sure that if they were Arsenal fans (which obviously they are not) they would be extremely angry.   Perhaps they are serenely happy to be making a profit.  It probably helps pay for the new stadium.

The news that “Tottenham’s attempt to sign Georges-Kévin Nkoudou is on the brink of collapse after a breakdown in negotiations with Marseille”  in the Guardian may be true, or may not be true (it was written by a newspaper journalist so there is no telling), but there is a bit of detail about a loan deal for Clinton Njie the other way.  But it seems Marseille “are unhappy with the structure of the payments being proposed by the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, having previously agreed to pay the majority of the fee up front.”

Now I am sure that Tottenham supporters being reasonable and chirpy chappies are quite ok with this, because Mr Levy has delivered unto them Champs League football without the necessity of a play off for the coming season.  But if this were Arsenal, there would be hell to pay, screaming abuse and wild rantings galore.

But although the supporters may be smiling and jolly at the thought of the season starting in the next few days, not everyone at the club is ok – according to “reports” as they say in the public houses next to our nation’s news offices.

Paul Mitchell , we are told, has resigned as Tottenham Hotspur’s head of recruitment.   He was whisked away from Southampton under two years ago, to have an overview on recruitment and analysis.  Apparently he got on fine with Mauricio Pochettino,.

It is said (and this might be wild speculation – how would I know), that he had had problems with Mr Levy who gets personally involved in player recruitment.   He was responsible for bringing in Toby Alderweireld and Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Clinton Njie, and maybe not all four were great successes.  But that happens.

This summer they have these transfers, as far as I know (but I may have missed someone)…

Vincent Janssen AZ Alkmaar £17m
Victor Wanyama Southampton £11m

As I say they may have brought some others, but at the moment they seem to have spent less than Arsenal, and Arsenal as we know refuse to spend anything.  £9m has been recouped by selling Alex Pritchard to Norwich.

Anyway, that story was in the Guardian.  But the Telegraph has something else saying, “Telegraph Sport understands that the club’s head of player identification, Rob Mackenzie, brought from Leicester City in February 2015 has also left Spurs, in his case for Derby County. He worked closely with Mitchell on scouting and profiling potential targets and was another major part of Mauricio Pochettino’s operation.”

And then, using the lingo that we have become familiar with in terms of criticising Arsenal they add, “The decision of Mitchell will once again call into question the role of chairman Daniel Levy among Spurs fans, amid claims the pair had fallen out and were barely on speaking terms.”

Interestingly it also seems that Leicester City don’t have a head of recruitment either.  So maybe this transfer window business isn’t quite as important as the media like to make out.

The Telegraph’s conclusion is that “Levy has always taken an active role in recruitment and transfer negotiations and that remains a problem for those who work in senior recruitment positions. Levy’s hardline stance on transfer negotiations and the club’s wage structure can make it difficult for Spurs to do business with clubs.”

Which seems quite interesting, because it now appears that the media are suggesting that both north London clubs have problems doing transfer business.

It is odd really, because according to the press, transfers are everything – the most important part of the season in fact.  But both north London clubs have problems with transfers, and Leicester don’t even have a head of recruitment.  Still I am sure all three of those clubs did very badly last season.  Let’s have a look at where they came.



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26 comments to Tiny worries: how things might not be working out perfectly for Tottenham

  • Druid

    This is saddening news – Not about Nkoudou- but about Levy.
    I truly believed that Levy had learned from previous blunders and failures to continue to be a tough negotiator but to stop meddling in the player selection process. It’s beginning to sound like the Levy of old has emerged to the detriment of a club who was almost there. Mitchell’s departure would appear to confirm this to be the case. If Levy is going to start meddling again; I suspect Poch will be moving on within a season or two. Daniel Levy is probably one of the best General Managers in football and one of the poorest football strategists anywhere.

  • ‘Paul Mitchell, we are told, has resigned as Tottenham Hotspur’s head of recruitment’ + ‘Interestingly it also seems that Leicester City don’t have a head of recruitment either’ = Paul Mitchell is going to Leicester.

  • Ramsey'shaircut

    I don’t care what other sides pay in transfers.

    I just want us to buy a different forward to take a bit of pressure of Giroud game after game.

    I also want us to sign a quality experienced CB to replace the injured Mert and Gabriel.

    If we do that I’m happy and I think we have a squad to compete.

  • Norman14

    Somewhere, Big Joe is sitting on his yacht playing with his puppets 😉

  • Leon

    Does anybody even care what goes on at WHL?

  • Spurs Ox

    Well written.

  • What a great article. Worth reading over all other “major” media outlets. Why can’t negatively delude Arsenal fans think on their own rather than regurgitate the trash fed to them by the attention hungry media outlets and agents.

  • Notoverthehill

    Haringey Council’s food health and hygiene officer said: “Mice droppings were noted behind chilled units, under sink shelving units and a behind door in the main kitchen.

    “It was apparent that the level of food hygiene awareness amongst Tottenham Hotspur staff was inadequate.”

    NOW, we know why Spurs lost at Newcastle?

  • westwing

    Tony cares more what happen everywhere except Arsenal where tiny thing has happened for 12 years and now 13. Nephew says maybe try writing a children book but maybe the babies will just cry.

  • Spursman79

    A fair comment imo, yes as a spurs fan it is frustrating to see your best players sold for huge profits and yet not spending big on a couple of much needed players, we haven’t signed a really good player which has got us excited since van def vaart, in all honesty we have been lucky to dig players like Kane out of the youth team and sign the likes of Alli and Dier on the cheap, I’m sure the new stadium is a major factor but with the money we have made from TV deals and sponsors over the last few years you would thi k we have almost paid for it but I’m sure Levy will use that excuse for not buying top players for at least the next decade, oh well at least we have a good team for now.

  • “Does anybody even care what goes on at WHL?”

    Yes, because we like to laugh. Don’t you?

  • Leon

    Uncle Mike
    That’s a good enough reason I suppose.
    There’s far too few of those (laughs) around right now.

  • colario

    We write of WHL

    Surely it is better to write of


    T he

    H orrible

    F ootball

    C lub.

  • Mick

    Re comment at 7.29pm
    The village idiot is here again spouting his nonsense.

  • para

    “Arsenal should look at United to see dangers of transfer failure”

    This headline could be also understood that Arsenal should be carefull not to follow Manu in their transfer policy because it seems to have not improved them. They even bought expensive players for their name only and have them on the bench as they were not performing. Many teams have improved so much that they are now a threat to the 3 “money clubs” who will not have it their own way anymore.

    Football is reclaiming it’s name, and the money clubs will have to put more faith in their academies as sooner than later the ridiculous prices start to drop again.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting. Levi certainly divides opinion….Most Spurs fans I know , including extended family are a bit wary of him, but the WOB seem to love him ……after getting all that money for Bale….then spending it. Then he bought in WOB hero…..Poch
    We live in strange times

  • Mandy Dodd

    ^ Levy even…..

  • Bob

    What do you pot care

  • Leon

    re your “village idiot” comment.
    Westwing is an elderly ex match going supporter (from the early ’60’s) with limited writing capabilities. I suspect he’s disabled in some way.

  • Mick

    If that is indeed the case then I apologize unreservedly for the comment.

  • Leon

    You & I started supporting regularly at that period, so were probably at the same games with him.
    I don’t know his full circumstances but he does appear to have some problems with writing, but his mind’s intact, he has a sense of humour & can spot BS.

  • finsbury

    Post-Brexit inflation in construction costs combined with a projected 30% drop in the hyper over inflated property rates which albeit inflated would’ve been used by those trustworthy and reliable consultants I’m sure that Levy’s blood pressure is just fine and dandy. LOL!

    Building football stadiums to budget in London is a peace of pish right?
    That’s why there’s only one new football stadium out three in london that was built to budget and not including overruns or refurbishment costs etc or *coughs* intriguing contracts, yup it must be easy to be the kind of football club that can convince giant companies to work on your build for free whilst you raise the finance unlike these other comparative projects eh? Resulting in a project delivered on time!

    Now why would these giant companies have trusted the Arsenal? Perhaps it might have something to do with the club’s reputation, a reputation not admired by football agents and their business partners in the media but admired by anyone that knows how to conduct real business (£200M on eleven CBs as at City is something but I’m not sure I’d use the word “business” to describe it! 😉 ).

  • Andy Mack

    As per Druids comment, I’d heard Levy had started playing well with other children at his playgroup. But I suspect the pressure of raising finance in difficult times is causing him to revert to his natural way to a certain degree.
    I’m not a fans of his (a friend tried to do business with him years ago and ended up going bust entirely because of Levy, with no benefit to Levy) however he’s a clever, but rather inconsiderate guy that’ll end up doing a decent job for them.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The Spuds aren’t all that bad . I remember an incident a few years ago when they contributed towards the medical bill of one of our players who was injured by one of their own . And done so spontaneously at that , as well as with so much gaiety and good cheer .

    Why some even seem to indicate that they would even give two Pounds , as they wagged their two fingers at Theo !

    And their feelings were truly hurt , when their actions were misconstrued and the bloody press reported that the Spuds fans threw coins at TW 14 to further injure him . And apparently they were not signaling two Pounds , with their flicking fingers motion !

    As a foreigner , I too was confused with the hand signals ! And I thought that Theo was being rather greedy when he asked for twenty Pounds . Or is his 2 and 0 sign with his hands indicate something else ? That did seem to rile them up !

    I truly have to put in an effort to learn sign language !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    If ever Theo Walcott gets a statue at the Ems , I suppose that I’d vote for this 2-0 gesture as an everlasting insult to the Spuds .
    At the very least he should get one of those huge posters , with the same sign as an honour for serving the club loyally for ten years .

    What about you ? How would love him to be depicted ?