by Tony Attwood
If you are a regular Untold reader you’ll know that we run the Arsenal Transfer Index which tracks all the players Arsenal are tipped to be signing this summer. The latest edition showed 70 players tipped to come to Arsenal, and 19 said to be leaving. For comparison last season the final index at the end of August found articles showing every player on the books was going, and 114 were arriving. We actually signed three.
This season we’ve added a rolling index of the players that have actually been signed so far by the seven top clubs from last season
It is of course early days as yet but the current figures show
- Arsenal: 2
- Chelsea: 2
- Manchester City: 2
- Manchester United: 1
- Liverpool: 2
- Tottenham: 0
- Everton: 7
Now the reason for this chart was the argument that Arsenal are always far too slow in signing players and that (by implication) everyone else was always ahead of the game. Indeed Charlie Nicholas has already made that point again this summer.(!) I am not convinced by that at all, and of course we all know that the key point is the squad you end up with at the end of August.
But I wondered about Tottenham. No signings (at least none according to the source that I have been using). So I went and had a look on the NewsNow feed for Tottenham to see what they have been saying.
There are indeed transfer stories there: in the last hour as I write this there have been these…
That is six stories in the last hour – on the Arsenal site there were ten about Arsenal. Of course that is not to say Tottenham rumour mongers are not active. It is just one sample for one hour on a Saturday morning.
In the last six hours there have been 79 stories on the Arsenal News Now site while for Tottenham the number is 51 – which suggests that just this morning, Tottenham news is running at 65% of Arsenal news.
This perhaps is what we would expect given the hysteria that the Commentariat whip up around Arsenal, and all the crisis talks that always surround Arsenal. Also Arsenal’s coming second in 2015/16 was seen by most of the Commentariat as an abject failure, while Tottenham coming in the runner’s up spot last season was seen by many as a triumph to be celebrated.
And let’s be fair, their achievement reflected in goal difference alone was spectacular with the most goals scored and fewest conceded. But Chelsea were seven points ahead of Tottenham, and Chelsea is once again buying. And to give all the comparisons, Arsenal were ten points behind the winners of the league the season before in that highly criticised second place. So not a huge difference in achievements, but a mega difference in reactions to it.
So are Tottenham right to take it easy in the market? In one sense yes, because as I argued at the start, I don’t buy into the issue of the need to get all the transfers wrapped up early. It’s good for the training process, but I think it is hard to achieve especially if the sellers are playing hardball.
However one of the articles on the NewsNow list “Tottenham Hotspur: Improving squad depth is the key to winning the Premier League” is reminiscent of what we see 20 times a day on the Arsenal article list (it starts “If Spurs want to win the Premier League, they have to spend their money better than they did last summer”). So maybe the discussion is starting.
There are articles about possible transfers in, and about predatory clubs circling around Tottenham players but there is none of the over the top hype that one sees all the time on the Arsenal article list. I think I’ll need to review a few more lists of articles for other clubs to start to understand why, but that is certainly as I see it this morning.
So do Tottenham need new players? Is everything perfect? Is the squad depth perfect? Are they plotting the perfect amazing transfer deal of the type Arsenal used to do, when we regularly joked that Mr Wenger’s next signing will be of an unknown left footed Peruvian goalkeeper who he will convert to the greatest right winger the club has ever seen. That is certainly how it used to seem when the failed winger we’d never heard of called Terry Enry came along and looked pretty lost for the first seven games or so.
If Tottenham have got that sort of scouting going on, then by the end of the window they’ll have turned the numbers around, but I wonder about two things.
First, as you will know if you are a regular reader, I’ve wondered a lot about Tottenham’s finances going forward. The cost of the stadium, originally noted as being the same as Arsenal’s although without the bonus of as much valuable land to sell off for housing, has more than doubled and extra bank loans have been sought. Maybe that will not restrict Tottenham’s transfer policy as it did Arsenal’s for all those years, but if not, it would be good to know why and how. It’s going to be a pretty clever trick if it is pulled off, and a model for aspiring clubs without governmental, Russian or Chinese owners.
Second Tottenham have the move to Wembley, and thus far their results at Wembley have not been very good.
|2008/09||Man Utd||Lost on penalties||League Cup|
|2009/10||Portsmouth||Lost 2-0||FA Cup|
|2011/12||Chelsea||Lost 5-1||FA Cup|
|2014/15||Chelsea||Lost 2-0||League Cup|
|2016/17||Monaco||Lost 2-1||Champions League|
|2016/17||Bayer Leverkusen||Lost 1-0||Champions League|
|2016/17||CSKA Moscow||Won 3-1||Champions League|
|2016/17||Gent||Drew 2-2||Europa League|
|2016/17||Chelesa||Lost 2-4||FA Cup|
Of course this might well be a fluke – one of those odd runs that just goes wrong, a bit like Arsenal’s run last season of 12 games with just four wins.
|31 Jan 2017||Arsenal v Watford||Lost 2-1||Premier League|
|04 Feb 2017||Chelsea v Arsenal||Lost 3-1||Premier League|
|11 Feb 2017||Arsenal v Hull City||Won 2-0||Premier League|
|15 Feb 2017||Bayern München v Arsenal||Lost 5-1||Champions League|
|20 Feb 2017||Sutton United v Arsenal||Won 2-0||FA Cup|
|04 Mar 2017||Liverpool v Arsenal||Lost 3-1||Premier League|
|07 Mar 2017||Arsenal v Bayern München||Lost 5-1||Champions League|
|11 Mar 2017||Arsenal v Lincoln City||Won 5-0||FA Cup|
|18 Mar 2017||West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal||Lost 3-1||Premier League|
|02 Apr 2017||Arsenal v Manchester City||Drew 2-2||Premier League|
|05 Apr 2017||Arsenal v West Ham United||Won 3-0||Premier League|
|10 Apr 2017||Crystal Palace v Arsenal||Lost 3-0||Premier League|
Arsenal came out of that awful run, as you will recall, through the simple expedient of changing the format of the defence and going to five at the back. But to do that Arsenal had a large squad – a full 25 players in the permitted “25” and four under 21s who could step up.
Tottenham however registered a squad of just 20 players last season. Of course that can’t be knocked – they came second in the league and we came fifth. But having a lower number does mean a certain degree of hopefulness that none of the key players get seriously injured and all will retain their quality (and it is not just Arsenal players who occasionally seem to lose it over the summer).
So I’m really not trying to write a “let’s knock Tottenham” article – and of course I will never hide from the fact that we have published some of those in the past – it is part of running a football blog. But this time I am puzzled. Puzzled by the lack of activity, and puzzled by the lack of concern at the activity.
Last summer Tottenham spent around £71 million and brought in…
|Player(s)||Age||Moving from||Transfer fee|
And of course there is always the possibility that they simply don’t need anyone at all. Let the rest of the league spend their millions of pounds – Tottenham are in fine shape. It is possible – although that Wembley pitch would worry me – just as it did in the two seasons we played our European games there.
- Which clubs have been the most active in bringing players in so far this transfer window
- Alexandre Lacazette. Why him? Did Arsenal really need a clinical striker?
- Arsenal start clearing out the unwanted players while rebuilding the management structure
- Gordon Rahere Hoare: the Arsenal player who transferred 23 times.
- Jackie Chalmers: the man who rescued Arsenal, but then rode back to the north.
- Beyond any doubt Infantino is getting his way. Next: Fifa will leave Zurich
- World Cup chaos: the bits you may have missed
- Fifa establish their unchallengable right to change football rules as they go
- Extraordinary report claims Arsenals’ FA Cup win was not a major trophy!
- 2022/23 Women’s Champions League Juventus v Arsenal – match preview