Mauricio Pochettino may have operated with one hand tied behind his back at times when it comes to signing players for Tottenham – but how have the transfers he has been able to complete fared?
Spurs famously failed to sign a single player in the summer of 2018 and followed that with a similarly fruitless January, only to sign two players in a day this summer.
Pochettino has now signed 25 players since taking over as manager in 2014, and we’ve ranked each of those signings, starting off with the stinkers.
Tottenham actually beat Arsenal to the €12million signing of N’Jie from Lyon, all for the sake of eight substitute appearances in the Premier League before he was sent back to Ligue 1.
Cameroon boss Hugo Broos offered an insight into why the winger’s move to north London possibly didn’t work out when accusing him of not working hard enough.
“He must change his attitude and put in the work required if he is to turn the qualities he possesses into success at the top level,” Broos said.
“Even Ronaldo or Messi are always working hard; him thinking that he’s the best doesn’t work, it doesn’t work in Marseille either.”
Clinton N'Jie's shot against Atlético Madrid in all its glory.
HOW? 😲😂 pic.twitter.com/JIXzNXn8xC
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 16, 2018
“I have not wasted my time in England.” As far as an evaluation of your time at a club goes, Stambouli’s doesn’t sound too promising.
Stambouli arrived at White Hart Lane with a burgeoning reputation after helping Montpellier win Ligue 1 and often captaining the side at the age of 23.
But the midfielder failed to make an impression at Spurs and was sold after just one season, somehow at a profit, to PSG, where he also lasted a solitary campaign.
We have an element of sympathy for Janssen as being a back-up striker for a team who don’t really play to your strengths seems like a hard gig. But it’s made even harder by the fact Janssen is just a bit…erm…crap.
To be fair to 24-year-old, he deserves plenty of credit for somehow wrangling the No.9 shirt for the second half of the 2018-19 season despite not appearing for the side since August 2017.
This is a bit awkward because Fazio has generally been quite good since leaving Tottenham – Gabriel Batistuta even named his fellow Argentine among some of the best defenders in the world in 2017.
But getting sent off twice within the first four months of his Spurs career set a tone which never really changed.
In 2015, Yedlin arrived at Tottenham as a very fast, young player who lacked the technical and tactical qualities to really shine at the highest level of the game.
In 2016, Yedlin left Tottenham as a very fast, young player who lacked the technical and tactical qualities to really shine at the highest level of the game.
In 2019, Yedlin remains a very fast, albeit not-so young player who lacks the technical and tactical qualities to really shine at the highest level of the game.
Burnt by the signing of a young, unproven winger from Ligue 1, Spurs decided to replace Clinton N’Jie with Nkoudou, a young, unproven winger from Ligue 1.
Remarkably, the former France youth international is still technically a Spurs player, and he bumped himself up this list thanks to his self-effacing follow-up to assisting Harry Winks’ late winner against Fulham in a rare Premier League appearance.
Helloooo u remember me ? 🙈🙈 #COYS
— GK NKoudou (@gknkoudou) January 20, 2019
Lopez never actually played for Tottenham, but he did give our good friend Matt Stead at Football365 the opportunity to regularly upset people by writing that the goalkeeper was an Irishman called Paul O’Pez.
Plus, he was only ever signed on loan to be third-choice goalkeeper so, unlike some of the others, at least he didn’t do anything wrong.
He’s yet to play for Spurs, but an 18-year-old who collapsed after being subbed off at half-time in one of only five career starts is still better than Clinton N’Jie.
See above – but with a better pedigree.
Son Heung-min’s best friend, Wimmer’s post-Spurs career has somewhat tainted his reputation as the defender has struggled at Stoke City and Hannover.
But the Austria international initially impressed for Tottenham after being thrust into the starting XI following an injury to Jan Vertonghen, helping Spurs win six, draw two and lose just one of a nine-game run in the team, earning himself a new five-year deal in the process.
Starting a petition to re-sign Kevin Wimmer for the sole purpose of keeping Son happy, if anyone is interested. https://t.co/z9L7lKCyiB
— James Harris (@JamesCHarris97) February 3, 2019
Michel Vorm is fine and these kind of signings are boringly necessary. Sorry.
We also really enjoyed his explanation for signing a new deal at the club in the summer of 2018: “I didn’t have other options.”
Seems a bit of a d*ckhead and was quite an expensive signing from PSG, but it really doesn’t take much to get to No.14 on this list.
Watching Llorente for Spurs has at times been pretty uncomfortable.
We’ve already said with regards to Janssen that playing as a back-up striker and being expected to score goals when thrown into a team which hardly plays to your strengths, with little match practice, must be pretty difficult.
And Llorente has indeed made it look pretty difficult. But he’s also scored a few goals – as he has done throughout a career for Europe’s biggest teams – and his hold-up play is excellent.
Maybe we’re just being far too generous because he’s quite handsome.
Having to wait over a year to make your Premier League debut is hardly ideal. Conceding two penalties on your Premier League debut is certainly less than ideal.
But Foyth has bounced back to a daunting start to life in north London – and being a 21-year-old Argentina international sounds like the kind of Football Manager sh*t which comes off.
Mauricio Pochettino seems to really like Gazzaniga, who hails from the same town in Argentina as the Spurs boss and also played under him at Southampton.
“It was a bit crazy,” Gazzaniga told ESPN last year. “Mauricio had a relationship with my granddad and especially my dad, because they played against each other with Instituto and Newell’s Old Boys, and my uncle went to school with him when they were children. It was a big coincidence.”
And while the goalkeeper has only appeared 12 times for Spurs, he has increasingly impressed, especially with his ball-playing ability.
Injuries have blighted Wanyama’s past two seasons with Spurs, but the former Southampton man starred for the club in his debut campaign after joining for only £11million, helping the north Londoners finish second in the Premier League.
Quite frankly, we would have paid £11million for this goal alone.
One year ago today, Victor Wanyama delivered the ball back into the Liverpool net with real interest. pic.twitter.com/nku4aiyZW6
— The Football Ramble (@FootballRamble) February 4, 2019
For a long while it looked like Sissoko would be at the other end of this list, hovering somewhere around Stambouli and Fazio.
After all, for a club which hardly splashes the cash, a £30million outlay on a player who started just eight Premier League games in his debut campaign tends to suggest a bit of a f*ck up.
But, slowly but surely, Pochettino has begun to iron out the inconsistency and unpredictability and turn Sissoko from a punchline of a right winger into a combative, all legs and lungs central midfielder.
And it’s worked.
Essentially a more established, and more expensive, Juan Foyth. Still only 22, Sanchez admittedly has his ups and downs but appears well set to step up when either Jan Vertonghen or Toby Alderweireld leave the club.
Trippier hasn’t been able to maintain his 2017-18 form since the World Cup, but perhaps the right-back used up a career’s worth of highs in Russia.
But, like Wanyama, his dip in form shouldn’t mask the excellent value he has provided having joined for only £3.5million from Burnley.
An incredibly polarising player among Tottenham’s support, Davies suffers from the fact he does not offer the same dynamism going forward as Danny Rose.
But the Wales international has largely established himself at left-back ahead of Rose over the past two seasons, and we’re not quite sure how a player who seems to have been around forever is still just 25, too.
There was plenty of excitement when Spurs parted with £25million to land the forward from PSG, but it took the Brazil international six months to adapt to English football.
After initially underwhelming, Moura shone in his first full season, most notably scoring that incredible second-half hat-trick at Ajax to fire Spurs to the Champions League final.
We were tempted to make him No.1 for his reaction alone.
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) May 9, 2019
Another player who seems to attract both over-the-top praise and criticism, Dier generally does what all defensive midfielders do and also offers the versatility of being able to drop back into defence.
A largely unknown £4million signing from Sporting Lisbon going on to appear over 200 times and becoming an established England international generally signifies a very good signing.
It’s easy to forget quite how complicated a transfer saga Alderweireld’s signing became for Tottenham, with the defender joining from Atletico Madrid despite Southampton wanting to exercise their option to sign the player on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell.
The £11.4million deal was worth all the headaches, however, as he quickly struck up one of the best defensive partnerships in the league with fellow Belgian and former Ajax team-mate Jan Vertonghen.
Quite possibly the most fun and undoubtedly one of the most brilliant footballers in the Premier League.
Thank God they didn’t sell him after a difficult first season. We absolutely love him.
Some weirdos don’t like him, but let’s just face it: Dele Alli is a really good footballer. And let’s also remember he was signed for just £5million.