Ranking Tottenham’s last 10 summer transfer windows from worst to best
It can be a rollercoaster ride being a Tottenham supporter – and that has been reflected by the wide range of success in the club’s summer transfer window dealings over the past 10 years.
Spurs have honed what was once a scattergun recruitment policy to efficiently sign players to fit the ethos of the team, but there have still been some bumps along the way in what has on the whole been a successful decade.
Here, we’ve ranked each of Spurs’ last 10 summer transfer windows from worst to best.
Three words. Gareth Bale money.
Having no choice but to sell the irrepressible Welshman to Real Madrid, owner Daniel Levy believed the best policy would be to use the £80million fee to strengthen the entire squad.
A sound business strategy that resulted in the arrival of *checks notes* Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli. Oh dear.
In fairness, the purchases of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela worked out rather better. For Eriksen alone we were tempted to bump this one up the list. But two out of seven in the window you sell your best player isn’t great.
Their scattergun approach to squad reinforcement that summer became infamous in football circles. So much so that Liverpool repeated the same trick with their Luis Suarez windfall the following year.
Spurs had just reached the Champions League final, but it was clear to most observers that Mauricio Pochettino’s players were exhausted after years of heavy pressing tactics and hard running. Major reinforcements were needed.
In reality, minor cosmetic surgery was the result. Tanguy Ndombele may turn out to an indispensable asset for Tottenham, but he was horrendously inconsistent throughout his debut season. Giovani Lo Celso too took time to get going, and Ryan Sessegnon barely played. On the flip side, Kieran Trippier was revitalised after moving to Atletico Madrid.
To nobody’s surprise, Pochettino was sacked in November. He could have survived with more appropriate backing.
Yes, the summer where Spurs signed and sold nobody was better than two other transfer windows.
Squad continuity is a valuable commodity in football, prized by all but achieved by seldom few. With retrospect, Tottenham could have done with some fresh legs as their run to the Champions League final masked the collapse of their league form in the second half of the season. There was also the factor of their sparkling new stadium to pay for.
But, as a final swansong for their best squad in a generation, the 2018-19 season was a fitting one for Spurs. Also, it was refreshing to see a side rise above the self-fetishising chaos of the transfer market.
We’ll give them a pass for this one and move on.
At this point, Tottenham were arguably the best team in the country. Their form over the second half of the 2016-17 season was sensational and only an equally impressive run by Chelsea earlier in the campaign denied them the title. Only minor tweaks were required.
That’s exactly what happened. Davinson Sanchez slotted in seamlessly at centre-back, and while Serge Aurier may be to composed defending what Richard Keys is to composed thought, he has proven a valuable right-back for the club.
Daniel Levy deserves a medal for forcing Stoke to pay £18million for Kevin Wimmer, but this summer also saw the departure of Kyle Walker. Despite demonstrating the full range of concentration levels during each game, Walker was a huge loss for Spurs.
As he walked into the training ground in Enfield, with the tactics room overflowing with boxes of Tim Sherwood’s gilets, the thoughts of new manager Pochettino must have been worth a penny or two.
The squad wasn’t in much better condition either, overstocked with superfluous purchases from the ghosts of Tottenham’s past. It would be too much to expect the Argentine to rectify the situation in one summer, but he did manage to sign Ben Davies and Eric Dier, who became mainstays. The less said about Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli the better.
The main clear out would come a year later, but the likes of Sando, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jake Livermore were moved on. But, the big successes were the signing of youngster Dele Alli and the full integration of a certain Mr. Harry Kane into the first team.
Not too bad.
After competing in the nosebleed territory of the title race for much of the season, Spurs eventually finished third behind Arsenal.
However, it was Tottenham who were the ascendant power in north London. The signings of Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama added extra bite to a midfield already existing on a diet of Red Bull and Smarties if the Battle of Stamford Bridge was anything to go by. Squad players such as Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard were sold for inflated fees.
So why is this summer not ranked higher? Vincent Janssen.
The Dutch striker ‘ticked all the boxes we needed’ according to his manager. Goodness knows what was on the shortlist.
The earliest year on this list and the final summer of Uncle Harry’s wheeler-dealing.
But as much as it’s amusing, the Del Boy moniker has always done Redknapp a slight injustice, and his signings in 2011 were the definition of canny. Departures included Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane, Jermaine Jenas, David Bentley, while Wilson Palacios was sold to Stoke for an eye-watering £10million.
Scott Parker, the previous season’s Football Writers Player of the Year, joined in a cut-price deal from relegated West Ham to add some fancy pirouettes into the Spurs midfield. Brad Friedel was snatched from the hands of the nearest retirement home, while Emmanuel Adebayor produced his best season in years – including four assists and one goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle.
Tottenham had an excellent team that season which was built entirely in Redknapp’s image.
In the equivalent of your daughter lurching from dating an Essex lad to settling down with a studious professor, Spurs swapped Redknapp for Andre Villas-Boas in the summer of 2012.
The Portuguese manager, who always had the air of a supply teacher, had plenty to prove after being spat out by Roman Abramovich the previous year. His transfer dealings in his first season represented a solid start.
Despite the loss of Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart, Villas-Boas managed to recruit Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele, who would all become White Hart Lane stalwarts. While the purchase of Clint Dempsey was less successful, it is worth remembering the USA international was an excellent Premier League performer at the time and Spurs did well to get him.
Even though the team became reliant on the magic of Gareth Bale, this summer transfer window should be considered a success on balance.
Whatever the faults of Jose Mourinho, he has always been successful in getting tight-fisted chairman to back him in the transfer market. The mind boggles at the charm Mourinho must have laid on Levy to get the Spurs owner to dust down the cobwebs and open his wallet.
It would seem as if Tottenham have astutely strengthened their squad. Solid Premier League performers such as Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have arrived, the latter demonstrating on-pitch leadership already. Joe Hart has also arrived to offer his special brand of earnest encouragement.
Sergio Reguilon should prove an upgrade at left-back, while the return of Gareth Bale has captured the imagination of Spurs supporters.
Time well tell, but it would seem as if Tottenham have their strongest squad since the peak of the Poch era.
The actions of Tottenham in the 2015 transfer window should be the prime example of how to remould your underperforming squad.
Out went *takes breath* Soldado, Paulinho, Aaron Lennon, Capoue, Chiriches, Stambouli, Lewis Holtby, Friedel, Adebayor and Younes Kaboul. The clear-out was more ruthless than Alan Sugar with a boardroom of incompetent Apprentice candidates and an itchy trigger finger.
Spurs continued their trend of signing roughly three good and two bad players. However, the signings of Kevin Wimmer and Clinton N’Jie are more than overshadowed by the arrivals of Son Heung-min, Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier.
For the first time in years it seemed as if Spurs had cracked the transfer market by signing young players with resale value who could grow with the club.
Therefore, as the catalyst for Tottenham’s best season in generations at the time, 2015 is the clear winner in this list.