Long Form: Assessing Tottenham’s Deadline Failures

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How Did Tottenham’s Summer Moves Work Out?

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That overhaul began – and unfortunately largely ended – with the backline. Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier were all brought in to a justified amount of fanfare. Tottenham’s defensive record had been utterly woeful for at least two seasons straight, so making these moves first seemed not only prudent but downright inspired. Mitchell seemed to have a plan and, with Levy’s support, the means to execute it.

Sometime in early August, though, the club appeared to revert back to its old self. Clinton Njie, while undoubtedly an exciting addition to the club, was another versatile winger in a team full of versatile wingers. Two weeks after that arrived Heung-Min Son from Bayer Leverkusen. Again, an amazingly exciting player who stands to be a significant upgrade for Tottenham’s attack, yet somehow was still not the player the fans asked for.

The regular season kicked off just before these transfers were finalized and those holes were still left gapingly wide. Harry Kane began the term as the sole recognized striker in the matchday lineup while Eric Dier was asked to do an impression of a defensive midfielder.

Kane, of course, was last season’s hero and was always going to be on the first team. That he was there without a capable backup on the bench – or anywhere else on the roster – reeked of negligence. But, it was thought, there was still time to fix that.

To his credit, Dier has done better than anyone expected in defensive midfield, though not so spectacularly as to think that the young Englishman didn’t at least need cover much in the same way Kane did. There were options out there still and weeks left in the transfer window. Surely, it was thought, Tottenham’s management would not be convinced by a mere handful of games in defensive midfield from a player who arrived in north London as a centre-back.

Next: So What Went Wrong for Tottenham?