Long Form: Assessing Tottenham’s Deadline Failures

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So What Went Wrong for Tottenham?

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In the end, it wasn’t so much that those assumptions were wrong as much as they were blindly optimistic. The club did indeed have targets they had identified and – supposedly – tens of millions of pounds at their disposal with which to acquire them. The war for Saido Berahino began in August and, through weeks of comically failed attempts to simply meet West Brom’s known valuation of the player, ended Tuesday in utter and complete failure. Tottenham, so single-yet-simple-minded in their pursuit of the player, ended up with nothing. What’s more, the sloppy and frankly disrespectful manner at which they went about the attempted deal managed to effectively eliminate the possibility of doing business with West Brom again in the near future.

The failure to find a defensive midfielder is less obviously ridiculous but no less impactful to the team. While there were targets out there – Southampton’s Victor Wanyama, for one – that could have likely been persuaded to join Tottenham, they were all approached too late to allow for the care and nuance most £10-20 million deals need.

All of which makes one wonder how a supposed business could be so bad at handling investments and asset acquisition considering those should be two of the organization’s most important jobs. How can a revenue-generating entity fail so spectacularly and so publicly and yet still be confident of steady growth?

It’s easier for fans to understand the Berahino saga or the technical glitch that prevented Manchester United’s sale of David De Gea to Real Madrid as monumental screw-ups. We tend to think of Daniel Levy or the Glazer family as singularly human entities representing the goliath institution atop which they sit and thus eminently fallible. That perception makes easy the telling of the club’s story, especially its failures.

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