Daniel Levy Says People are Wrong About Tottenham’s Transfer Business

Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy during a visit to the Qatar's ASPIRE Academy. // March 13, 2012 -- Picture by Vinod Divakaran of Doha Stadium Plus Qatar
Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy during a visit to the Qatar's ASPIRE Academy. // March 13, 2012 -- Picture by Vinod Divakaran of Doha Stadium Plus Qatar /

There’s a perception that people are getting wrong about Tottenham Hotspur’s transfer business according to Daniel Levy during a Fans’ Forum last week.

During a Fans’ Forum that took place last week, Daniel Levy, Hugo Lloris and Mauricio Pochettino were able to answer questions that fans asked them. One interesting question which was posed to Daniel Levy, would be about Tottenham’s transfer business and why they tend to leave things too late.

“There’s a perception out there which is actually factually wrong,” Daniel Levy said during a Fans’ Forum last week. “That perception is that we, on purpose, leave our transfer dealings down to the last part of the window. Ideally, if the club decide to do a deal in January, we would like to do in on the 1st January,”

For a few seasons now, Tottenham supporters have seen Spurs leave transfer dealings late whether it’s the summer or winter windows. Doing this has left Tottenham in a hole with players who should have been gone due to high wages or are considered no longer a part of the team’s future. Other times adding reinforcements to help make a push for a top-four finish has been a waiting game for fans.

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Saying that Spurs have taken their time during transfer windows isn’t too far from the truth but that’s just one angle that doesn’t look at what the club is actually doing. By looking closer at what the team needed to upgrade this past summer, which was their defense from the get-go, Tottenham got their work done very early. Almost too early.

Take a look at the players that were signed and when the summer transfer window opened, which was on July 1st and closed on September 1st.

Tottenham’s summer signings:

  • Kevin Wimmer — signed on May 29th, 2015
  • Kieran Trippier — signed on June 19th, 2015
  • Toby Alderweireld — signed on July 8th, 2015
  • Clinton N’Jie — signed on August 15th, 2015
  • Son Heung-min — signed on August 28th, 2015

This perception of signing players late in transfer windows wasn’t the case this past summer. Mauricio Pochettino, Paul Mitchell and Daniel Levy were able to sign Kevin Wimmer, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld relatively quickly once the summer transfer window opened. Wimmer and Trippier were both signed before the window officially opened. Whereas Alderweireld was signed a week into July. Mind you the defense was the main issue, and Tottenham got that settled.

Kevin Wimmer was signed for the future. Kieran Trippier was supposed to battle Kyle Walker for the starting right-back spot, instead he’s settled in as a backup during Spurs’ Europa League run. And lastly, Toby Alderweireld has become a mainstay in Pochettino’s backline, barely getting a rest.

Of course Tottenham weren’t done just yet, they needed offensive reinforcements to help out Harry Kane and add more creativity to pair with Christian Eriksen. But with so much focus and resources used to look for defenders it could explain why there was a brief lull during mid-July to early-August.

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However, when the team were able to focus on the positions that they needed to upgrade: wide midfielders who could also double as a striker and who were still young and developing. Tottenham were able to find their guys and sign them relatively quickly — within two weeks between one another (Clinton N’Jie and Son Heung-min). Not to mention the team’s defensive signings.

Tottenham doesn’t drag transfer negotiations out because they’re cheap, it takes two parties to actually start a conversation between chairmen obviously. But it also has to do with scouting for players who can fit an exact position or more which takes time. Scouting early can help get a general idea of a player that a team is interested in, but as the months change and the transfer windows near, a scouting report will need to be updated constantly.

In essence, this would explain the so-called lull period after Spurs signed Toby Alderweireld and before they signed Clinton N’Jie. The team were doing their homework on which attacking players to sign and who would fit them perfectly. Now with the January transfer nearing in a matter of weeks, Tottenham’s squad as of right now doesn’t have much openings to sign anyone. With players returning from injury once January comes, it’s highly unlikely that Tottenham signs a starter.

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If anything, Pochettino will be looking for depth players to fill out his squad. Positions that might be targeted could be a center-back to replace Federico Fazio if he’s sold, a backup striker to give Harry Kane some rest and two midfielders: another attacking midfielder and a central/defensive midfielder — preferably around the ages of 25-27 for a bit more experience and veteran leadership.

There’s a reason to be optimistic for more signings to help Tottenham continue their push for a top-four finish but this January will end up resembling last January. Mostly quiet with moves that will be considered minor but will become important later on — Dele Alli coming in and Aaron Lennon (loaned) and Kyle Naughton (sold) going out. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tottenham take their time to find the right deal for a club who has barely enough room for newcomers to come in while also trying not to offset the chemistry between the current starters and backups.