Tottenham Hotspur had done most of their business before deadline day for a change, meaning fans were only treated to an outgoing loan to close the international window.
With Daniel Levy at the helm Tottenham Hotspur had become known for the hardball tactics that led to last minute negotiations and deals right at the deadline, even noting in All or Nothing on Amazon that the deadline is often when business gets done. But we also know not everything is exactly what people seem to think with Spurs transfer business.
This is a new Tottenham Hotspur where the vision of the manager is clear as is his recruiting power, meaning the only deals Tottenham had to make on deadline day were opportunities to loan out some talent so players can get more minutes. Overall, Spurs smashed this transfer window, and there are some clear signs about the new directions the club will be taking.
With the draw of Jose Mourinho, the addition of some top talent, and the reorientation of first team loans, Tottenham had a nearly complete transfer window.
Mourinho the Talent Magnet
Mauricio Pochettino was an excellent coach who did some great things for Tottenham Hotspur, however, landing big fish in the transfer market was not really one of them. Except for Tanguy Ndombele last season – who needed Mourinho to bed into the side – Spurs rarely if ever got their top transfer target with Pochettino in charge. That seems to be changing with Mourinho at the helm.
Not only did Tottenham Hotspur land their top target in Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, filling a major hole Spurs have had since Mousa Dembele left, the Lilywhites also landed their top targets in several other areas. Maybe Tottenham would have been able to sign all these players anyway, but to take Matt Doherty away from an up-and-coming Wolverhampton squad and pry Sergio Reguilón away from Real Madrid, the players needed a reason to come.
Yes, the stadium is amazing, and the grounds are immaculate, and the lounge and pillows – oh the pillows – but it is the man in charge of the squad that is drawing the players Tottenham got this summer. To finally bring Gareth Bale back shows the ambition of the club; hiring Jose Mourinho showed Bale and hopefully Harry Kane both what the club wants in terms of trophies. Why do we think Toby resigned? To play for Mourinho and to be part of a winner at Spurs, which is the same reason Tottenham suddenly had more pull than we have seen in some time in the market.
Tottenham Talent Grab
So, if Jose Mourinho made the acquisition of the talent more possible, what exactly did Spurs get for the outlay of over 100 million British Pounds – not including loan fees? For starters, Tottenham filled a big hold, added some cover, and are breading competition.
Tottenham had some clear holes in the squad develop over the last couple of seasons but worked to help fill some of them. Højbjerg is the most obvious hole filler of the bunch, with his constant presence in front of the back line and his better than advertised ability to spread the ball around the pitch – with his laser first time pass to assist Serge Aurier this past weekend as a wonderful example.
Having a defensive presence in the midfield is particularly important if Spurs are to get the creativity from Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele the team needs. The more Hojbjerg does, the more it allows the more creative players to flourish. And while the defensive midfield was the biggest need, some other cover and competition changes the team completely.
Sergio Reguilón and Matt Doherty are two solid wingbacks, but more importantly they are added to the duo of Ben Davies and Serge Aurier, who themselves are two solid wingbacks. What this means is for the first time in several years Tottenham enter the season with clear competition for the fullback positions. Even more importantly than the competition – which is already getting some great performances out of Aurier in particular – is the fact that the team has some options, which were lacking last season. When a player plays 50+ games in a calendar year it takes a lot out of them, if they are doing so bombing up and down the flank, it takes even more so. Having real, reliable cover for both fullback positions is critical to Tottenham success.
Although we have yet to even see him touch a ball or even make the bench, the signing of Carlos Vinícius is a big deal for Tottenham. The Brazilian born forward is at N17 on loan from Benfica with an option to buy. Vinícius is the classic target striker that Jose Mourinho loves and appears to be a nice like-for-like option to rest Harry Kane. At over 1.9 meters or over 6’2” tall, the left footed striker is a big, bodied target.
Even more impressive may be the touch and poaching ability the Brazilian shows around the net. Last season he scored 24 goals and added 13 assists in 47 games across all competitions. At just over 2600 minutes on the season, Vinícius did work averaging only about 55 minutes per appearance. This is promising given that we know Kane will demand a large majority of the minutes.
Add in the experience and homegrown nature of Joe Hart along with some guy named Gareth Bale and suddenly this window looks like a smashing success!
Spurs Learning to Loan Again
For much of the Mauricio Pochettino era the idea of loaning out promising youngsters was frowned upon as the team wanted to keep players in house so they could learn the ways of the first team squad. While the exposure to the first team is one way to gain some knowledge and grow an alternative is to go play and gain experience, which loans really do.
Yes, Tottenham was sending players out on loan during Pochettino’s reign, but they were the transfer failures like Vincent Janssen and Georges-Kevin Nkoudu. This season Spurs have sent Oliver Skipp, Juan Foyth, and Ryan Sessegnon all out on loan. Skipp is a star for the future and Foyth and Sessegnon are trying to gain the footballing experience at the first team level to truly compete in this revamped Jose Mourinho squad.
Add in the fact that Troy Parrott is out on loan as well, who not officially part of the first team is a promising prospect and it seems like the players of tomorrow are going to get experience today, but not at the expense of bleeding the first team. The more Spurs can use others to help develop their future talent the better, or if it leads to permanent deals, then that is okay too, particularly in the case of Foyth.
Spurs Still have Work to Do
Despite the transfer window being shut for international deals, Tottenham still have work to do. Spurs still seem to be lacking a bit in the central defense. While there are several center-half options on the team there is not one natural left-sided center-half following the departure of Jan Vertonghen. Additionally, the fates of some other younger Hotspurs need to be decided.
Will either Cameron Carter-Vickers or Jack Clarke really be on the team this season? They both have squad numbers but could easily be seen sent out on loan to a Championship side with the English window still open for moves between divisions, but not between Premier League sides exclusively. If deals can be struck for Carter Vickers to go out, preferably with an option to buy, and Clarke to go out without the option, then more business can be called complete and the window will look like more of a success.
Regardless of what happens with CCV and Clarke or whether Spurs land another center-half, no one can doubt the ambition and activity, most of which was well before the deadline. Bravo Daniel Levy, Jose Mourinho, and Spurs staff.