The summer transfer window was mostly dominated by the saga surrounding Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid from Tottenham. Once the world record transfer was sorted out, Spurs fans had a slightly different view towards the new season than what they expected in May.
Using the money earned from the sales of Bale, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Steven Caulker, Spurs purchased the services of seven new, international players.
First through the door at Hotspur Way was Paulinho, from Corinthians at a cost of £17million. He was soon followed by Belgian winger Nacer Chadli from FC Twente. On 5th August, Spurs fans awaited the news they had been craving since January. Striker Roberto Soldado was bought from Valencia at a cost of £26million, a then club record. Some Spurs fans believed that was it. But on 30th August, they were in for a trio of signings. Early in the morning, defender Vlad Chiriches was confirmed to have signed from Steaua Bucharest. At 2pm, the signing of Roma forward Erik Lamela was announced for a new club record fee – £30million. Finally, just after 9pm that Friday, Christian Eriksen was presented to the world as a Tottenham Hotspur player. These seven new players were brought in to add depth to the squad at Spurs.
Owing to the spending spree – and largely thanks to Gareth Bale – Spurs had the comfort of being able to boast at least two players capable of playing in every position on the field. Despite many loan deals and the sale of their hero, the squad seemed to have a positive vibe about it and so it was shown. Below is an indication of just how deep the Spurs squad runs:
Goalkeepers – Hugo Lloris, Brad Friedel, Heurelho Gomes, Jordan Archer.
Right Back – Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton (also left back).
Centre Back – Jan Vertonghen (also left back), Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson, Vlad Chiriches (also right back).
Left Back – Danny Rose, Ezekiel Fryers (also centre back).
Centre Midfielder – Sandro Raniere, Mousa Dembele, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue.
Right Wing – Erik Lamela (also left wing/striker), Andros Townsend (also left wing), Aaron Lennon.
Left Wing – Nacer Chadli, Gylfi Sigurdsson (also centre attacking midfield).
Centre Attacking Midfield – Christian Eriksen, Lewis Holtby (also centre midfield).
Strikers – Roberto Soldado, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane.
As is shown above, Spurs have an abundance of options and Villas-Boas has clearly got a huge field of players to select from. This can make his job very easy but slightly challenging at times. As seen in the loss at home to West Ham, he got his tactics wrong as we dearly paid for that.
As we compete in four competitions this year, this depth becomes even more vital as our Europa League run hampered our push for 4th place in the Premier League. Now, the Spurs manager can field two entirely different sides in games and still have an extremely strong eleven out on the pitch.
Answering the question in the title, Villas-Boas will not have a “best XI” this season as injuries, suspensions and rotation will all play a key role in Tottenham’s progress. The side struggled when trying to cope with injuries and suspensions last season, often playing players out of position. Due to what is deemed by Chelsea manager - Jose Mourinho - as a superb summer, Spurs now have the quality to make near enough like-for-like substitutions and replacements. The bench for the game against West Ham was perhaps the strongest ever at Spurs. It read: Friedel, Chiriches, Sandro, Holtby, Lamela, Soldado, Chadli. With options such as these off the bench, the sky is the limit for Spurs as long as they keep performances like Sunday’s well away.
They have the depth, they have the backing, they have the manager, now they must produce the goods. Tottenham High Road has waited far too long for a League title to be paraded from an open top bus and now is the time for this highly historic club to add it’s name back amongst the elite of European football. The stage is set...
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