As a neutral the fact that Tottenham haven’t got a spot in the Champions League next year is gutting, lord knows what it feels like if you are a fan. It was for this reason along with the fact that Terry has been loitering around my girlfriend’s house for the last fortnight that I was hoping for a Bayern Munich victory 10 days ago. It was not to be and Spurs have found themselves in the Europa League for a second year in a row.
They are a team who since Daniel Levy took over in 2001 have spent in the region of £350million on players, sound like a lot? In that time the club have made just over £200million from selling players making their average expenditure on players under £15million a year since he bought the club, not much at all. The comparisons with other clubs who have found themselves at the top end of the table since 2001 tell their own story, Chelsea are averaging around £45million a year and unsurprisingly City are a little higher at around £47.5million a year.
My point is that whilst they have clearly had money to spend they have been sensible (selling players), bought players at the right time (Modric), for the right price (Van Der Vaart) and nurtured young talent (Bale). All this has resulted in the seemingly impossible, in the last three seasons they have finished in the top four twice and on some occasions this year there were whispers that they were good enough to win the league, not only that but at times they have been playing the best football in the league and it has all been done without breaking the bank.
The tragedy is that Tottenham missing out on the Champions League through no fault of their own, (granted they should have finished third and probably would have if it wasn’t for the FA messing with Harry Redknapp) means exactly that, they must now break the bank. This must come through funds being available to make at least one big name transfer as well as breaking their strict wage structure to accommodate the big players at the club. To continue in the same vein Spurs must hold onto all of their players, and add more to their squad. If they do so they will continue on their path and can cement a place in the champions league for years to come, if they lose Modric, Bale or maybe even Van Der Vaart all the good work that has been done at the club could be lost.
The good news for Levy is this financial hit may only have to happen once, obviously the rise in wages will cost him long term but he only needs to buy big in one transfer window, after buying the required players this summer the club can then return to their normal policy of selling to buy. Spurs are not alone, their great North London rivals are in the same position. Whilst Arsenal have earned Champions league football next season they must buy big this summer and add to the signature of Lukas Podolski. This will keep Van Persie at the club and Wenger must learn from his mistakes and bring some tried and tested talent in to nurture through the youth and steady the ship. Both clubs must take this opportunity as if it is missed a slippery slope lies ahead, and the abyss of mid-table football is a large one (ask Kenny Dalglish). Arsenal have survived the loss of Fabregas and Nasri but I doubt they will survive the loss of RVP, and Spurs must continue to build otherwise Modric and Bale may go leaving them with an average squad at best.
The final point to make is that both clubs should do their business now, we have seen time after time how a good tournament can double or even triple the value of a player. If the clubs are sensible a few big names could be brought in for under £40million (As long as they don’t try and buy Downing or Carroll) and this will encourage big names to stay. The time has come for North London to buy big and if done correctly it could make both clubs a permanent fixture among Europe’s elite for the foreseeable future.