After a crazy season where 4 different clubs all looked favorites to grab the final spot at one stage, the Premier Leagues representatives in Europe’s elite competition is finally set in stone with Spurs the last team in. Whether or not they will go through automatically or enter the qualifying stages will be decided on Sunday but their “victory” in the second league within England’s top-flight will have plenty of ramifications as is, and not just for Spurs. Below we take a look at what may prove to be the most important.
1. Transfer Market (Part 1)
This was always going to be a big summer in terms of top Premier League clubs looking to bolster their squads after witnessing a severe reduction in the gap between them and the rest of the league and being sent packing from Europe far earlier than what they are used to.
Spurs are never a club who seem short on cash, wherever their money comes from it generally comes in no small doses if required. While the attraction of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are obvious, Spurs’ presence with the big boys (assuming they make the competition proper) next season may mean that there is now another hugely attractive destination for foreign players to ply their trade in England.
The £30m pounds that the Champions League is reputedly worth to a club like Spurs will add nicely to their present lot of riches and could make them major players in the transfer market this summer. Top class talent may recognise a good manager, nice stadium (with a new one apparently on the way), less competition from other established big names (Rooney, Drogba et al), excellent fans and a London base a very desirable prospect.
2. Transfer Market (Part 2)
Aside from the players Spurs hope to bring in this summer, Wednesday night’s victory may be more important in terms of who they are able to keep. With rumours beginning to develop last week of Alex Ferguson’s interest in Luka Modric and speculation about the future of Gareth Bale, does Spurs newly acquired status as one of Europe’s big boys meanthat two of their best players will be leaving their suitcases tucked away in the attic for a while more at least? Breaking news coming from White Hart Lane this morning is that Bale has just signed a new four year deal with the club so in his case at least, he is certainly not going anywhere soon.
The closed shop that is Old Trafford means that nobody can tell for certain how much truth there was in the rumours of Ferguson’s interest in these players, but with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs’ careers most certainly in their twilight, you’d be hard pressed to find two better replacements at the moment so it’s far from ridiculous to think that Fergie at least gave them passing thought. Have Ferguson’s rebuilding plans been given a devastating blow before the transfer window has even opened? If they have, more bad news could be on the way….
It’s no secret that Liverpool are a club in crisis and recent news reports state that Fernando Torres may just be considering his future at Anfield. If Torres was to move on, the two clubs (aside from Barcelona) who would most likely snatch him, would be Chelsea or Manchester City and with City now alongside Liverpool in next year’s Europa Cup, Stamford Bridge now seems his most likley destination if he decides to stay in England….. if he decides to move at all that is. Has Spurs progress been a double edged sword for United, making them weaker and their most likely opponents in the hunt for next season’s Premier League stronger?
Another important consideration is whether or not Liverpool have seen the potential bidding war that Torres’ move would spark take a significant blow with City’s deep pockets no likley longer to attract him?
3. Is the Big Four a thing of the past?
The answer to this is almost certainly a “yes”, at least as we know it today. Liverpool’s decline matched with Spurs progression means that a shake up to the Big Four is almost inevitable. The interesting thing will be whether or not Spurs can consolidate their place in such an illustrious group or whether the strain of playing high profile football all next season will be too much for them and their league position suffers as a consequence.
If this does occur, Manchester City still seem best set to occupy the place they’ll leave behind. Whereas they may not get the names they truly wanted this summer, City’s billions will still be enough to bring in some real quality and they will come back fighting next season. Furthermore, should Liverpool manage to get their game together and Villa also continue their progression we could be looking at a fierce battle in the higher reaches of the league next season with none of the established big names safe.
If Spurs can immediately hit the ground running and keep their form over an entire season, could their also be a powershift in North-East London? Arsenal fans may scoff but a quick match up of their current squads already makes bad reading for Gooners, add some more class into the Spurs set up and they could be become very dangerous.
4. Manchester City’s “inevitable” success delayed
The reason for the inverted commas above are obvious. Anyone who follows football with any degree of consistency will know that success is never inevitable. Having said that however, success can certainly be more probable in some cases than others and this is certainly true for Manchester City. Their wealth will not guarantee them success in becoming a football powerhouse but it will definitely bring them closer and next season will most likley see another strong challenge from the Citizens.
Given their riches, City just need to break into the big leagues once before they can truly start to achieve their goals of football domination. A spot in the Europa Cup will not bring them the talent needed this summer and for that, the chiefs at Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton may well be breathing huge sighs of relief as the beast’s growth is stunted, albeit temporarily perhaps.
5. Shake up to Fabio Capello’s plans?
Have several names played their way into the England squad this summer? Ledley King has long been deemed “too crocked” to feature however he has just played twice in a week (special for him) and has seven more starts to his name this season than Rio Ferdinand, while all the time looking rock solid. King’s well reported inability to feature regularly should not stop him from being on the plane to South Africa, if anything it should guarantee his spot. England’s first choice centre half pairing is set in stone and will play all the big games if available. However, if one is not available who better to step in than someone who is used to minimal amounts of action throughout a tournament and has a proven record of doing a fantastic job despite weeks without kicking a ball? It’s a no-brainer for me.
Also in with a major shout Is King’s defensive partner at Spurs – Michael Dawson. “Daws” has had the season of his life and is head and shoulders above the likes of Matthew Upson and Joleon Lescott in my eyes. He will no doubt get a chance to impress in England’s pre-tournament friendlies; the rest then, is up to him.
Another player who may have appeared on the radar (albeit on the fringes perhaps) is Tom Huddlestone, a big (literally) presence in midfield with top-class technique, a keen eye for a pass and feet like sledgehammers when it comes to shooting. Michael Carrick may begin to start sleeping uneasily, although with reports that Gareth Barry may be ruled out for the tournament he may just have been given a reprieve.