Putting Tottenham Hotspur’s transfer inactivity into perspective

A pulsating start to the transfer window that has seen many Premier League clubs significantly strengthen ahead of what is widely expected to be an incredibly competitive campaign.

However, among the headline signings, one club’s decision not to engage the transfer market has made front page news as well.

Tottenham had an incredible campaign last season, chasing Chelsea almost down to the wire when it looked like the Blues would run away with the title.

Their first team is widely considered to be one of the strongest in the Premier League, as is their belief and team spirit.

Spurs’ transfer inactivity has been an incredibly polarising topic, with Antonio Conte coming out and blasting the North Londoners’ ‘lack of ambition’ for not willing to spend money to ensure success.

Others have claimed that the decision is meant to back the youth players at the club to fill in any holes or lacking depth in the first team.

The North Londoners are certainly attempting to make this appear like a show of confidence on their part, demonstrating that their team is already strong without unnecessary additions and that they are willing to give a chance to the younger players coming through the ranks at the academy.

However, this is undercut by the fact that Spurs’ frugality may be less voluntary than the higher-ups at the club make it seem.

For one thing, the club has to save money in order to finance the development of their new stadium.

This phenomenon was observed with Arsenal as they held back from the transfer window during the development of the Emirates Stadium.

In today’s inflated market, Spurs will most certainly have a tougher time than Arsenal finding the right players to add to their squad.

Secondly, the inability to see in area in which to strengthen may not mean the absence of one.

This approach to the window can only be effective if Spurs have the foresight to anticipate problems before they come.

It is obvious that those within the club see far more than fans, but that essentially means that blind trust and the temporary suspension of cynicism is necessary to buy into this approach.

However, any criticism of the method would be folly as this problem is far multi-layered than many in the public believe.

A microcosmic example of this could be the decision on whether or not to sign Hoffenheim right back Jeremy Toljian.

While cover for Kyle Walker is needed, and Toljan’s youth lends itself to being an understudy to Kieran Trippier for a season or two, the decision to bring him in will block the pathway of some youngster coming into the first team.

At the same time, Toljan is a Germany youth international and a regular starter in a side that qualified for the Champions league last season and would be available for only £3 million.

Only Mauricio Pochettino knows if there is a young player that is able to fill in Walker’s boots the way Toljan may be able to, and it would take an almost superhuman level of foresight to determine that with any degree of accuracy.

This transfer inactivity has massive potential to be a galvanizing force for their squad in the upcoming season.

If Spurs can continue to perform at a high level without spending massive amounts on the development of their team, it will paint them in a very positive light.

Additionally, if this leads to some of the club’s younger players breaking through and making an impact next season, the squad will be strengthened for future years.

In a world where consequences are more important than intentions, as football often is, logic supports Spurs’ decisions in the market so far.

So, in summary, Spurs’ decision to be inactive in the transfer window may be a voluntary show of confidence or a forced frugality.

It may be an inability to see a problem or a chance for the club’s younger players to come through.

Whatever it is, any criticism of it should be held until it has actually had time to take effect.

Ultimately, no matter what is said about Spurs’ transfer window, its success can’t be judged until the end of the season.

Unfortunately, the sheer number of factors that could affect Spurs’ league position next season, including their temporary move to Wembley, mean that it will be incredibly difficult to quantify the exact influence of the transfer inactivity has had.

For now, football fans should just take it as a unique phenomenon and a bold experiment.

The Author

Gian Chansrichawla

Aspiring football journalist living in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently working for Thai League club Muangthong United.

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