The January transfer window proves to be a crucial one for Tottenham Hotspur, but while it might set something of a benchmark in terms of on field ambition, it’ll also go some way to suggesting how high their aspirations sit away from the field of play.

While Andre Villas-Boas’ side has developed something of a steely efficiency in recent weeks, there’s still plenty of room for improvement as the club seek to push on for a fourth placed league finish, as well as success in the Europa League.

And in their quest to pursue some of the gifted talents linked with bolstering the Lilywhites’ campaign, such as the Christian Eriksens and the Willians of this world, they bestow the perfect asset in chairman Daniel Levy. The Essex-born businessman has not been without his faults during his time at the club, with his infamous brinkmanship sometimes causing the club as much harm as good.

But in terms of squeezing the best value out of deals for Spurs, from both a buying and selling perspective, there are few in the trade who can better Levy’s skills at the negotiating table.

Although while Levy’s public profile within English football has been built mostly upon his hard bargaining and eye for a profit in the transfer market, it’s very easy to forget just how well he’s run Spurs’ financial ship.

Regardless of how you view some of Levy’s managerial appointments and departures since he was appointed chairman in 2001, the way in which he’s managed to continuously ensure funds have been available for player transfers, while ensuring the club lives very much within its means, has been an admirable feat.

Throw in a £40million new training ground, the acquisition of nearly £90million worth of land over the last decade (in preparation for stadium development) and the fact the club’s overall finances continue to look both healthy and astute, if nothing else, the chairman can hardly be accused of lacking positivity. Certainly, compared to where the club sat in 2002, it’s difficult to argue to the contrary.

And of course, as Tottenham have grown in stature within the Premier League over the last decade, there’s been a natural correlation with the growing expectations of supporters. Having already had a taste of dining alongside Europe’s elite in the Champions League, all associated with the club crave a second, more sustained bite of the cherry. Consequently, continued investment in personnel is key to mounting an viable assault upon such ambitions.

But within the last 12 months at least, for a club with such lofty top four ambitions, investment has been very cautious indeed. In face, since January 2011, the club has in fact made a net profit in the transfer market.

Considering the tumultuous box office nature that was their summer transfer window of 2012, just because Spurs have been living within their means hardly means that they haven’t spent money. Tottenham shelled out just under £60million on talent this past summer, including the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris amongst others, which was in fact the fifth highest outlay on players during the summer in the whole of Europe.

Although poignantly, they did of course also sell a fair few players as well – not just any ordinary ones, either. Amongst those to pass through the White Hart Lane exit door were Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart and when all was said and done come the start of September, Tottenham had made a net spend of around only £500,000.

And if we cast our minds back to the start of the calendar year and the ill-fated January transfer window that Spurs endured, there’s still around £8million of Roman Pavlyuchenko shaped money that was never eventually spent. There is a school of thought suggesting that while the funds were there to be invested, Levy was perhaps reluctant to hand then manager Harry Redknapp a transfer warchest. Rightly or wrongly, if that warchest still remains, then Andre Villas-Boas could certainly do with seeing it next month.

This isn’t to accuse Levy for five minutes of hiding any money down the White Hart Lane sofas. The club are turning over near enough £100million less than both their league and local rivals Arsenal. While Spurs profited from their Champions League adventure a couple of years ago, so did their players, with the wage bill hopping up £24million from 2010 to 2011. While many from that squad have since moved on, the club is still paying many Champions League wages, without actually playing in the competition.

Throw in the nice new contract Gareth Bale earned in the summer, £6.5million in agents fees since October 2011, an untold amount on signing on fees as well as legal/planning costs surrounding the failed Olympic Stadium bid and the NDP and it’s hardly as if there is some mythical amount of buried treasure kicking around N17.

Yet come deadline day on the summer transfer window, many supporters were glued to their phones and televisions waiting to hear news upon the protracted transfer of Joao Moutinho from Porto. The move eventually collapsed, but had it gone ahead, it would have been to the tune of £22million; a transfer record for the club that would have blown their recent frugal economic policy in terms of player recruitment out the water.

If Levy was prepared to sanction such a deal last August, then he must ensure that money is available for Andre Villas-Boas to spend as he wishes in the January transfer window.

No one is either expecting nor wanting the club to live outside of its means, but there can be no more smoke and mirrors like posturing in terms of player recruitment. Tottenham must strengthen their campaign on all fronts next month, not weaken it as they did at this time last season. If the warchest really was hidden from Redknapp last January, Daniel Levy must give it to Villas-Boas this January. If he doesn’t, then we perhaps gain a far better idea to quite how bare the coffers are in the white half of North London.


  • Jayjay
    3 years ago

    The money had to be there considering the fact they sold Modric and VDV for 45million and signed Dembele and Dempsey for 21.

    Added to the fact they were prepared to push through the Moutinho deal.

    Personally I wouldnt go back in for Moutinho he is a deep lying playmaker and we need a player who can cover the wings and can offer a skillful goalthreat behind the front man……I would go all out for Willian after watching him with Shakhtar.

    Llorente is a must if available both should cost in the region of 29 million.

    Problem is we have nobody we would want to sell unlike in the past so no way of generating more cash….the only possible candidate is Dawson to QPR, but I would personally keep him

    • Sven T. from Norway
      3 years ago

      I fully agree with Jayjay:
      Just want to add – As a Spurs supporter I regard Daniel L. as THE most Spurs figure/ person for us.
      And yes Jayjay: Let`s get Llorente in, he looks to be available for 7-8 mill pounds. A real bargain. Then let`s go for an attacting midfielder,too.
      A type like Christian Eriksen or Willian, the last may also be used on the flanks. Both have a lot of goals in them. I remember Eriksen, as a 20 years old, teared apart Man U in CL two years ago. Together with Jan “The Man” Vertongen. Let then reunite. Spurs Ruling!
      Spurs for the Future. I am really optimistic :)

    • Sam Antrobus
      3 years ago

      I don’t mean to be flippant Jayjay, although as mentioned in the article, the summer transfer window ended in a £500,000 loss for Spurs when all is said and done. It’s always difficult to get transfer figures dead on, but Transfer seem to be as good a source as any for me. Even if they’re wrong, it cannot be far off..

  • Enforcer
    3 years ago

    IMO January could be the most important month for Spurs in PL history.
    If Levy sticks with AVB (and there doesn’t seem to be anything to suggest otherwise) we could easily be facing a summer where Man Utd, Man City, Everton, Arse and Chelsk are all or some of them are potentially looking for a new manager.
    It is looking likely both Jose and Pep will be looking for a new job and for the first time in his tenure SAF & MU have a decision to make. I believe it is commonly thought that Jose would like the Utd job and Utd would love him to be next in at Old Trafford but I also don’t think he would have to be asked twice if Utd stall and the City job became available. This could possibly leave SAF to decide whether to move upstairs while Jose is available or potentially risk losing him to his noisy neighbours or any other team with the cash to match his ambitions.
    Chelsk have been publically courting Pep for ages and with Benetiz about as popular as John Terry at a reggae festival nobody would be surprised if he starts next year as the head at Stamford Bridge.
    Mancini’s job looks to be on very rocky ground after their CL exit and after such massive investment this would further increase if he fails to win the PL again.
    Arse at Arse for the first time looks to be losing favour weekly with the fans and if the RM job is vacated by Jose or the City job by Mancini could easily be tempted to throw his hat in either ring, possibly leaving David Moyles to get the chance he deserves with a more affluent club like the Arse job.
    Spurs on the other hand if we are brave and do our summer shopping in January could finally start a season settled with 6 months bedding in time with no big movers coming or going in the summer. If we wait until the summer we potentially risk losing targets to at least one of the sides looking to add or rebuild and another summer of speculation with Levy waiting until the season is 4 weeks old before our dealings have been done.
    Yes I know I am probably dreaming but we must take every opportunity we can to get any advantage over the teams we are competing with, especially when they are financially in a different league to us. I know all of this is if’s and but’s but the possibility of at least one of these managerial moves happening IMO is huge. Next season could be massive if we are brave, back the manager and play our cards right in January.
    I personally don’t rate AVB but believe for him to have any chance at Spurs he has to be backed fully and allowed to sign the players he wants. Danny boy, over to you.

    • Sam Antrobus
      3 years ago

      In agreement completely that he’s got to be backed and in one respect, some of our transfer targets will definitely be less attainable if we wait till the summer.
      As you said yourself, there is scope for a lot of potential change and we’ve already seen first hand happens if we dawdle around. Willian is living evidence of that.
      In terms of a Fernando Llorente (with his contract situation), this could well be the last available chance to purchase them. Although you know as well as I do how the chairman works and the premium that comes with buying in January is probably going to end hopes of an early bit of summer spending.
      To be fair to Dan the Man though, no team wants to sell their prized assets during the middle of the season and for the players that we’ll potentially be after, I can’t imagine involvement in the Champions League last 16 (like your Moutinhos, Iscos and even Willians) is particularly going to help. Call me an optimist though but I really am positive about next month and I really do believe after the mistakes that he’s made in the last two windows, we’re going to see a bit of redemption from Levy. Regardless of how many we bring in or how much it costs, as long as they’re players the manager wants rather than the chairman, then perhaps that’s the most important thing…

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    Walker kaboul janV BAE
    Sandro Parker dembele
    Remy/willian/Lennon ade bale

    ways to improve this team is maybe a playmaker moutinho type and more goals from right wing is majorly important, it also shows how easily replaced bale would be if we did get £50 mil for the guy. Coys

  • serious
    3 years ago

    No we definitely need mountinho he can play anywhere in midfield even on wings, he is 26 so still young but experienced and it would mean if dembele was injured we would not feel it so much… Imagine sandro mountinho and dembele in midfiled killer with Parker and young carrol on the bench fighting to start

  • Bob
    3 years ago

    After reading the article and comments I feel like I have to add my thoughts,
    Yes! City and Chelsea have a larger war chest compared to anyone else. Where is this capital coming from? City is spending oil money from the Middle East so as long as that continues they will buy players not at the current market value but over inflated prices. They still haven’t learned from their past mistake, offering city players excessive wages and when the players are forced to leave they don’t want to as they know they will not be given the same high wage anywhere else. Is it fair to spend so much money, especially when coming from Middle East, one could argue that it is morally wrong but if they want to spend the limited amount of money they have it is up to them. Roman on the other hand is spending money that actually belongs to the Russian public, how a toy sales guy becomes a billionaire is beyond me and I am sure he did not retain his wealth without doing some really dubious business.
    United and Arsenal has been able to spend and attract players because of larger stadium and CL qualification every year. That is what Spurs needs to do, CL qualification is must for Spurs otherwise there is no chance of becoming a top 4 team consistently. AVB needs go give up the EL dream and concentrate on reaching top 4 because EL win is not certain and if Spurs lose both EL and top 4 position then it’s all been to waste. When it comes to purchasing players, Michu and Demba Ba has proven that you don’t need to spend £35m to get a quality players. You need to buy the right players. I do think that Muthino and Willian boat has sailed and Eriksson will probably not come to Spurs because he wants to play for CL team. We should concentrate on getting some players that doesn’t cost that much. I would rather buy 10 X £2.0m players for £20.0 than risking it all on one players for £20.0m.

    I love my Spurs and these is interesting times for Spurs, lets hope Mr. Levy and Boas are wise enough to see what is necessary to push for CL spot. Ones we are in the CL we really have a good chance of improving and keeping our best players.

  • eboy
    3 years ago

    Really good – balanced article. I’m really hoping for an out and out poacher like huntelaar. We should have used VdV as a play-weight and made that deal last summer, but still a chance while they can’t tie him down to a new contract. We’re seeing similar stuff to last year with 20+ shots per game and still squeaky-bum time holding on to 1-0 2-1 score lines. That type of player is exactly what we’ve lacked since Berb**** left and was never replaced.