Andre Villas-Boas decided to stick around for another season after PSG made an approach for the Tottenham manager. The Portuguese’s loyalty at the time was said to be rewarded with a significant budget to reshape the team and make another charge on the top four. So far, Paulinho has joined from Corinthians and Nacer Chadli from FC Twente. Smart buys, the second in particular, who really seemed to fly under the radar of most clubs.
But any club with major ambitions for the future is likely to come across problems without the added revenue of a world-class stadium. Arsenal are said to be reaping the rewards now following seven years of abject failure. Tottenham may have done a lot to bridge the gap between the two clubs over the past few seasons, but Arsenal’s new financial strength is likely to plant the seeds for a huge chasm between the clubs again, unless of course Spurs can find a means to stay in the race.
The thing about Tottenham’s finances is that we’re continually fed conflicting stories. The club aren’t struggling financially by any means, even without the benefit of Champions League football. Spurs are pushing hard for a new stadium which will take them into that bracket of clubs with a wider market in the transfer window, but it’s not to say there hasn’t been a glut of reputable names linked with a move to White Hart Lane.
So what exactly is it? Valencia are standing firm with their valuation of Roberto Soldado at €30 million. Tottenham, reportedly, will pay something close but the clubs definitely can’t agree on the structure of the deal. Valencia are well within their right to demand as much as they want for Soldado, and it’s no less than Spurs will do for Gareth Bale when they approach that bridge somewhere down the line.
But is it Daniel Levy’s frugality taking over again, despite Franco Baldini handling the negotiations? Or is it simply that Tottenham can’t afford to buy Soldado for the price Valencia want? Villas-Boas was said to be armed with £50 million this summer, of which a chunk has already been spent. Yet it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly how much spending power the club have, or whether it is simply a matter of trying to stretch the budget as far as it will go.
The problem with moving into a new stadium is that Tottenham may be faced with exactly the same issues that Arsenal went through. Many, many fans are and were completely behind Arsene Wenger and believe the club wouldn’t have been able to stay in the top four without him. And even though there were legitimate criticisms of his managerial style or handling of transfers, much of that is true. Do Tottenham have someone in Villas-Boas who can juggle a Premier League/Champions League schedule while working to a tight budget? The point is, even with a new stadium, Spurs may not see the benefits of it immediately.
Taking advantage of what the club has now is absolutely key. Take pages out of the book of clubs like Napoli or Fiorentina, maybe even Atletico Madrid to an extent. Yes, the San Paolo and Vicente Calderon are clearly bigger stadiums than White Hart Lane, but the Premier League has its own financial benefits too. Maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world to sell Gareth Bale. Napoli finally cashed in on Edinson Cavani and are hardly looking weaker. They’ve spent extremely well, they’re back in the Champions League, finished ahead of Inter, AC Milan and Roma, and are unlikely to fall out of the top three next season.
A bigger stadium is undoubtedly a huge benefit, but when the prospect of its revenue streams is way off in the distance, focus needs to be elsewhere. It’s not beyond Tottenham’s ability to break into the top four, even if last season’s top four clubs continue to strengthen above Spurs’ means. Add to the scouting network, do more with the available resources. Franco Baldini is a strong card to play. There is certain to be another Christian Benteke somewhere in Europe waiting to be picked up.
And if all of that sounds condescending, it isn’t. It’s the realities of football and the fact that not every club has an oil-rich owner or the revenue streams to be a major player in the market.
Will Tottenham’s lack of a new stadium see the gap widen between them and the top four?
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