Only a day after officially finishing the season as one of the four best clubs in the country, scrutiny turned towards next year’s domestic and European hopes for Harry Redknapp’s Spurs team. The difficulty not only being to make it to the Champions League proper but also the tough task of matching this term’s stellar standards. Redknapp was typically straightforward about the club’s immediate goals:
“Now I just want to do as well as we can, see if we can get into the Champions League group stages. That’s the aim next year and it’s not going to be easy. You don’t know who you are going to draw. We’ll have a real go at finishing in the top four again. But it’s going to be even harder.”
This season exhibited the strength of Tottenham’s squad and, perhaps equally importantly, the turnaround of a few players’ misfortunes: Gareth Bale has transposed his potential into performances over the past few months, Heurelho Gomes is the most improved goalkeeper in the league, Roman Pavlyuchenko has found his confidence and a place in Redknapp’s team of late, and though David Bentley hasn’t hit the form of old he has certainly seen his stock rise since the turn of the year. Even without Modric and Lennon respectively for large portions of the season they still bettered their rivals. The astute capture of Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan couples the two things Redknapp would have wanted his younger players exposed to: someone with fine ability and experience in the top European competition.
Besides the monetary advantages of finishing fourth, the ability to lure higher calibre players can only benefit Spurs. When quizzed on what’s to come in the transfer market, Redknapp said:
“A special player…that would make the difference to this team. It might be an expensive player. We are not going to sign [Fernando] Torres, but like Liverpool signed him, [we want] a player that could take you to another level.”
But will this work in tandem or opposition to Daniel Levy’s desires? His desire is obviously for the club to continue progressing however he is also seeking planning permission for a 50,000+ capacity stadium and building a £30m training facility. With the stadium expected to be at least £300m Levy will no doubt have an eye on the future so we can only wait and see how heavy the transfer dealings are this summer.
A worry for Tottenham’s European ambitions, on the pitch, is their away form. With a dismal history at the top Premier League teams’ home grounds the thought of travelling to, say, Russia to face Zenit St Petersburg would not sit well. However this is all premature speculation and the luck of the draw will do much to aid or hinder Spurs in their short term aims. The season has only just finished and Harry Redknapp has capped a dramatic tenure thus far at the club with a top-four finish; he should be allowed to enjoy it for a day.
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