In the world of football, especially during the transfer windows, it is important to ensure that deals are completed quickly and decisively. With several clubs often targeting the same players, it is a common occurrence for other teams to swoop in and try and steal a deal – this is where Daniel Levy has served to disappoint numerous Spurs fans at White Hart Lane. Despite the North-London team’s acquisition of Brazilian Paulinho, names have come and gone as transfer rumours, and have chosen other clubs to continue their careers.
David Villa was a man the whole footballing world were expecting to become Andre Villas-Boas’ second summer signing. Much reported to have spoken to various Premier League clubs, it became apparent that Tottenham had won the Spanish 31-year old over. However, breaking news then spread last week that Villa had signed a contract with Barcelona rivals Athletico Madrid, and the striker had become yet another Tottenham target to slip away from signing a deal. But what is it that is holding the club back?
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On the completion of signing his contract in Madrid, Villa indicated that he was happy to make a move to the Premier League, however the speed of the deal put him off.
He told the Mirror: “It is true the idea was for me to go to the Premier League, because the biggest offers came from there. But then Atletico Madrid showed up and they did more in three days than others did in months.”
With Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas reportedly calling the Spaniard directly to persuade him to join Tottenham, it was chairman Daniel Levy who slowed the proceedings, as he was unhappy with the high wage demands. This is a necessity of football now however, and if Spurs want to have any chance at attaining a top-four finish this season, Levy clearly needs to be more proactive and willing for these big-money transfers to take place.
The David Villa episode will sting Spurs, as the fee paid by Athletico Madrid has been reported to be less than what Tottenham had offered in the first place, but it is not merely this incident that has brought Levy and his transfer philosophy to question. Tim Jedvaj was also a target of Levy and Spurs, and it had been reported this young defender was happy to make the move to England. Delays while trying to sign this player however, yet again set in motion a late twist, and instead the Croatian signed for Roma. He, similarly to Villa indicated that Spurs had dithered over their decision, admitting that, “Roma did a strong negotiation and now I’m happy to be in this group”.
To add to the list, Christian Benteke has been widely reported to be close to a switch from Aston Villa to London, however everything has gone quiet with regards to that potential target. So what is it that is creating this uncertainty in the hierarchy of Tottenham F.C? Is it the lack of financial budget and ambition, or is it the worry that these players are not who Spurs need to progress?
The likelihood is, it’s a bit of both. Quite clearly, Spurs are on the brink of breaking into the top-four and with this achievement getting ever closer, Levy is becoming panicked over who that star signing is to guide them over the line. This deliberation however, is serving to hold the club back and while Levy may be commended for his quick purchase of Paulinho, it is evident that with a severe lack of depth in a forward’s role, they need a striker. This was most noticeable last season, when with various injuries and players at the African Cup of Nations, Spurs had no recognised striker for a prolonged period.
If Tottenham and Levy really do have aspirations of gaining qualification to the Champions League, they must invest more money on wages and transfer fees. Delaying some of these moves has caused these players to join teams competing at the pinnacle of European football, and as a result, the White Hart Lane fan base has every right to feel aggrieved.
The lack of Champions League football itself is a certain element behind Spurs’ struggle to capture some of these players however. David Villa told the Mirror: “Professionally, everything is beyond doubt – Atletico Madrid finished third in La Liga, they were fighting against Real Madrid until the last minute. They won the Copa Del Rey and they will play in the Champions League.”
Perhaps the Spanish attacker may have been more patient with Tottenham had they secured a fourth place finish last season. It seemed inevitable for the first half of the season, but Spurs’ collapse, coupled by Arsenals resurgence meant that yet again they had just finished shy of the mark. But this can be linked again to Levy and his transfer policy. If deals were completed quicker, and with more assurance, perhaps Spurs wouldn’t have faltered last season, they may well have hung on to fourth, or even third place. If that had happened, maybe David Villa would have signed the contract, and be parading around White Hart Lane, in the famous Lilywhite kit.
All of this can only be speculated about however. All that is clear is that Tottenham and Daniel Levy need to be more ruthless in their transfer policy. Quick decisions, and a willingness to splash out more on players and their wages is vital. In the current day, this is the only way to ensure that the world-class players join your club, and with those on board, Spurs can indeed press on for Champions League qualification, if not even more.
Is Levy holding Tottenham back or is he going about his business in the right way?
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