Tottenham are currently in the safest position of any of the three teams currently competing for the last two Champions League spots in the Premier League. Quite plainly they have nothing to lose by failing to qualify for Europe next season.
The chase may have looked over at various points during the weekend game against Everton, with Arsenal also making a strong push in the remaining weeks and finding comfort in what can be described as a kind run-in. It’s all too familiar for Tottenham. Talk of remaining in the shadow and the wheels coming off. But really, what more can you say about a team who have not really ‘been there and done it,’ bar one occasion, and yet who have made two extremely strong and impressive pushes for Europe? And that’s not even to suggest Tottenham won’t make the final four this year, but it’s just a nod to the fact that they won’t lose any face should they fail to qualify.
The bigger picture here is about the winning mentality within a club. It’s very difficult to argue that Spurs have all the components in place to become a top four team now. Yes, the manager may be ambitious and the squad good in many places, but this is still a club building towards the status of one of the true heavy hitters in the league.
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What can be said about Tottenham is that they will go back to the drawing board and they will enhance this squad. But what about Gareth Bale and the argument about attracting or keeping the best talents without Champions League football? Who can say that players like Bale or many others are entitled to the top club competition in Europe? The only teams and players who can claim to be entitled to the Champions League are those who were crowned champions of their domestic league.
But Tottenham will take plenty of positives from this year. Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Mousa Dembele will prove to be some of the better buys in recent years, and while replacements will need to come in for certain areas of the squad, the club as a whole are further along than others who have occupied the top four in previous years.
There is no hit on Tottenham for failing to qualify in quite the same way that it could dent either Arsenal or Chelsea’s immediate future. There won’t be talk of the balance of power shifting, even if that is an incredibly stupid comment to make whichever way you look at it. Tottenham won’t crumble and experience an exodus, because frankly how do you mourn the loss of something you never really had? And by that, I mean the status as one of the Premier League’s elite clubs.
There’s too much of an issue being made of the Champions League revenue and how it will impact the club in the near future. But Tottenham have never had that revenue consistently and yet have still been able to climb the ladder to the brink of the top four. The club hasn’t been funded heavily by outside investment like others. Again, some of the signings have been among the best of the last summer, and for whatever criticism Daniel Levy may take, there certainly isn’t a sense that the ship is in troubled waters.
The current climate of football has pushed many into thinking that there is no tomorrow. Certain broadcasters have put far too much emphasis on aspects of the game that really don’t matter. Dominating your own league before taking on Europe is a thing of the past, and yet very few see the sense it made over the current approach.
What can be said about Tottenham is that there has been a phenomenal rise over the past decade. Champions League football is on the horizon, with Sir Alex Ferguson pointing out that Spurs are one of the few making real waves in the Premier League. Like with Andre Villas-Boas, it’s about the patient building process and developing the winning mentality throughout the club.
If Champions League football is Tottenham’s Holy Grail – which it should be – then fine. But appointing a new manager and expecting instant results is a little out there, because at the moment, there is no great loss in failing this time around.
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