Breaking into the top four

Since 2005, Tottenham have only made one appearance in the Champions League, despite millions spent on players and constant promises that the next season would be different.

Firstly, the club needs to stop sacking managers. Since Martin Jol was removed as head coach in 2007, the club has gone through six different men at the helm.

Thankfully, with current head coach Mauricio Pochettino achieving the club’s minimum aim of Europa League qualification and an appearance in the League Cup final, the Argentine seems likely to remain in charge next season.

To be perfectly frank, the club’s defending has been unacceptably atrocious this term. They conceded the same amount of goals as relegated Burnley and only four teams in the division let in more.

Tottenham have an incredibly talented bunch of central defenders, some would argue too talented, as they are just of often seen trying to nutmeg an opposing midfielder as they are trying to hold an offside trap.

What they lack is a defensive organiser, a la Michael Dawson, who has little to no interest in getting forward except to get his head on a corner.

John Terry did an incredible job in this role for Chelsea this season and is undisputable proof that there are other skills worthy of Premier League attention other than flair and speed.

Spurs would do well to identify a potential replacement for Hugo Lloris or, at the very least, an adequate backup for Michel Vorm, as the former Lyon man has been widely tipped for an exit.

It is by no means a certainty Lloris will leave, but it seems increasingly obvious if David de Gea leaves Manchester United for Real Madrid, Tottenham’s current number one is the Red Devils first choice replacement.

Whether he leaves or not, having a suitable replacement lined up is a must or the club could find itself spending time and resources it should be using on other areas of the squad.

Moving away from defence, Spurs need to thin out the midfield herd. Currently, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli are battling it out for two positions in the starting line-up.

On top of those, Thomas Carroll and Harry Winks are waiting in the wings and the pair played a decent part in the club’s tour of Asia and Australia.

Even taking the Europa League into account and needing a strong squad to stay competitive on multiple fronts, having eight central midfield options is too many. 

If money is needed to finance the strengthening of the squad, this is undoubtedly where it will come from.

Up front, Tottenham need a partner in crime for 21-year-old Harry Kane. The striker became the first Spurs player to score more than 30 goals in a season since Gary Lineker in the 1991/92 season. Expecting him to do it again without support would be foolish.

Emanuel Adebayor has earned deserved sympathy since the truth about his family saga became public knowledge, but a Premier League top-four goal scorer he is not. At least, not anymore.

There is no doubt about Roberto Soldado’s ability and record outside of England and, chances are, once he leaves Spurs, he will thrive, but there is something about the physicality of English defences or the lack of vitamin D that really does not agree with the Spanish hitman.

And finally, the club needs to stop signing players just because it is a good deal and waiting till one minute before the end of the transfer window in order to try and force the best deal out of a purchase or sale.

Daniel Levy’s negotiation tactics are legendary. The club has acquired some outrageous talent for very little outlay and sold surplus for more than it probably should’ve got; he’s got nothing left to prove in this regard.

It is time for Tottenham to decide what they need, identify which players can fill that need and act decisively so Pochettino can have all the tools he needs for as long as possible to give the club the best possible chance of breaking into the top four once again.

Nick Krige

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