The more you spend, the worse you play. That is it in a nutshell – Spurs never perform well when they have splashed the cash.
Juande Ramos and his team of multimillion-pound signings are bottom of the table with just one point from their opening four games after a 1-2 defeat at home to Aston Villa last night. Big things were expected of the likes of Luka Modric, David Bentley and Heurelho Gomes, but they have not delivered yet. The players themselves had been talking up the possibility of a top four finish, but the top four will have disappeared over the horizon if Spurs do not start their season soon.
The club is undoubtedly going through a period of transition. Sometimes bringing in as many players as Ramos has – £77 million worth – means they take time to gel. It is possible that once the new players have bedded in all this early season worry will be forgotten. But even the Spaniard could not have envisaged such difficulties for his new-look team. Some Spurs fans have begun to round on the coach, suggesting that his occasionally curious tactical approach is to blame. There are also grumblings that his work in the transfer market has been a bit like a scattergun. He has suddenly found himself with that age old White Hart Lane problem of an abundance of midfielders and nowhere to put them all. Hence Modric played on the left against Aston Villa last night.
But perhaps it has nothing to do with Ramos’ decisions, and more to do with expectation levels. Tottenham and Liverpool are the two clubs who invariably add to their squad in significant numbers, and are predicted to challenge for the title. What follows is a season of underachievement. Liverpool look to be in grave danger of finally breaking that cycle this season, but for Tottenham it is the same old story. Whether the weight of expectation does add extra pressure to the players is questionable – most of them have only been through the door for a few weeks so they can hardly be immersed in the club’s history just yet.
Maybe they should cash-in on their big-money stars and see if a few journeymen Bosman signings is what they need to propel them to Champions League football.