The one thing that I didn’t expect to happen during this summer for Spurs was nothing.
We ended last season by qualifying for the Champions League and I expected us to really push the boat out, with at least one big signing before August. Instead, the transfer market has generally been very quiet and it looks like Tottenham will start the season with the exact same squad as last term.
Not that this, in any way, represents a disaster. Few clubs in the Premier League have as strong a squad as Tottenham and with plenty of quality youngsters not having to be registered in our Premier League squad of 25, I’m pretty confident that we can handle the extra workload of the Champions League.
What does disappoint and worry me though is the fact that Tottenham’s current personnel, pretty much ties us to playing 4-4-2. What we need is at least one striker who is able to play on his own up front.
That would allow us to play a 4-3-3 formation. If you look at our midfielders, such a system would suit them far better than a 4-4-2. Huddlestone would have less running to do and could concentrate on what he does best, while Modric would have the freedom to attack and pull the strings from a central position.
Such strikers are thin on the ground though. Edin Dzeko is clearly the leading candidate, but Manchester City’s interest ensured that Wolfsburg have been able to keep his price at a prohibitive level.
We did well enough playing with a 4-4-2 last season, but were often hampered by the fact that our opponents had an extra man in central midfield. Without the ability to match our opposition’s formation, I doubt that we’ll be able to progress and do better than last season.
Can we even repeat the trick of finishing in the top four? I think so, but it will be tougher than ever. City have strengthened considerably, but there is clearly some potential for their new signings to fail to gel and for things to implode.
Villa are without a manager and though Liverpool will do better than last season, at the moment they still are reliant on Fernando Torres to stay fit, which is a bit like us relying on Ledley to play every week.
On that subject, some have said that we really need a defender to cover for the fact that King and Woodgate have such injury problems. I’m not so sure, considering that Dawson and Bassong were very good together last season and we also have cover in the shape of Kaboul and Corluka. Another defender would be useful, but it’s not a priority.
The same is true in midfield, where the signing of Ashley Young would be welcomed, but there will be no mourning if the deal fails to come off. More of a priority last season was bringing in another defensive minded midfielder and we will soon be welcoming the Brazilian Sandro to our ranks.
Expectations? I think we will be right up there challenging for a place in the top four, but at the moment, that is the most that we can achieve in the Premier League. As for the Champions League, all I’m really hoping for is to get through to the group stage and hopefully draw a European giant. Anything above that is a bonus.
There is however still plenty of time before the ticking clock of transfer deadline comes to a stop. I expect the last couple of weeks to be absolutely frantic with activity and can only hope that we pull of the sort of signing that would make me modify my expectations.
Dan Fitch, the writer of this article, runs the Tottenham Blog.