Tottenham’s Window Is Now, But They May Be Closing It On Themselves

Prior to an earlier clash with Chelsea at Wembley, opposing manager Antonio Conte commented on Spurs’ manager, Maurico Pochettino’s tenure at Tottenham and the foundation that time has permitted him to build.

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And now in his fourth season, the Argentine has assembled one of the most enviable cores the Premier League has to offer. Built around arguably England’s best talent with the league’s best striker in Harry Kane as the anchor, Tottenham should be vying for a title this year and the foreseeable future as well.

Except for the fact that despite all that promise, a frugal board is expressing the type of sentiment that could sabotage an English dynasty that even more surprisingly would be lead by English players.

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This aforementioned core brings the perception of good business on the side of the Spurs and chairman Daniel Levy because whenever they play other top sides the transfer figures that assembled the teams are always at the forefront of conversation. But, what is often ignored is the array of poor moves that surround the team’s composition.

Since Pochettino was appointed on May 27, 2014 the team has invested €243.07m into the club in the form of new players, including the most recent €40m addition in Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez. And of that figure, assuming Sanchez pans out, only half of that sum has lead to contributors.

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So, while Spurs should be lauded for bringing in the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Toby Alderwiereld for a combined €27.63m, they also seeming blew €57.1m on Moussa Sissoko and Vincent Janssen alone.

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And misses do happen, as a Chelsea fan I can attest to that with the number of players the Blues have brought in that have barely even seen the pitch. But the difference is, and the point of this article, when teams find those gems they reward them and hold onto them.

This isn’t a little feeder club from the Midlands, this is a London club.

A North London at that and despite building a new stadium, signing a Nike kit deal and having celebrated 2nd and 3rd place finishes the past two campaigns, Tottenham’s wage structure is a ticking time bomb on the title hopes of the club.

Harry Kane is the best striker in the Premier League and a top player on a global scale, Dele Alli is one of the most talented and sought after midfielders in the world, and they earn a combined £160,000 a week. Which isn’t chump change until you consider that Chelsea’s new boy, Alvaro Morata commands £150,000 a week on his own.

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And that’s not just a one off figure. Tottenham’s wages are criminally low in comparison to their competition and the heads of their player’s are beginning to be turned. They’ve already seen RB Kyle Walker trade White Hart Lane/Wembley for the Etihad and double up his weekly wage earnings to £130,000 (£30,000 more than anyone on Tottenham makes) in the process.

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And two weeks or so ago LB Danny Rose gave an “explosive” interview with The Sun where he touched on this very subject:

“If I get to levels I reached last season — and this goes out to everybody — I will make sure I get what I am worth. I don’t know how much longer I might have at this level. I’m not going to be stupid enough not to try and get the most out of it — medals, trophies and salary.

Anyone who thinks this is primarily for money, that is not the case. But I know what I am worth. As with everyone else in my team, in my opinion, I am worth more than I am getting.”

This has prompted swirling rumors of a move to Chelsea or north to one of the Manchester clubs that could see him fetch two to three times more than the £65,000 a week he brings in at Tottenham.

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Amongst the Top-6 finishers in the Premier League last season, Tottenham brings up the rear in paying their stars:

GK: Hugo Lloris £100k v. David De Gea (Manchester United) £200k
RB: Keiran Trippier £65k v. Kyle Walker (Manchester City) £130k
CB: Toby Alderwiereld £50k v. Victor Lindelof (Manchester United) £120k
CB: Jan Vertonghen £90k v. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) £120k
LB: Danny Rose £65k v. Luke Shaw (Manchester United) £130k
CM: Eric Dier £60k v. Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) £220k
CM: Mousa Dembele £80k v. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) £280k
CM: Dele Alli £60k v. Yaya Toure (Manchester City) £220k
CM: Son Heung-Min £65k v. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) £140k
CM: Christian Eriksen £75k v. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) £220k
ST: Harry Kane £100k v. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) £240k

And no, this isn’t apples to apples, there’s some serious variations in talent in this comparison per The Expressbut some of those disparities in talent are in favor of Spurs’ players. And regardless the talent gap is not equivalent to the pay gap.

Players that aren’t even regular members of their competitions’ starting XIs are dwarfing Tottenham’s primarily contributors by twice as much or in the case of Dele Alli v. Yaya Toure, nearly four times as much.

Back in late April the Evening Standard hypothesized that this success would bring pay raises to their core talent at a club that could easily afford to double and triple many wages. It only took two weeks for the Mirror to publish a story dismantling that hypothesis.

“They would be expected to honour those contracts. They wouldn’t have had a reduction if things had gone badly. DL [Daniel Levy] said no player would be sold who Tottenham didn’t want to sell for non-footballing reasons.”

And that’s all fine and good, Pochettino has assurance his players won’t be sold, even for £150m in Dele Alli’s case (according to Levy). But, as anyone who pays attention to world football knows, it’s not always the team’s decision in these matters, especially when a player’s head is turned by substantially more money and the jersey of a more successful club.

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With Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the back end of the two greatest careers of all time one can only imagine the money Barcelona and Real Madrid will be ready to part with to retool their attacks. And with PSG splashing out the cash for Neymar (and with rumors they’re about to lockdown Kylian Mbappe as I write) they seem to have no shortage of funds.

The scariest opposition to Tottenham may be in their own backyard in Chelsea and the Manchester clubs up North that have a trophy cabinets almost as full as their pockets. If Tottenham hopes to truly join the elites they’ll need to put their money where their mouth is or risk becoming a glorified Southampton.



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