After the latest round of games in the Champions League, one thing is evident. Madrid and Barcelona have squads that are heads and shoulders above anyone else. Say what you like about City and their promise this season, but the fact remains that in Europe they simply have not done the business.
United are also struggling, and lets not even go there with soon to be manageress Chelsea. The thing that is striking about these sides, and evenArsenal to a lesser extent is the money that has been spent on their squads over the last few years, and the question of if it has really meant success.
Don’t get me wrong, all the fore mentioned teams have frightening quality, and in the Premier League, it looks like being a two horse race between United and City, but with regards to the rest of the top four, does money really mean a great squad and an automatic place in the Champions League?
Look at the squad that has been complied by Harry Redknapp at Spurs – call him what you like, a wheeler dealer – it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Harry and Levy have managed to put together a squad of players who are more than capable of a top four finish – in fact a top three finish – and all on much less of a budget than London rivals Chelsea or even Arsenal down the years. Shrewd buys like Friedel and Parker have been much more successful than big money names like Torres or Mikel.
It even goes down to the amount spent on wages – when Spurs qualified for 4th place, they spent £56 million less on their wage bill than Liverpool – who did not even finish 5th that season – and have an all-round better structure in terms of finances – something that seems to be more attributable to Daniel Levy than anyone else.
Chelsea and Liverpool especially have spent big money on players who have not delivered of late – Torres and Carroll – and cannot claim to have a better squad than Spurs. In fact, they have less solidity at the back, less quality up front and both have less creativity in the middle of the park.
Any team in the Premier League would be hard pressed to claim a better midfield than Spurs, who have flare players in abundance and can change a game in a split second. Their streak of 8 wins in 9 games is no coincidence, and after the purchase of Parker, a steel was added to the heart of their team, and they have looked miles better for it.
Even United, who spent big in the summer are not that far away from Spurs now, and whilst City admittedly have the best squad in the league, they have spent hundreds of millions doing this, and are still struggling in Europe.
Yes, money is needed to an extent – the reason for Everton’s lack of progress is not a poor manager or bad players, it is simply a lack of funds to do anything at all – whilst hundreds of millions are not always needed for success, some amount of money clearly is, and Spurs have not been without this over the last few years – hence their progress.
It is the ability to do a lot with not that much that it commendable, and I read somewhere that if Arsenal were Barca lite, then Spurs are becoming a lesser version of Real Madrid – here I would differ. Both Real and Barca – although I am sure Rosell would attempt to state otherwise – have spend big in recent times, I would actually compare Spurs with Valencia.
The widely acknowledged ‘best of the rest’ in Spain for a number of years now, even winning the title under Benitiez and making strides in the Champions League. Valencia have a savvy manager in Unai Emery, and a good structure upstairs. They know that financially they cannot compete with the big two, and have sold Mata, Silva and Villa in recent years, yet still manage to somehow manage to remain competitive and challenge for, if not the title, everything else.
One thing that Spurs have managed to do this summer that Valencia could not – for financial reasons more than anything – was keep hold of their top and want away players. Levy stood firm over Modric and will repeat the process with Bale should Barca (who never spend a penny) come calling.
It is this that could well see Spurs surpass Valencia’s achievements and challenge for the title in the near future, not to mention that the top two in England are much less daunting than the top two in Spain, and the quality in their squad, not to mention the potential plans for a new stadium could well keep Harry’s heart ticking for a long time to come – the investigation into his finances however not so much!
Rebecca Knight for FootballFanCast.Com
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