White Hart Lane is being torn down and a new 61,000 seater stadium is being built in its place. That old ground gave Spurs so much of their energy and power last season and who knows how much will be lost with the move to Wembley this year. Spurs never really got going at Wembley last season and they will have to do better this year, re-creating that White Hart Lane spirit, if they are not going to lose ground.
So far, no-one. It has been a remarkably quiet summer at Tottenham as they look hard for players who are good enough to improve them but who they can also afford. Going into the last few days before the season they have not even found a replacement for Kyle Walker, after the Ricardo Pereira move collapsed. Ross Barkley will probably end up at Spurs at the end of the month but Daniel Levy is in no rush to do anything, even if it means Mauricio Pochettino starting the season with a rather thing squad.
Tottenham’s new stadium: Now and in the future
Just one big one: Kyle Walker joining Manchester City for an initial £50million that could rise to £54m. Walker was very good for Spurs but this was not a hard one for Pochettino and Levy to stomach: Walker’s relationship with Pochettino deteriorated last season amid disagreements over his training and fitness. By the end of the season he was not even first choice and for that money Tottenham were relaxed about saying goodbye. Holding onto Pochettino’s key players will prove a more important task.
How are they going to line up?
Spurs’ best football last season came with a 3-4-2-1 system that they will likely stick to this year. That allows Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen to create off Harry Kane, but at its best it relied on the pace of Walker and Danny Rose. Walker has left, Rose is recovering from knee surgery, and if Spurs want pace out wide this season they may have to look elsewhere to get it. 3-4-3: Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Trippier, Dembele, Wanyama, Davies; Eriksen, Alli; Kane
What’s the one big question that must be answered?
Can the restrictive wage structure hold? Even Spurs’ top earners, Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris, earn a basic salary of less than £100,000 per week and the Spurs squad all realise that they could earn far more at Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea. So far this summer they have kept Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier and Danny Rose – whose recent admissions will have certainly rocked the boat – but there are still three weeks of the window to get through. Even after that they must keep distractions to a minimum this season and Levy may even have to break his structure, and start offering top money, to keep his top players. But will the stadium spend allow him?
What’s the best that could happen?
Spurs continue their development and, in Mauricio Pochettino’s fourth season at White Hart Lane, show a maturity and nous that had been long in the making. While their rivals are weighed down by politics and new signings, Spurs show the value of being a team first and foremost, where every player knows his job. They keep pace all season and then, at the very end, rather than stumbling, they keep going and finally get a trophy to show for their hard work.
What’s the worst that could happen?
The Wembley move kills Spurs’ special energy at home, and the magic dissipates further with top players all angling for big money moves away next year. Spending on the stadium means that they cannot be given good new deals and as Spurs slip out of the top four, it feels as if the Mauricio Pochettino era has certainly peaked.