This season has been a rollercoaster ride for Tottenham fans. It was their first season in the Champions league in which they exceeded all expectations and reached the quarter finals only to be knocked out by Real Madrid. They have been produced some of the England and Europe’s most entertaining football this season and they are now being considered by their peers at the top to be a potential future threat. However, as the season is now reaching its climax, Tottenham’s form has dropped as a result of their focus, and subsequent exit, in the Champions league; it seems unlikely that they will participate in the competition next season. So the question is: what now for Tottenham? Where do they go from here? Do they just leave this season as a one-off, or do they improve on it and go forward from here?
First and foremost, they’ve got to keep ahold of their star players. Thanks to some top performances by some of their squad’s key members this season, these players have now become hot property across the continent. This summer is going to be an interesting one in the market because Tottenham’s resolve will be tested. Will they be able to handle the huge rumored incoming bids for some of their players? If these players were sold, what message would that be sending out to their fans? Previously the question wouldn't be asked as Tottenham would sell their big name players but now it seems, with Harry Redknapp at the helm, like that trend won’t continue. Players like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric (best midfielder in the Premier Leaguer in my opinion) in particular have been key elements in turning this Spurs side into a fun team to watch. Van Der Vaart’s first season in England has been a great success as he’s been pulling the strings in the team in his supporting role to the strikers. Not to mention the ever-improving Aaron Lennon who has, when on form, been a nightmare for left-backs. These quality players must not be sold if Spurs want to take a step further.
The second thing they must do is sort out, or strengthen, the spine of their team: the goalkeeper, the central defense, the central midfield and the strikers. Heurelho Gomes, for all his likeable qualities, simply makes too many errors that have cost Tottenham dearly at times this season and since he’s joined. A strong shot-stopper accompanied by a consistent central defense would be a welcome adjustment. William Gallas has looked, at times, 5 years younger and performed wonderfully but he needs consistent performers alongside him; sicknotes Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate seem to be made of cotton and are always out injured. Matthew Dawson, despite his improvement, is not stable enough. With Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart handling the attacking aspect of their central midfield, they’re left exposed at times in the midfield. Tom Huddlestone, Wilson Palacios and Sandro, all fine central midfielders, but are they top quality? Would they be starters at other top European clubs? It’s debatable, but a consistent ball-winner of the highest caliber would not hurt Spurs.
The top of that spine is the final and most important aspect that must be changed at Spurs. Roman Pavlyuchenko (12 goals), Peter Crouch (11 goals) and Jermaine Defoe (8 goals) have got some of the league’s best midfielders supplying them with the chances to score, and yet on numerous occasions we’ve seen them squander chances that only a donkey would miss. Any team that has Bale, Modric, Van der Vaart and Lennon creating the opportunities should have strikers that are scoring goals for fun. I’m sure there are quite a few statistic-nuts out there that would say that Bale, Lennon and Modric have, all together, only assisted a total of 8 of Tottenham’s goals this season so it is excessive praise that they are receiving. But that statistic supports my point. If you watch Tottenham you’ll notice how many chances these players create for their strikers and how many of those chances are missed. I wonder if they had a few world class strikers up there what damage they could cause. New strikers would enhance them tremendously.
Tottenham have got great potential to return to the Champions League in 2012 and to even mount a serious title challenge next season as long as they address these matters which I believe are necessary. Manchester City may have the money to attract the players, but Tottenham have got the flair to attract them. I believe it would be healthy for the Premier League to have more challengers for the title and Spurs could do it. They’ve already got a strong basis to succeed: they’ve got a good manager, they’ve got the money, they’ve got the fans and they’ve got quite a few good players in there that are close to world-class. The fact that they have spent close to £200 million (citation needed) on new signings since 2005 is what the board are probably wary about and that’s where it will be interesting to see if they will show their hand. But one thing is for sure, Tottenham have got great potential and it would be a shame if they didn't maximize it.