Do New Signings Signal a Change in Policy at Spurs?

Well no one expected this. Just when you think there’s nothing left at Spurs to surprise, we begin pre-season training with signings in the bag and more to come. The man whose transfer window brinkmanship is both loathed and envied in equal measure by his fellow chairmen has bought Vertonghen and Sigurdsson, lined up Adebayor and above all enabled Bale to stay, at least for a while. Rumour has it we’re actively in the market for several other promising players. Already I’m growing nostalgic for the White Hart Lane fax machine, glowing red-hot at one minute to midnight on deadline day as the chairman frantically unblocks another paperjam. Has Daniel Levy changed his buying policy and if so, why?

Although at first sight this business appears to mark a radically different direction, there are distinct signs of consistency rather than change at work. The new boys possess the value that Levy prizes above all: if all goes well they have their best years ahead of them, Spurs represents a step up and their fees were reasonable as presumably are their salaries. It’s not about being cheap and never has been. For these reasons Levy rightly sees value in these investments, an acceptable risk in the most uncertain market of all.

Also, Levy’s best work with contracts lately has been to tie our good players to long-term deals contracts. Over the past 18 months, Lennon, Huddlestone, Walker, Modric, Sandro and Livermore have all signed up, which gives them a reward for services rendered, is a statement of intent that we are to keep our best players and it protects their price if they are sold. Win-win, just the way Levy likes it. Bale is merely the next in line.

Then there’s the new manager effect. Levy has a decidedly mixed record when it comes to picking the new guy but when they arrive, he backs them with cash. Villas-Boas appears to be happy that his boss is being so responsive. Again, nothing new here.

What particularly interests me is why these players signed, because they must have turned down other offers. Of course it’s welcome to White Hart Lane, the world famous home of Tottenham Hotspur, with a reputation for playing good football. And for a small ground, low wages, no trophies and the Europa League. Let’s not kid ourselves: the newcomers are saying all the right things but they must have had a sweet deal. I have no problem with that, by the way. Not being critical, just reminding ourselves that N17 may be the ultimate attractive destination for us, not necessarily for anyone else.

Which begs the crucial question, has Levy shredded the hitherto sacred wage structure, the self-imposed salary cap of £70k a week? If so, it’s the most fundamental change of heart this century.

It’s likely that although the limit has been religiously adhered to over the past few years and contributed to our financial security, some players received substantial bonuses in order to either sign or keep them, for example lump sum signing on payments and/or “loyalty” bonuses after a year or so.

A couple of rumours from informed sources suggest Modric and now Bale earn 6 figure salaries. I doubt our own Siggy Stardust gets that but it’s probable we paid more than Liverpool were offering. He turned them down and the chance to work with Rodgers, the manager who developed his career enormously. Liverpool would have been favourites to beat us for his signature. No longer. Reports suggest Manu’s salary is apparently not a problem. That’s Manu accepting a pay cut of 100k a week. Just like that. I find that hard to believe. I suspect Levy has found something to bridge at least part of the gap. Either that or the lure of Sir Les as striker coach is impossible to resist. 

Although the cap was always controversial, one sound reason for keeping it has now disappeared. Give more to one or two new signings and this could unbalance the whole salary structure, causing resentment and friction in an otherwise settled squad. However, all the players likely to be at the top of the scale have now gone, bar Luka who is on his way. Keane departed long ago, King is about to retire, Pienaar to be sold. That leaves Defoe possibly but otherwise no one gets that much as far as I can gather. As ever, happy to stand corrected. The new guys are being handsomely rewarded no doubt, it’s just that everyone can move up without substantially altering the equilibrium that has underpinned excellent morale and team spirit or skewing the total budget.

Whilst there are elements of continuity in Levy’s transfer policy, his stance has shifted slightly but significantly. Learning from experience, he feels he has more budget flexibility and so can move earlier to tie up a deal without becoming a pushover as the prolonged Vertonghan deal shows. Despite the costs of the new stadium, the Premier League is awash with dosh from the new TV deal and anyway, we’re still not paying stupid money. These are good quality footballers, good value in the today’s market. In passing, it shows how far apart he and Redknapp were over transfers.

In other news, the new kit has been welcomed by most but not by me, because we play in white shirts and navy blue shorts. Not a lot to ask. Nevertheless, many have seen Under Armour’s responsiveness with fans plus a butch photoshopped team photo and 30 minutes of AVB in front of a microphone as evidence of good times to come. As for me, the mood feels fine but I’d prefer something more substantial than PR. Meanwhile, the complaints continue because it remains nigh on impossible to give Spurs money as tickets for the first game of the season go on sale to cries of frustration as the cruel mocking purple line returns to fans’ lives. Some things never change.


  1. TMWNN

    I think the bump in wages will be balanced by a more streamlined squad. Adebayor’s relatively small transfer fee will enable Levy to give him a lump sum to make up the difference between ours and his City wages, and, as you say, Levy has always backed a new manager with players. The Modric money will fund a couple of new players as well, along with more TV money, more sponsorship money etc..

    All these rumours of an imminent take over are precisely that. Not saying it won’t happen in the future, but if anyone is investing their own money in the club right now (and I doubt it), it’s probably Joe Lewis.

    Not too bothered about the kit, but it should always be the traditional blue shorts, white top (all white only for Europe).

    • My Heart Is White

      I think they made the whole kit white to confuse Luka and jedi-mind-trick him into thinking he’s at Madrid.

    • Alan

      There are rumours around that Lewis has given the club a substantial cash injection, which also underwrites a large proportion of the stadium costs, and as far as rumours go, a good source suggests a Qatari group is after naming rights at the very least.

      Thanks for the comment on WSC, by the way. Not that the original bothered me, it shows that non Spurs fans do think we are fickle in, as they see it, ‘dumping’ Harry. Not quite the case.



      • TMWNN

        I though that might have been you.
        You get the feeling that the ‘outsiders’ (possibly some on the inside too), would have used “4th, 5th, 4th” in defence of the last bloke had he been sacked for raping the tea lady. You only ever get one side of the story from them.

        I’m not a massive Levy fan, although ousting the last bloke went a long way in redemption over the Stratford debacle, but I’d love to read an autobiography of his time at Spurs one day.

        • TMWNN

          “You only ever get one side of the story from them.”
          ‘Them’ being the outsiders, opposed to raped tea ladies. I’m sure the latter are rather rare, although perhaps not at scumski.

  2. Varlow

    I always understood that the salary cap was for the team not individually at £70k a week. So the more we get off our books the higher we can pay our stars. We have youth in abundance that can step up to the mark on the subs bench, Smith, Carroll, Falque, Coulibaly and Kane.

    I’d guess we are paying a decent signing in fee to Manu of a few million to offset the gap in his wages.

    Am so looking forward to the new season


    • Brjnowski von Eruga

      Spurs blue. I’d like to see Spurs play in white/blue too, but still remember Gillie and Jimmy playing in blue white against Fulham which I liked.

      Alan: if MA accepts a £100K/wk salary drop (which presumably equates to £5M/yr) how big a bonus/lump sum is he expecting? Oooh.

      And I’d like to see a little more interest/action around the emergency exit door before splashing out oodles elsewhere. Anybody any ideas?

      • Alan

        Whilst I doubt we’ve offered to make up the whole difference, we must have gone some way. Mind boggling sums.

        Re exit, Pienaar’s fee is quoted as 5m, there’s Luka of course at 30m plus, Corluka’s gone (5m ish?), and Naughton, Jenas and Bentley could bring in something. Gomes too. I’ve written before that the less flexible players like Defoe and Lennon could be vulnerable under the system we assume AVB will play but I wouldn’t seel unless we had a damn good replacement.



    • Mikee

      Dark blue, (I assume). As I post, I’m looking at my signed photo of the double team in glorious black and white. The shorts are very dark but don’t look black.

    • Anonymous

      Got the new home kit today and have had to send it back, all the sponsor wording is peeling off, not impressed !!!!!!!!

  3. Harvey The Hudd

    If we use the Modric funds to go and get Damiao or Adriano, then I really will believe we mean business. If not, I fear another “so near and yet so far’ season.

  4. Chris Boyd Waters

    No point in selling Modric unless we can get a like for like replacement. And it looks like we’d have to pay almost as much as we get for the industrious little playmaker, for someone not as good!! He’s on contract so make him stay, play, and hopefully we’ll see the reigniting of his desire to be at a club that wants success, has ‘real’ ambition and is a whisker away from turning the Premiership tide …not Real ‘there’s only us and Barca, and we want it all and we want it now, or get shunted out!’ Madrid ambition.
    Enough of selling our best players! No more talking us down Redknapp stylie! Let Spurs really start living the dream again!

    • Alan

      Chris, I said the same last year and personally would repeat it this, but all the signs are that he’s really going. There was that issue last season about Levy promsing Luka he could go.



  5. IKnowAlanGilzean

    I prefer lilywhite top blue shorts white socks and all lilywhite for Europe, though we have worn all white at home in different seasons. My main gripe is grey trim… really?

    Not to tempt the footballing Gods, it could all go wrong when we start kicking a ball, but the summer is proving a positive and uplifting one at Spurs. Just what we needed after the Nightmare on the Home Straight (repeat) a few short months ago. I feel invigorated Spurs wise.

  6. Anonymous

    Tottenham actually have a chance to win it all this season with two new signings one who’s a goal scoring center back and one who’s just a natural goal scorer I have more faith in tottenham than I ever have now I want to go out and see a winning performance that can win the league or can at least get us to win the Barclays premier league or get into champions league one thing Harry made us out of the running.
    ,10years old

    • Alan

      Thanks for dropping by, Spencer. Certainly need a top striker or two, although the goals can come from midfield too – vital in the modern game. Maybe one more centre back. Goals from him will be a boost but how about sorting out our freekicks and corners so we get as many from set peices as do other teams.



  7. Harvey The Hudd

    Hi Alan
    I assume you had a little word with Daniel and he assured you that his shiny new pro-active, let’s get all our ducks in a line and towels on deck chairs before the Germans, persona was nothing more than a brief experiment! Normal service has now been resumed with a vengeance…plus ca change!
    What do you now expect to see as the reams of paper come flooding through the THFC fax machine/s at a minute to midnight?
    It surely can’t be right to play hardball at 40 million and to, once again, leave the whole club shrouded in uncertainty. Better to do the deal with Real at 33-35, buy Damiao and move forward. What are your thoughts at this point in time?
    Hope you’re having a pleasant summer. Best wishes

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