Has Harry highlighted the one flaw halting Tottenham’s progress?


Written by Joe Austin for After Tottenham came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Arsenal in November, Redknapp talked up his side’s chances of winning the Premier League. But, by last week, he had changed his tune; “You need top players if you are going to compete with your top four rivals. We were looking at an extra striker in the January transfer window like Andy Carroll or Sergio Aguero, but it’s impossible. We could never have afforded them.”

But is this really the case, or is he just making excuses for his side’s potential failure to finish in the top 4?

The first point to make is that, come the end of the season, Harry will not have to make excuses to anyone. The Champions League run shows he is one of the best managers in the League. Tottenham have had a fantastic season, even if they do finish 5th in the League.

But can he really blame financial restraint if his side do not finish in the top 4?

It is not a secret that Tottenham have spent a lot of money on transfer fees in recent seasons. With this in mind, you could say that Tottenham have had money to spend and have just not spent wisely enough.

The table below shows the net spending on transfer fees for the last 4 years, by the clubs that currently sit at the top of the Premier League.

Net Spending on transfer fees (£)
Team 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 Total
Man City 39.1 117.9 99 126.5 382.5
Chelsea 7.5 -10.8 17.5 87.5 101.7
Tottenham 33.9 19.4 -0.5 17.5 70.3
Liverpool 39.8 6.35 -8.7 -5.1 32.35
Man Utd 36.7 33.7 -64.5 13.5 19.4
Arsenal -13.4 0.05 -31 6.8 -37.55

Tottenham may have spent £100m more than Arsenal and finished lower in the League every season, but Redknapp’s issue does not lie with Arsenal. Arsenal are one of the best clubs in the world at developing players and one of the only clubs who consistently play in the Champions League, and make a profit on net spending on transfer fees. They have shown that it is possible to create a top class side team through player-development; Arsenal buy talented players young and develop them. However, this does not make for overnight success. Even now, as a team, they are yet to fulfil their full potential. Harry’s issue instead lies with the fact that he cannot compete with Manchester City or Chelsea’s spending.

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  • woody says:

    He was talking about wages not transfer kitty, so the statistics are irrelevant.

  • N17 Yid says:

    Transfer fees is not the be all and end all when considering financial restraints. Look at the top earners of the above clubs and you will see a huge gap between what Tottenham are willing to pay compared to the rest.

  • goonergerry says:

    Spending millions does not automatically guarantee success-but relying entirely on growing your own has never once been successful in the EPL either. The problem with Arsenal is their young players are getting the wrong kind of experience- the experience of failing-their fear engulfs them at critical moments. They need a core of more experienced successful players to help them over this hump.

  • DAVSPURS says:

    This is not about spending and you would be amazed to find out we have no players costing more than 16 Million. We also spent Money we earned in outgoing transfers 18 Carrick 32 Berbatov Reid Defoe Boteng Malbrangue Bent 16 Millon Kaboul. We bought well Lennon 2 million Bale early payment 5 Millon Huddelstone 4 Millon Walker Naughton 8 Millon Modrick 16 Kranjcar 4 million Van der vaart 8 Million Gallas free Dawson 4 Sandro 6

  • IoanX says:

    Subsequently the current financial situation of Spurs makes it more than imperative for the club (given that it misses also the revenue of a big stadium) to set up and outline a proper transfer policy, where there will be no money spend on flops and mediocre players,as well an adequate scouting system which will allow Spurs to buy mainly players with CERTAIN qualities who are in an early stage of their football career and develop them and occasionally some experienced ones who, always, fulfil the same quality criteria.

  • Mark C says:

    With driftwood such as Woodgate, Keane, Bentley and King off the books this summer and some youngsters who are showing development such as Walker. The team can be just as strong with less wages.

  • Jim says:

    Transfer fees are a red herring in my opinion. It all comes down to wages. And Harry is right, Levy is not going to pay the 100,000+ a week it would take to sign a top striker. COYS!

  • DannyMackay says:

    Spurs have high net spending over six or seven years – through which the club has gone from relegation survivors to champions league challengers. In the same period ManU have gone from all-conquering to all-conquering – Arsenal have gone from invincible to also-rans – and Liverpool have gone from European Champions to laughing stock.

    On top of all that – Spurs have money to spend only because it doesn’t run up huge wages. A rumoured top wage of £70k per week is way below the other four clubs challenging for the top four.

  • Tony says:

    Good article. So many fans and pundits have a poor understanding of this area. Some say its your transfer spend that matters, others say its net spend on transfers. But the truth is it’s neither. Its a simple equation to work out your football budget (transfer fees paid – transfer fees received + wage bill). I get really cheesed off with Gooner muppets saying we spend more, when they fail to take into account that they normally spend about £50m more on wages. Taking into account inflation that probably means that Arsenal have spent over £300m more on wages since Wenger took over. In 2009/10 the wage bills were Spurs £67m, , Arsenal £111m, Manure £132m, Citeh £133m. Spurs top wages are around the £40,000- 60,000 a wk level. For Arsenal their ceiling is said to be around £80,000 -90,000 a wk. But remember as Gooners always tell us, most of their players are kids. In many ways that’s like Manure playing their top pros £120,000 -£150,000 a wk. That enables Wenger to attract some of the best young talent around. They cannot divorce that and say we spend more, its crap.

    Unfortunately until we build the new stadium we simply cannot to compete on wages. But there are advantages to this- how often do our players demand a move for more money? Not often, because they could have joined other clubs paying more in the first place. We dont tend to attract the mercenaries that others do eg Newcastle ,Citeh. Look at the problems that creates

  • jima says:

    You can’t compare how much teams trying to get into CL places spend compared to clubs trying to get into the CL places, as it’s much easier to attract free transfers and players that are coming to an end of their contract that are cheaper, like Spurs have now done with Pienaar

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