Supporters would sympathise with Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy if the issue was about money and not having the sums which Chelsea and Liverpool utilised. This is not the case. Having bid £23m for Andy Carroll two days before the end of the window and attempting to sign former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi for £30m and having them rebuffed, no new striker was signed. A striker was particularly needed to aid Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavluychenko who hold just six league goals combined. These figures are rather worrying for a team that wants to succeed at the highest level both domestically and in Europe.
Chelsea’s signing of Torres is expected to revitalise their disappointing season and enhance their rather slim title chances. With Tottenham being Chelsea’s closest challengers in their bid to reach next year’s Champions League, their weaker squad faces the prospect of not retaining Champions League football. This has severe consequences. Failure to qualify would mean a sharp loss in revenue, want-away players and a certain loss of the capacity to make similar bids for strikers as they have done this January. It would mean that as their rivals improve, Tottenham take a step back, with the fear that an exit from the Champions League spots this year may mean an exit for a quite prolonged period of time, especially as an improved Liverpool is expected to step up and reclaim a Champions League spot that they feel to be rightfully theirs. Recent history will show for teams such as Newcastle, Everton, Leeds and Liverpool that failure to re-qualify for the Champions League having already participated can have dire consequences for a club, on and off the field.
Despite the frustration of supporters at the perceived lack of ambition of the club as shown by the January signings, it is a Spurs squad that holds world class talent in Van der Vaart and Luka Modric while the future looks bright with the trio of Gareth Bale, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone. None of these players were signed for the figures shelved out by Chelsea or Liverpool but they provide huge confidence to supporters who believe they do not need a marquee signing to achieve.
Results on the pitch will only truly determine whether Tottenham’s dithering and inactivity in the transfer market will be the cause of their downfall. Chelsea and Liverpool have tried to arrest their slumps by financial means and as Chelsea attempt to distance their league position from Spurs while Liverpool tries to get closer, their season remains in limbo as does the long-term future of the club.