Tottenham in danger of being cut adrift as rivals spend big

Having spent the final hours of the January transfer window offering huge sums of money for La Liga’s finest attacking talents, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp concluded transfer deadline day in a far more sober fashion. Having previously insisted that any potential deal for Scott Parker would represent too great a financial outlay for a player the wrong side of 30, Redknapp duly acquired the reigning FWA Footballer of the Year, with Parker requesting to be transfer listed to push through the move.

Souleymane Couibaly, a 16-year-old prodigy from the Ivory Coast, is Redknapp’s only other signing involving a fee, arriving from Siena having won the golden boot at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Emmanuel Adebayor’s arrival on loan from Manchester City should provide the physical presence that has been lacking up front, while endearing himself even further to Arsenal fans in the process. Free agent Brad Friedel plus two former Barcelona youth products, Cristian Ceballos and Yago Falque, a loan signing from Juventus, round up Redknapp’s dealings.

Most of Tottenham’s transfer activity this summer involved departures, with Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios moving to Stoke, Jamie O’Hara joining Wolves, Alan Hutton leaving for Aston Villa and Robbie Keane heading to the MLS. Spurs received in excess of £25m for these deals and made further savings by releasing Jonathan Woodgate, loaning David Bentley to West Ham and Jermaine Jenas joined Hutton at Villa, also on loan.

Tottenham’s most significant transfer window activity and the main focus of their efforts appeared to be in retaining the services of Luka Modric, a task they managed to achieve despite a late £40m bid from Chelsea. Whether such a bid would have been accepted a few weeks earlier would have been a very interesting test of Daniel Levy’s claims that their Croatian playmaker was not for sale at any price. Having expressed a desire to leave the club and requesting to sit out the recent Manchester City fixture, Spurs will hope that Modric can put the speculation behind him and focus on his immediate future with the club.

Tottenham have restricted Redknapp’s spending in recent transfer windows, having been initially indulged in order to resuscitate the club’s fortunes after a disastrous spell under Juande Ramos. In January 2009, Redknapp signed Jermain Defoe, Pascal Chimbonda, Wilson Palacios and Robbie Keane for a combined £42.75m, as Spurs eventually finished eighth. The spending continued the following summer with the arrivals of Peter Crouch, Sebastien Bassong, Niko Kranjcar, Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker, while Younes Kaboul was added in January as Tottenham finished fourth and secured Champions League qualification for the first time.

Since then, spending has been restricted, despite the money generated by their exploits in Europe. Last summer, Sandro and William Gallas were joined by a cut price Rafael van der Vaart, with Steven Pienaar the only notable addition in January. Spurs boast a talented young squad but with the wage restrictions currently in place, they are in danger of being left behind by the spending power of their rivals. With the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and even Arsenal breaking the bank, Tottenham’s solitary Champions League adventure may prove to be as good as it gets.

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