That means we are always going to be a stepping stone club to bigger teams and we have to therefore search for players who are young, which means they'll be inconsistent, with the ability that could develop them into top quality players, which the big clubs are naturally then going to be interested in. We are in effect a finishing school for players.
If we want to compete with the bigger Champions League sides with £100m more income than we have then Spurs have to develop lesser players to that level. When they get to that level they are going to want to play at it if we are not there. They are not going to, and can't for the sake of their careers, wait around in the hope we will catch up. The sales of Gareth Bale and Luka Modrić were only to be expected, such sales will continue while we remain where we are.
A footballers career is short, wasting years not playing in a Champions League team with a chance of winning it when you could be, doesn't therefore make any sense. We have to keep our best players, we will if we are in the Champions League, we won't if we aren't, they are not going to stick around while we try. It's a fact of life and the bitter hatred of players who leave to further their career is just childish.
Bale and Modrić have won a Champions League, clearly they made the right decisions for their careers, we couldn't provide them with that, we could only deny them that. The shoe is on the other foot with Morgan Schneiderlin now, he wants better, Southampton want to hold his career back.
Last summer we bought potential and in Paulinho and Soldado proven quality players. The potential players didn't fire though, that is only natural with young potential, you are trusting to luck a great deal. Christian Eriksen an Erik Lamela sum up the type of player we can buy.
All the top clubs looked at Eriksen and all said no, the talent is there but there were question marks and in the end we took a chance. Ordinary for most of the season he only got going for 3 months at the end under Tim Sherwood but defensively has big deficiencies. For that reason playing him wide is a risk which teams look to exploit.
This season we will be looking to him to show his end of season form consistently, can he do that? We'll find out.
Erik Lamela has talent in abundance and you have the feeling with him that he is going to be inconsistent. Much will depend on his confidence levels but I suspect we are going to have a good game followed by a mediocre one while he adjusts in what effectively is his first season in the Premier League. He was injured and not played last season, you can't adjust to something if you are not even exposed to it.
There is an expectation with Erik Lamela this season but it's a hopeful expectation rather than an outright expectation.
The pair sum up where Spurs are at, the plateau we have been on for years now. We can buy the quality that has the potential to take the next step, Spurs want to take the next step. When the two coincide with the right manager, when we get a group of players together who improve that next step then we'll take it, then we'll have a chance of keeping them, then we can start to grow and compete.
Do we have a group of players who can improve individually and collectively? Do we have the right manager? The answer to the second is I think yes we do, the answer to the first and open to debate.
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At the moment we seem to be in a phase of buying players we have to develop to the plateau we are on (Dier for instance) and then progress them beyond, while also improving those already on our plateau (Eriksen, Lamela), sprinkled with a tiny few who are already higher level players (Lloris, Vertonghen).
In the meantime we are a level below but even at that level we are probably under performing. Spurs are at European level, we are consistently in the Europa League, but quite frankly we should then be challenging to win it rather than taking part in it.
Spurs have had large squads that we haven't used well. If we aspire to be a Champions League team we should be semi-finalists in the Europa League at least. The final last year was fought over by two Champions League teams, the same the season before.
It's that first bit of luck we need, getting the right group of players together to begin with, alternatively you are relying on the brilliance of a manager and that hasn't worked.
Fingers crossed the right group of players have come together at the right time under the right manager.