Andre Villas-Boas might have thought he had met some of the most stubborn figures in English football when he was manager of Chelsea last season, but he was yet to live through a summer transfer window conducted by Daniel Levy.
It is August and so it follows that Levy is tearing up his Spurs squad and rebuilding it all at the same time, as few other clubs do. Players are coming and going, although no one is certain who and for how much – just that it will probably take until midnight a week on Friday for the whole thing to be resolved.
The signing of Emmanuel Adebayor last night on a permanent deal from Manchester City, on a contract subsidised by the selling club, is a triumph that eases some of the pressure of a lack of strikers. But there is much to do.
Levy has acted on the recommendation of his manager to move on two players who were once prime examples of Tottenham's policy of prioritising young English signings. Tom Huddlestone, 25, is on his way to Stoke City on loan. Michael Dawson, 29, right, will move to Queen's Park Rangers for around £8m.
Both bought by Spurs from Championship clubs in January 2005 at the ages of 18 and 21 respectively, they were emblematic of the club's approach at that time. It is not to say that Spurs have abandoned that policy. Steven Caulker, 20, called to up to the England squad this month, is highly-rated at the club and now has a place among the four first choice centre-backs with Ledley King's retirement and Dawson's imminent departure.
The Spurs bench on Saturday at St James' Park was well-stocked with English youngsters like Kyle Naughton, Harry Kane and Andros Townsend. Whether any are good enough to break through is another matter. At the same time, the club is clearing out others once considered young, English and promising – the likes of Jermaine Jenas, David Bentley and, on loan, Danny Rose.
The picture is confused once again, but no one could doubt that Levy is in control. Were he still in the Spurs job, Harry Redknapp would have been complaining at every opportunity in the last few weeks at having just one striker – Jermain Defoe – at his disposal.
As it is, Villas-Boas, grateful for the opportunity to manage Spurs, has no other option but to bite his lip. He can only hope that it all comes together at the last moment. That Levy gets his £40m plus fee from Real Madrid for Luka Modric that he has held out for all summer and that there is time then to buy a new first-choice goalkeeper, a left-back as cover for Benoît Assou-Ekotto, at least one more wide player and a striker.
The Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho is the key man whom Villas-Boas wants but at £20m is simply not an option. So too striker Fernando Llorente, who has a huge buy-out clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract. There are doubts over the suitability of Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, off-field questions which have given other Premier League clubs reason to pause too. Looking at their squad as it stands, with Scott Parker still injured and so many others halfway out the door, it is intriguing. Levy got £3m from Norwich for Sebastien Bassong yesterday and one can but assume he will hold out right to the bitter end for similarly inflated prices.
You might have thought that they had recognised the season starts with the first fixture, not the close of the transfer window, but this is a club and a chairman who seem to like the adrenaline rush of the last few days.
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