Highest net spend in PL since Postecoglou arrived – what should the expectations be at Spurs?

€329m spent in 3 windows 

Highest net spend in PL since Postecoglou arrived - what should the expectations be at Spurs?

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This Tuesday Tottenham completed their second signing of the summer, as they confirmed the €41.3 million transfer of Leeds’ 18-year-old midfielder Archie Gray. That deal followed the acquisition of teenager Lucas Bergvall from Swedish outfit Djurgärden for €10m. Only ChelseaAston Villa and Brighton have spent more so far among Premier League clubs than Tottenham’s €51.3m, and Spurs’ early business contributes to a series of very active transfer windows for the North London club.

Remarkably, since Ange Postecoglou became manager at the beginning of last summer, no Premier League team has a higher net spend than Tottenham. As you can see below, they are -€190.85m in the red, despite selling star striker Harry Kane to Bayern Munich last July for €95m. They also rank second in total transfer expenditure in that same period, with only Chelsea spending more than Spurs’ €329.3m. So with that huge amount of money spent on transfers, what should the expectations be for Tottenham next season, and what would be deemed a failure for Postecoglou’s team?

€329m spent in a year  – what should the expectations be on Ange Postecoglou’s team?

As Postecoglou prepared for his first game in charge in North London last August, there wasn’t a whole host of confidence in what Tottenham could achieve in the 2023/24 season. The club’s all-time top scorer Kane had departed, many were unconvinced with the squad, and their new Australian manager had never managed in a top five league before. Nevertheless they came out the gates like a prime Desert Orchid, and led the Premier League table after 10 games. Suddenly all were aboard the Ange boat, and ambitions were soaring. However, a poor second half of the season where Spurs took just 22 points from their final 15 games meant they missed out on the top four and the prize of Champions League football.

In Postecoglou’s first transfer window at Tottenham the club spent a total of no less than €247.1m. Only Chelsea spent more. However, expectations didn’t quite match those figures as they had just lost their most important player, and it was viewed as somewhat of a rebuild. Last January no club spent more money on a single player than Spurs did in the €25m signing of Romanian centre-half Radu Drăgușin. Only Crystal Palace spent more as a club in what was a quiet transfer window. If Spurs’ spending is up there at the very top again this transfer window, expectations are likely to shift, and there will be pressure to obtain a top four finish at the minimum.

As you can see in the graphic above, Spurs ranked second in terms of Premier League clubs to have spent the most money on transfers in both the summer and winter window last season and are already fourth in this current transfer window. The recruitment strategy has certainly become more focused on bringing in younger players, with nine players signed aged 23 or under in the last 12 months. Therefore short-termism shouldn’t take over, and Postecoglou should be given adequate time to develop those younger stars and eventually bear the fruits. The squad the Australian inherited needed a serious overhaul and it would be unrealistic to expect to flick a switch and suddenly have Spurs challenging for the title. Nevertheless, football can be a fickle game, and there will be a lot more pressure this time around for this Spurs team.

Given the money spent and the more ambitious expectations obtained, you could expect huge disappointment if Tottenham find themselves outside the running for the top four come January. As can be identified in the graphic above, due to the huge spend last season, Postecoglou actually ranks lowest among himself, Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta, Aston Vila’s Unai Emery, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag when it comes to points gained per €1m spent in their first full seasons. Just 66 points gained, having spent €272.1m left Postecgolou with 0.24 points gained per €1m spent last season. There will no doubt be clamour for an improvement this time around.

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