We will never have a Premier League season like this again, and all involved with Tottenham Hotspur know that. Therefore, you can forgive them if there’s a few glum faces around the Enfield Training Centre today.
Once the initial despair of Craig Dawson’s header subsides, and the Lilywhites reflect on the 2015/16 campaign, it will be one they remember fondly; finally finishing above an Arsenal side managed by Arsene Wenger, automatic Champions League qualification and a handful of players well on their way to world-class status.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 13, 2016
To say Mauricio Pochettino’s side blew the title is hugely unjust and inaccurate; Chelsea blew it before a ball was kicked, United in October, Man City in January and Arsenal in March. There was every belief, prior to Leicester’s game against Swansea City, that the Lilywhites could still win the title, just four games away from the culmination of the 2015/16 season.
Spurs have long been a team of near misses and heroic failure – always the bridesmaids never the bride, if you will. However, with a spine of Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Dele Alli and Harry Kane, combined with Pochettino’s intense management style, this current crop of Lilywhites are no Andy Sinton, Ramon Vega and Ruel Fox under Christian Gross.
Tottenham are currently being built for the long-term, and will only improve with the right acquisitions this summer – it’s fair to say, an injury or two to Kane, Alli & co, would’ve majorly derailed the title charge, with the squad players not quite of the calibre of Spurs’ strongest starting XI.
Is the current XI better than that side that contained the mouthwatering trio of Rafael van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale? Individually? No. But as a team? Most definitely, yes. And Leicester have proved that title winners are made on the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
The only issue standing between Tottenham’s place amongst the new ‘top four’ is the vultures that have torn them apart, time and time again. However, there feels like there’s more structure and stability now. Despite that, though, you have to consider that Harry Kane, the man who will lead England’s line in France, *only* being on £50,000-a-week highlights the nature of where Spurs are in regards to becoming a financial powerhouse.
If the new stadium move can be orchestrated as superbly as Arsenal’s under Wenger, if Daniel Levy relaxes his grip around the purse strings and allows Pochettino to do whatever the former Saints manager wants to do, then Spurs will end that 55 years (and counting) of never finishing first.