Much has been made of Spurs’ failure to invest in this summer’s transfer window, and unsurprisingly so. The eye-catching statistic is how Tottenham have become the first club not to spend any money in the summer transfer window since its introduction in 2003, with The Independent suggesting that the club have broken this record for all of the wrong reasons. Yet how many clubs in that time have spent money erroneously at the expense of their current squad? It is easy to throw around criticisms of a failure to invest, but Spurs have not only retained their key players but have enhanced the team spirit that could be the deciding factor in a tight title race.
Of course, if Spurs are to earn their first Premier League title then they will have to usurp Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side have not significantly strengthened in the transfer window, with Riyad Mahrez a talented arrival who may end up playing at the expense of last season’s breakout star Leroy Sane. City perhaps didn’t need to strengthen, such was the gulf in quality in the last campaign. When City are in form, there is little anyone can do to stop them. But they will not be imperious forever, and it will be up to a challenger to be ready to pounce.
The Champions League may prove a distraction for City in the latter end of the campaign, with Liverpool reaching the final last year and failing to maintain pace in their domestic title challenge. Liverpool have strengthened impressively with the additions of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Alisson. Yet so much of Liverpool’s last season hinged on the remarkable feats of Mohamed Salah. A drop in quality from the Egyptian will not stop Liverpool being a formidable side, but it may make it harder for them to have serious designs on the title.
A look at the odds to win the Premier League in 2019 finds Tottenham as fifth-favourites to be lifting the trophy next summer, with Pochettino’s side available to be backed at odds of 22 on the Betfair Exchange. Punters are more persuaded by the title credentials of Manchester United and Chelsea, but those are two clubs in periods of relative instability. Chelsea have entered the expected period of transition that comes with a change of manager, with Maurizio Sarri inheriting a side without a world-class striker and a reliable central defensive pairing. Tottenham have both of these at their disposal.
As for Manchester United, their instability is largely caused by the temperament of Jose Mourinho. While their squad has some enviable talent, there are question marks over whether Mourinho will survive the whole season without alienating all of his players. He’s already managed to besmirch Paul Pogba’s strong opening day performance by causing his best player to come out with some caustic comments in the aftermath of the win. There are no such concerns at Tottenham; while Pochettino may be jealous of Mourinho’s admittedly impressive career trophy haul, he will not be shadowing the Portuguese to pick up man-management skills.
Harry Kane has delivered consistently for the past few seasons, with his World Cup Golden Boot perhaps sealing his status as the leading centre-forward in world football. Lucas Moura has had time to adjust to the Premier League to now produce his dazzling best, while Erik Lamela will be keen to repay Pochettino’s faith for sticking with him through injury. With young stars Dele Alli and Davinson Sanchez set to go from strength to strength, Tottenham should not be underestimated. While it will be hard for anyone to dethrone Manchester City, Tottenham’s squad free of egos and brimming with desire could have the perfect mentality to offer a prolonged chase for the title.