You're probably tired of hearing the talking heads in the media tell you how you should feel about the signings from last summer. You were thrilled when Daniel Levy finally stopped prioritizing profit over glory and decided to spend ALL THA CASH, but now Spurs are terrible again and your head hurts. You're confused, and you're starting to realize that cognitive dissonance isn't much fun.
That's where I come in. I'm here to think for you so you don't have to. More importantly, my opinions are always right, so you don't have to worry about sounding stupid when you repeat them in arguments with that douche Chelsea fan from your accounting class.
Here are my thoughts about each signing. Let's dive in
Erik Lamela It's been a lost season for our Argentine Bale replacement, but the good news is that this year doesn't look like it will hurt his chance of becoming the star his talent suggests he could be. The prevailing narrative is that he's struggled because of a language barrier and homesickness, but I'm not sure how much I buy that. Lamela's playing time has been so limited that he hasn't really had any chance to make any sort of impression. He hasn't set the world on fire, but he's played 331 minutes in the league. That's less than four games. The rational side of everyone's brain knows that sometimes good players are mediocre for four games, but we still lose our heads when bad things happen in small samples. Let's hope he can recover from the injuries and get some run before the season's over.
£30 million is a lot of money for any player, but Lamela was (and still is) talented enough to justify the price tag. The jury's still out on the signing, but I tend to think that Lamela will come good
Etienne Capoue There are a lot similarities with Lamela here in that Capoue hasn't really seen the field enough to be viewed as a failure, though that isn't stopping the twitter hashtag brigade from burning him at the stake. It looks like he isn't much of a central defender. That's kind of a bummer, but it shouldn't be the end of the world seeing as he was brought in to play midfield. Have I mentioned that he's gone the full 90 minutes just twice as a midfielder? Disappointing, sure, but when you take into account the injuries and the fact that most of the playing time he's gotten in midfield this season has been under Tim "doesn't believe in defensive midfielders" Sherwood, I think Etienne probably deserves a few more chances to show his worth. Or Daniel Levy could magically sell him for a profit, and we'll forget he ever existed. Either way, I'm not complaining
Christian Eriksen £12 million for Eriksen is a pretty fantastic deal by any measure. Moving on
Roberto Soldado The idea that Soldado is some sort of terrible player seems pretty disingenuous to me. He put up goal scoring tallies ranging from respectable to elite over his last five seasons in Spain, so his contracting a bad case of the yips doesn't mean we should ignore a long track record of success in a top-tier league. Hiring him a sports psychiatrist would be useful. Jarrod Saltalamacchia can attest as to how helpful they are.
£26 (rising to £30) million is probably (definitely?) too much for a player as close to 30 years old as Soldado, but Bobby's been too good for too long as a finisher for this season's struggles with finishing to be indicative of anything more than a case of the yips (right? RIGHT?). But seriously, coming into this season, the one thing that everyone agreed on about Soldado was that he could finish his chances - the concerns about his game were more rooted in whether he could do enough in the other parts of the game to justify his bloated transfer fee. Given that he's been getting into position to score and has provided reasonably good support play, I think the best is yet to come for Soldado at Spurs. Still, when you sign an older player for a massive fee, you're judging them on what they can accomplish in the short term, because you're probably not going to recoup your investment. As a general rule, that's why you shouldn't break the bank on older guys.
Vlad Chiriches Vlad was basically a complete unknown coming into the season, and I tended to think the concerns about whether swapping Caulker (which is what happened - their wages and transfer fees are almost the exact same) for a guy in Romania nobody had ever heard of were pretty reasonable at the time. That said, Vlad's shown enough promise to make me think he can end up being a useful, or even a very good player. Or he could turn into Thomas Vermaelen. Nothing would really surprise me with here.
Paulinho In theory Paulinho's game is based around his ability to get into the box and score goals at a high rate for a midfielder. In actuality, that isn't really happening, as he's scoring goals at a level you'd associate more with a guy like Luka Modric (a player who scored more goals than a lot of midfielders, but whose true value lie in other areas) than prime Frank Lampard, his most frequent comparison coming out of Brazil.
In theory, Paulinho is like Lampard in that his penchant for trying to do things around the box meant that he sometimes left a little too much space in midfield than is ideal. That offense for defense trade-off is obviously worth making if you add to the attack like Lampard. Paulinho's had his moments in the attack, but he's not doing enough on the aggregate to make the trade worthwhile
Brett rainbow has written thoughtfully about the tactical issues caused by Paulinho's positional indiscipline. You should read his stuff, it's good
He's good for Brazil, so if you're trying to be optimistic that's something you can point towards. I guess
£17 million looks like a pretty big miss here
Nacer Chadli Chadli is another player who hasn't played a ton of minutes, but I'm a little less optimistic about his prospects than I am of those of several of the players listed above, as he came to Spurs without the resume of some of the players listed above. He's scored once and assisted twice (one of the assists was this) in about 11 games' worth of cumulative Premier League minutes. That's a smailish sample, so there's still time for him to turn things around; it's worth noting that he's making key passes at a better rate than Lennon or Townsend, and from a more subjective viewpoint, he's had some bright moments in substitute appearances. At £7 million pounds, Chadli was mainly bought to be a squad player and spot starter; it's not entirely clear yet whether he'll be good enough to stick in that role, or if he even wants to. If Levy could sell Chadli for the fee he was purchased for, it might make sense for everyone. Chadli gets to go somewhere where he can see starter's minutes, and Spurs can buy a higher upside talent, whether that's Yevhen Konoplayanka or someone else. It's still hard to judge a player who's played as little as Chadli has, though. Noticing a trend?
With a few qualifiers, I felt pretty optimistic that Levy and Baldini had done a good job of spending the Bale money. For the most part, I still feel pretty good about things, even if they don't look quite as promising as they once did. There were some hits and some misses, but I think most objective observers will agree that the transfer window of summer 2013 wasn't an unqualified success on August 31, and it isn't an unqualified failure today. The main conclusion I'm drawing is that most of these guys need more time on the field to show their worth. Feel free to call me an idiot in the comments if you disagree.