There’s lots of hand-wringing, both among Tottenham Hotspur fans and the English football media, over Spurs’ lack of movement in the summer transfer window. It’s been going on for so long that the arguments seem to have come full circle, past “Tottenham aren’t improving” and straight back around to “Actually, Spurs’ window is good because they kept all their good players.”
One of those admirers of Spurs’ goose egg in the transfer market is none other than Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Speaking in Washington D.C. ahead of United’s ICC match against Barcelona on Wednesday, Mourinho not only identified Tottenham as strong favorites to challenge for the Premier League title, but also praised the way they have managed to improve... by not improving at all.
“I don’t think we are big candidates for the title but we are [candidates]. Everybody speaks about the dimension of the investment at Man City but there is another team that I feel the dimension of their investment is also phenomenal – Tottenham. Until now they spent zero pounds, right? They keep everybody they want to keep. They keep Dele Alli, [Harry] Kane and [Toby] Alderweireld, they keep Eric Dier, they keep everyone they want to keep.
“They sold Kyle Walker I think because they wanted to sell. And probably because they think Trippier is as good as Walker. And he’s younger than Walker. Chelsea are champions and they buy now. We are halfway through the market and they buy [Antonio] Rüdiger, [Tiemoué] Bakayoko and [Álvaro] Morata. So every club makes different kinds of investments but all of them are investing a lot to win the title.”
Before we dig too deep into Mourinho’s comments, let’s step back for a second and just identify something he said that might have gotten lost a bit.
they keep Eric Dier
That’s right, Jose. We did. Moving on.
Mourinho is a manager who is renowned for using invective to rile up his opponents. He’s the undisputed king of the mind games. However, to me this has the sound of genuine admiration. The transfer market is remarkably fluid, as it always is — players constantly move as teams bid for the players that they want, and it’s pretty rare when a team is able to keep ALL of the players it wants, especially when it’s a team like Spurs that’s at a financial disadvantage compared to its rivals.
Of course, few people REALLY believe that Spurs are going to go an entire summer transfer window without any signings. We don’t know who those players are going to be, but it’s probably more likely that they are going to be players that are signed for depth or for future development and not ones who will walk straight in the team. (Counterpoint: FREE KOVACIC)
Mourinho’s no slouch, and he knows the kind of team that Spurs already have in place. It seems obvious that he thinks Tottenham holding serve while chaos reigns all around them in the market is going to be a good thing for Spurs’ title ambitions. Let’s hope he’s right.