Tottenham Hotspur may not have a transfer budget for this summer. That’s the implication from Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard, who wrote that Jose Mourinho is tentatively planning on doing almost all of this summer’s transfer business via free agency or swap deals.
It probably shouldn’t be too surprising that this is emerging now. The financial picture at Spurs, and throughout the Premier League, is uncertain to say the least. Not only do we not know what the market will look like for this summer’s window, at this point we don’t even know when that window will take place and what will happen to players whose contracts expire at the end of May.
Kilpatrick doesn’t rule out some small amount of transfer fee, but the implication is that if there’s any money at all (that wouldn’t be funneled back to operations) it would come from player sales. And even in that situation it doesn’t seem as though there’d be a whole lot of money to spend — everyone else is in the same boat as Spurs are, financially speaking, so it seems unlikely that, say, a £15m fee for Juan Foyth would materialize.
Spurs have already been linked in the media to free agent Thomas Meunier from PSG, and there have been (spurious) rumours about swap deals with Barcelona for Tanguy Ndombele. Swap deals almost never happen in football despite them popping up in transfer rumors every summer... but these are hardly usual circumstances. It’s possible we could see some.
This could change if Premier League football comes back and the clubs don’t have to pay broadcasters back for lost TV revenue, but this is the clearest sign yet that this is shaping up to be another summer of austerity. At least this time, Spurs probably won’t be alone.