What a difference a year makes. Last summer brought utter farce at Tottenham with a lack of direction, no manager appointed and therefore no transfers until just before the season began and on top of that Harry Kane wanting to leave.
At the end of that farce, Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed and the Portuguese lasted less than four months into the Premier League campaign before he was heading back out the door.
Fast forward 12 months and Spurs have Antonio Conte, Champions League football, a belief around the club again, all their top players settled and happy and seemingly a plan to follow, one which has already resulted in three new signings putting pen to paper before most other clubs have announced a transfer.
READ MORE:What Fabio Paratici is doing to secure further transfer funds for Antonio Conte at Tottenham
Just seven days ago, itself only seven days after the transfer window opened, Tottenham secured their third signing since the end of the season, one of the best central midfielders outside the established Premier League top six in Yves Bissouma for a deal worth more than £ 30m with add-ons.
Before the window had even opened Ivan Perisic was snapped up on a free transfer, a super-fit Conte favorite and a player who provided 10 goals and nine assists for Inter Milan last season from 49 appearances as a wing-back. England international goalkeeper Fraser Forster was also signed to provide experienced back-up to Hugo Lloris.
Spurs are moving at a pace rarely seen before from them in the transfer market – their £ 150m cash injection cushioning their usual need to sell first – yet the thirst for new signings has reached such levels that some on social media seem genuinely angry that they are not witnessing a transfer a week at this moment.
Partly it’s indicative of how much passion and excitement Conte has created around the club or it’s the fear of what might happen if he is not satisfied, partly it’s previous gripes with transfer window activities at Tottenham and partly it’s the heightened, exaggerated state of mind that exists for some on social media for most things in life.
For context, when this article was written, of Spurs’ rivals in the Premier League, Manchester United and Chelsea were yet to sign a single player, Manchester City had completed just one at this stage, Arsenal had been linked with stars aplenty but in reality had signed just two players, while Liverpool, like Spurs, have also completed three incoming transfers, but two of them are teenage prospects.
We in the media are also to blame of course. The sheer volume of stories published by outlets across the world during the transfer window naturally builds up fan expectations. The stories come from many different sources, sometimes from agents simply looking to build interest in their client or get them a new contract, sometimes from selling clubs looking to stir other interested parties into action and sometimes from others with ulterior motives.
Yet football fandom often produces an odd reaction when it comes to stories in the media. When it’s something exciting that they want to hear, the article or tweet is deemed to be true and worthy of their belief. When it’s not what they want to hear, well there’s often an entirely different judgment on the veracity of the source.
The result is that frustration grows because clubs have often “missed out” on players who in truth they never even made a move for. For example, a simple conversation with an agent, manager, family member or those at clubs about various players can be amplified into an approach or a bid that never actually came.
Spurs’ managing director of football Fabio Paratici’s style of transfer dealing does not help when it comes to such stories. The 49-year-old’s renowned approach is to negotiate with players’ representatives for up to 10 potential targets for every position he is looking to fill in a squad and then choose which one to approach a club about and pull the trigger on.
That creates a spider’s web of potential transfers and most of them end up creating headlines online and it’s amid that frenzy that the fans’ craving for new signings comes.
Conte wants plenty of Spurs’ new faces to be on that flight to Korea on July 9 and more will be, but transfers are not always as simple as they might seem on paper, or on FIFA or Football Manager. There are many moving parts to them and if circumstances dictate that a top signing or two must come later in the window, Conte and certainly the fans will not be complaining when they are holding the shirt aloft.
Context is important though, calm is needed and after last summer’s debacle, Spurs do seem to be pulling in the right direction again.