One club which has not spent a single penny on buying new players so far in this transfer window are Tottenham Hotspurs. In fact, they have sold their full back Kyle Walker to rivals Manchester City for £50 million. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was in New York and spoke with Nasdaq Q&A to explain the philosophy behind the transfer strategy they have adopted. Levy believes that such transfer spending is unsustainable.
Close to £900 million has been spent by the top flight sides in the transfer window. This spending is expected to continue during the transfer window with the £1.165 billion record projected to be broken. Manchester United broke the €100 million barrier last season on Pogba and spent £75 million this season on Lukaku. Manchester City broke the transfer record for a defender this season. PSG are rumoured to be interested in Neymar are willing to spend €222 million. Real Madrid has submitted a confirmed record bid to Monaco for Kylian Mbappe. Such monstrous spending is increasing exponentially in each transfer window.
Levy said: “We have a duty to manage the club appropriately. Some of the activity that is going on at the moment is just impossible for it to be sustainable. Somebody spending £200m more than they’re earning, eventually it catches up with you. And you can’t keep doing it.”
He continued: “Obviously, when you’re building a stadium of this magnitude and it all has to be privately financed, there’s no state help whatsoever – it is a challenge.” This referred to the new stadium that Spurs are building which is estimated to cost around £750 million.
“We have to find the right balance but I can honestly say it is not impacting us on transfer activity because we are not yet in a place where we have found a player that we want to buy who we cannot afford to buy. Our position on transfers is that we have a coach who very much believes in the academy, so unless we can find a player that makes a difference we would rather give one of our young academy players a chance. The academy is important because if we produce our own players we don’t have to spend £20 million or £30 million on a player. An academy player has that affinity with the club and that’s what the fans want to see.”
Manchester United players are on tour in the United States and Mourinho ironically echoed the statements of Levy. He said that it is justified to spend big on players that are actually worth the money. But he believes, it is not justified to spend big on the other set of players who don’t deserve the price tag. He cited Pogba and Neymar as examples.
Speaking with reporters in Washington DC, he said “I always thought the problem is not what you pay for this kind of player, I don’t think the problem is what you pay for Pogba, I don’t think the problem is going to pay crazy for Neymar. I think the problem is with the other group, which is a big group because players like Pogba, there are one or two transfers [like that] per transfer window. The other ones are where you have 100 transfers, and for me that is the dangerous area of the market.”
He also praised the transfer strategy of Tottenham FC. He said “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. I think until now they spent zero pounds, right? For me the dimension of their investment is amazing. 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.”
Spurs have indeed played smartly in the transfer window. They are holding on to players they want and not spending unnecessarily. But the transfer window is still open. It will be exciting to see what happens next in the transfer window and how many more records are broken.