1. Where well else can you start but Harry Kane?. In a season where he truly broke onto the main stage at not just club but also international level he rightfully deserves all the accolades and plaudits that have been sent his way throughout the season, a season that didn’t really start until November in case you forget. His 31 goals in all competitions, 21 of them coming in the League which put him only second to Golden Boot winner Sergio Aguero in the scoring charts meant he was the first player to get 30 goals for Tottenham since a certain Gary Lineker but more importantly those goals propelled Tottenham to a 5th place finish this season. Kane who has been rewarded for his astonishing goal haul this season with a call up to the England Under 21 Squad for the European Championship will be looking to end his prolonged season on a high and a real chance of silverware. After those exploits a deserved rest will be in store and then it will be time to bat away any potential transfer talk with already rumours that Manchester United are plotting a £45m bid in the summer, personally I can’t see that happening but Spurs really do have to get rid of this “selling club” tag and keeping Harry Kane at The ‘Lane for at least another few seasons will go some way to doing that.
2. No silverware this season but ultimately getting to a League Cup Final has to be credited as some kind of success. Unfortunately like so many other teams we came up second best to Chelsea on the day and except for Christian Eriksen hitting the crossbar early on we never really threatened or looked liked scoring. If that free kick from Eriksen goes in then we’ve got a different game on our hands, but it just seemed like that it wasn’t going to be our day at Wembley on that wet March Sunday afternoon. Although we came up short it did feel good to get to a Cup Final again and will be a good bit of experience for what is the youngest average aged side in the League, if we can get into the habit of getting to a few more finals over the next season and surely we will be lifting silverware sooner rather than later.
3. Finishing 5th in the League is an improvement on last season so the squad certainly get a pass on that front. Again it’s another season of Europa League Football that awaits us and although there were cries around March/April that we should just finish 8th or so and get out of the cycle for a year I think it’s a dangerous thing to wish for because once you start aspiring to not be in competitions than it’s a start of a downward spiral for the club, this is only my opinion but you want to see the club competing on as many fronts as possible. There were some great moments in the League namely the 5-3 over Chelsea on New Years Day and the 2-1 win over Arsenal in February but we never really looked like threatening the top 4 clubs and our season started to really fizzle out after the League Cup Final. A gap of 6 points was the difference between us getting Champions League or Europa League Football next season as always hindsight is a wonderful thing but with 3 defeats in our last 8 games it could have been a very different story last Sunday had our final quarter of the league form been a bit better. But on the whole it has been a positive season in the league and 5th is certainly nothing to moan about (unless you really are against Europa League Football) the big question is can we build on that next season?
4. The big news wasn’t just on the pitch but off the pitch also as the plans for the new Stadium finally got the legal approval after the Josif Family’s appeal were defeated in court. Now that there are no more hold ups this means Tottenham can get on with the much needed job of building the stadium that we need to stay in the top echelons of the Premier League. With a new and much bigger stadium then match day revenues can be increased which ultimately gives us the chance to compete with the other 5 clubs who are realistically aiming for Champions League Football each season. Had we been further delayed then the gap would probably get wider and then become nearly impossible to gain entry to the Top 4. With the plans being delayed it means that the timetable for building has had to be altered, the upshot of this means we will have to go “on the road” for a season with the MK Dons Stadium being touted. This is not an ideal situation but I suppose it’s an necessary evil if we are finally to get the stadium we have been craving for so long.
5. Mauricio Pochettino had a good debut season, there were the initial early murmurs of a “Poch Out” campaign when we were in 7th or so in the early part of the season but I think once he had that dressing room talk and said to his players if you’re not prepared to buy into my philosphy then there is the door the penny started to drop for a lot of the players and the results started to improve. The players said to have incurred Pochettino’s wrath where Adebayor, Kaboul, Capoue and Lennon. The first three hardly featured there after while Lennon was shipped out to Everton on Loan in January and won’t be likely to return in August. Once those bad apples were removed from the core of the first team, Pochettino had a core of players who were willing to work for him and how pleasing must it be to see his faith in players such as Ryan Mason and Harry Kane rewarded with such great results especially with both of them becoming full England internationals this season. Credit must also be given to his fitness work that was carried out on the squad, testament to this was shown with the amount of late goals we scored to turn draws into wins. Even with a couple of minutes to go the team before March were running through brick walls right to the end at Christian Eriksen always seemed to be popping up with a late winner (Hull and Swansea away spring to mind) after the League Cup Final we saw a bit of a drop off but that’s understandable with the amount of workrate we were showing in the first two thirds of the season. Questions could be asked about squad management especially with the rotation of players in the Europa League this was at it’s most apparent when we had Fiorentina 3 days before the League Cup Final but I think he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t when trying to decide where to put which eggs in what basket so this is only really a minor gripe but on a whole it’s been a positive first season for Pochettino and the “Poch Out” campaign is very much a “Poch In” one now.
6. In the Summer we need to sort out the Centre Back conundrum (again). Pochettino’s first mistake albeit they were few this season was to make Younes Kaboul Captain a decision which certainly raised a few eyebrows when it was first announced and definitely backfired when Kaboul was pretty much frozen out after the aforementioned incident above. This has left our options to be Jan Vertonghen who has been mainly solid if not amazing this season. I like the player and think he’s currently the best Centre Back at the club but he looks like he’s not interested and wants to be somewhere else, problem is no-one’s going to buy him for a big club offering Champions League Football unless he raises his game. There seems to be a case of delusions of grandeur for the Belgian International whether he wants to remain at the club and sign another contract remains to be seen so if Daniel Levy does get a sensible bid for him then it might be time to cash in. As for our other options, Federico Fazio or Vlad Chriches (or The Chuckle Brothers as I like to call them) they are definitely defenders of a Europa League level (I’d argue Chiriches isn’t even that) both of them always look like there is a mistake waiting to happen when they are on the ball, bomb scare defenders I like to call them. But with a choice of two from three, Vertonghen and Fazio seeming to be the favoured selection it’s certainly not a solid enough partnership and certainly one where opposition managers will look to exploit a weakness as has been proved this season. If we want to move on a level then I certainly think a Centre Back or Two should be top of the shopping list this summer, we need to create a partnership that is solid and then we can build on stability to use as a platform for the rest of the team. Eric Dier has shown some promising performances but he still a work in progress another couple of seasons and he could be something special but he has been caught out a few times this season but hopefully these mistakes will disappear with experience. He should be one to watch in a couple of seasons times.
7. If Harry Kane has been the man then the rest of our strikers have been pretty anonymous, although we’ve finished 5th this season it’s fair to say that Harry Kane has pretty much dragged us there with only a token contribution from Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor. Now doubt about it Harry Kane is the Number 1 striker at the club now, but we can’t expect to play every game next season, as for reinforcements Roberto Soldado is a busted flush since THAT miss away at Fiorentina in February and if we can recoup anything close to half of what we purchased for him then we should cash in as I think his career at Tottenham needs to mercifully be put to an end. In the case of Emmanuel Adebayor the sooner we can get that mercenary off the books the better, he looked good under Tim Sherwood but this season he’s been a shell of that player in the few opportunities he’s had, with the baggage that seems to come with the Togo International it would be a lot easier just to dump him out to some Middle Eastern club with more money than sense. So I reckon depending on who we ship out and I hope both Soldado and Adebayor go then we would certainly need two more strikers in the summer. I don’t know who would be in the market for if this was the case someone like Danny Ings springs to mind but I think anyone who is signed has to come knowing that they’ll have to get in line behind Harry Kane if they want the sole Tottenham central strikers berth.
8. Need a key transfer window this Summer – it’s as simple as that. After getting the “Bale Money” of 100 Million Euros, it’s fair to say bar Christian Eriksen we’ve pretty much wasted it. As Liverpool showed as well as us that when replacing a superstar player then quantity does not mean it’s better than quality. The replacements that came in for Bale have pretty much been a collective flop and last Summer’s transfer window was more solid but on a whole a bit unspiring to be honest. Now that Mauricio Pochettino has been in charge for a season he’ll have a better idea of who he wants to keep and who he wants to ship out with reports surfacing today that we’re going in for Burnley’s Kieran Trippier at Right Back for £3.5m, this could be a good start as we’ve been a bit light in the Right Back department this season but don’t forget DeAndre Yedlin should also more of a contender for the RB slot by August as his gradual adjustment to the English game continues. I think Daniel Levy’s “model” so to speak will be no more big transfers in the £30m mold like Lamela or Soldado but more in the bracket below with as always the potential to sell them on for a hefty profit. Now that Paul Mitchell has been hired to deal with the recruitment side then this Summer will be a litmus test of whether he can perform the same wonders that he did when at Southampton. I would imagine him, Levy and Pochettino will be having a lot of discussions over the next few weeks as they look to snap out some potential targets. There is money to spend and hopefully we have learned the lessons of the wastage post Bale which should mean a few more names hopefully coming to White Hart Lane this off season. If we can get rid of deadwood such as Capoue, Stamboli, Chiriches, Paulinho, Adebayor and Soldado then even better.
9. Erik Lamela if he manages to stay this Summer will have to have a key season to really show that he was worth the £30m price tag we paid for him back in 2013. It’s been a better in the sense that he has played more often (29 League games this season to 9 last season) and he’s also chipped in with 2 goals compared to a blank last season but he still has a tendency to go anonymous at times. When players move to England from abroad it’s all about adjustment and not everyone adjusts at the same time, some don’t even adjust at all so for now I think Lamela still has the will of the fans on his side who very much want him to succeed but if after a 3rd season of little effectiveness and hardly any goals then you can no longer say that the jury is out and that he will probably have to be shown the door. A key season for Lamela this one, it’s either going to make or break his Tottenham career.
10. Hanging on to Hugo Lloris is going to be a key battle this Summer. Unfortunately we didn’t deliver on Champions League Football this season and I don’t know if Hugo Lloris has a break clause in his contract in which he can leave if we don’t get a Top 4 league placing. Whether or not this is the case there will be no doubt a handful of suitors for him this Summer. Manchester United could be the obvious destination for the French international if David De Gea does end up going to Real Madrid, so I suppose it all hinges on whether that move goes ahead first but again this all boils down to whether Spurs can shake off that selling club tag that they quite frustratingly but in all honesty fairly get labelled with. If we can hold on to Hugo then that will be a big indication of our ambitions this season, if we can’t then it will be a massive blow to the club
11. New players to look forward to in the promising Alex Pritchard who has been a real positive on loan for Brentford this season and Dele Ali who stayed on at MK Dons after being signed in January. These two youngsters will reinforce the image that Mauricio Pochettino is trying to establish of a team full of young hungry and most importantly talented players. Balance that out with a solid spine and a bit of experience and we could have the makings of a very interesting squad next season.
So that’s my wrap up of the season from a Tottenham perspective, only my opinions and I’m sure everyone else will have different ones but if there’s any comments you want to make or feedback you want to leave then do feel free so.
Roll on August and Come On You Spurs!