For years, Tottenham Hotspur has been somewhat of an enigma; a great club, with great fan backing and the potential for great football. It is in this final factor that Tottenham have struggled.
Under Martin Jol and Juande Ramos, Tottenham were a mixed bag; they would either go out and win 4-0 or struggle to overcome cellar-dwellers. The introduction of the experienced Harry Redknapp saw an end to this and the introduction of a systematic way of doing things.
With Redknapp’s coaching and savvy transfers Tottenham are now ready to take on the world, and this slideshow outlines how they have developed under Redknapp and why they can now consider themselves genuine title contenders.
In seasons gone by, Tottenham have had a frequently changing front line; from the little and large partnership of Defoe and Crouch, to the curious case of Roman Pavlyuchenko and recent MLS arrival Robbie Keane.
The signing of Emmanuel Adebayor (admittedly only on loan at this stage) signals the arrival of a striker with the ability to convert all of Tottenham’s midfield talent into goals.
This is to take nothing away from Defoe, who can consider himself unlucky to have missed out due to the introduction of Adebayor as the lone striker with Rafael Van Der Vaart playing behind him in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Adebayor though, is a striker who has represented both Arsenal and Real Madrid in the Champions League and who is used to the highest expectations. Bringing in players of this mindset is essential to any championship winning team.
The Togolese forward also adds a consistency that has been missing at Tottenham for some time; at both Manchester City and Arsenal he scored 61 goals in 139 appearances combined, averaging almost one goal every two games over a four-year period.
Adebayor is what every Premier League contender needs; an out-and-out goal machine.
Tottenham boast one of the strongest midfields in all of England today, flanked on either side by two of the most electrifying wingers in the world. Spurs' midfield is probably their strongest point, with Scott Parker and Luka Modric providing flair, near-perfect passing and an ability to score goals from almost anywhere on the pitch.
They are backed up by English rookie Tom Huddlestone and Croatian live-wire Niko Kranjcar, both of whom could be playing first team football at almost any other club in England.
On either side Bale and Lennon are both among the quickest players in any competition, as well as being a permanent threat for both goals and assists. One need only look at the way Bale took apart Maicon in the Champions League and Lennon tormented Patrice Evra in the Carling Cup final to appreciate the skills of these players.
The midfield of any team dictates their style, speed and tempo of play, so having such a balance of pace and passing will always be a threat even against the traditional powerhouses such as Manchester United and Chelsea.
In years gone by Tottenham have always had a slight tendency towards being weaker in the backline. In the last couple of seasons Harry Redknapp has addressed this issue by creating a nice blend of youth and experience.
In Michael Dawson and Ledley King, you find two experienced and highly-talented English defenders, both worthy of international acclaim. The problem however, lies in King’s inability to train and play regularly due to a permanent knee injury.
This left Tottenham constantly reshuffling their defence and not being able to find a rhythm, before the arrival of Williams Gallas gave Spurs some much-needed depth. At 34 years of age, Gallas is a Premier League stalwart, with 101 appearances for Arsenal and 147 for Chelsea, while also bringing with him a wealth of Champions League experience.
On either defensive flank, there is an abundance of youthful talent in Benoit Assou-Ekotto and future England international Kyle Walker, who have enough defensive skill to keep most attacks at bay whilst also providing bombing runs forward.
Overall, Tottenham have blended youthful flair with 699 Premier League appearances between Dawson, King and Gallas. Tottenham finally have the calibre of defence to keep out any attack and do justice to their incredible attacking capabilities.
Looking objectively at the top teams currently in the Premier League; Manchester United and Chelsea are in a stage of rebuilding and replacing key players, Liverpool are in need of a change of style, Arsenal are still lacking that 10% to make them Champions, while Manchester City simply buy whatever they want.
Tottenham however are ready now; they have the players, the manager, the stadium, the fan base and the heart to make that jump from top-four team to Premier League contender. This season marks a changing of the guard, Manchester City are a genuine powerhouse while the traditional big names have had less dominance.
If results go their way maybe, just maybe, Tottenham fans will have the ultimate prize to call their own and the face of English football will change.