Tottenham's Summer Business Boosted by Liverpool's Hesitation

Tony MabertContributor IAugust 31, 2012

As is so often the case, Tottenham were one of the most involved clubs on transfer deadline day, having had a whole summer to take care of business.

What could have ended as a disastrous window for Spurs turned out to be a qualified success, courtesy of the signing of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from Lyon and the late addition of U.S. forward Clint Dempsey from Fulham.

Another attempt at an 11th-hour acquisition, Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho, did not come off despite the Portugal international being the only transfer target head coach Andre Villas-Boas specifically identified himself.

The failure to sign Moutinho has made the deadline-day departure of Rafael van der Vaart and the exit of Luka Modric earlier in the week look all the more significant in spite of the arrivals of Moussa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Dempsey can play in midfield as well as attack, but it is thought that the Texan will mostly be given an attacking brief with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor the only other senior strikers at the club. Young prospect Harry Kane was quickly shipped out to Norwich on loan soon after the Dempsey deal was completed.

Tottenham fans have had all summer to get used to life without Modric. In truth, they have had a full year, ever since he first expressed his desire to leave for Chelsea. Given that he could have potentially joined one of Tottenham's biggest rivals, his eventual sale to Real Madrid for £35 million will have felt like a result.

While van der Vaart leaving to return to Hamburg will be a loss felt in the stands of White Hart Lane as much as on the pitch, it is possible to appreciate the logic behind selling him. The 29-year-old's fitness was a constant concern as he rarely played a full 90 minutes, and it was difficult to envision where he would fit into Villas-Boas' desired style of play.

Still, the loss of that pair would have been felt by any club, and especially at Spurs who also sold midfielders Niko Kranjcar and Steven Pienaar this summer.

It was the more opportunistic signings that have ensured Tottenham's overall transfer dealings were a success, both coming courtesy of Liverpool's hesitation.

Sigurdsson had looked all set to go to Swansea this summer by making his loan move from last season permanent. When manager Brendan Rodgers left to take over at Liverpool, the Iceland midfielder was ready to follow him, but the Reds did not want to match his wage demands and Spurs stole in to snap him up.

Then, on deadline day, a similar situation transpired.

Dempsey had originally declared he wanted to leave Fulham after five years in order to play Champions League football. When it became clear that none of the clubs that reached next season's competition were interested, Dempsey settled on U.S,-owned and world-famous Liverpool as a desirable destination.

Fulham's valuation of a 29-year-old with only a year left on his contract was not exactly steep at £7 million—Aston Villa met it, but then could not convince the player to join them. But Liverpool, perhaps finally counting the cost of paying over the odds for so many other players in the past 18 months, would not even raise their offer that amount. Some reports claim their biggest bid was as low as £4.5 million.

With an unimpressed Fulham refusing to be pushed around, contact with Liverpool was broken off. Once again, it was Tottenham who seized the opportunity and whisked him off to their training ground as fast as they and wrapped up the deal in the nick of time.

Had they acted so decisively earlier in the transfer window, they would not have been forced into such hasty late action. Spurs could have welcomed even more top names into their squad that would have furnished Villas-Boas with all the tools he needed to get the club's season under way in earnest.

Overall, Tottenham can look back on their summer dealings as decent enough, but they have Liverpool to thank for allowing them to paper over the cracks of a disjointed transfer policy and add some gloss to a messy finish to the transfer window.


Tottenham's major summer transfers


Hugo Lloris (Lyon, £12m); Clint Dempsey (Fulham, £6m); Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City, undisclosed); Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim, undisclosed); Jan Vertonghen (Ajax, undisclosed); Moussa Dembele (Fulham, £15m)



Luka Modric (Real Madrid, £35m); Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg, £10m); Ledley King (retired); Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev, undisclosed); Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow, undisclosed); Ryan Nelsen (Queens Park Rangers, free); Louis Saha (released); Steven Pienaar (Everton, £4.5m); Sebastien Bassong (Norwich, undisclosed).