Tottenham's Biggest Transfer Gets in the Last Decade

Alex Richards@@AA_RichardsContributor IAugust 21, 2013

Tottenham's Biggest Transfer Gets in the Last Decade

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    Andre Villas-Boas's Tottenham Hotspur have been rather busy this summer in the transfer market. The Gareth Bale saga may have overshadowed seemingly everything else, but Spurs have been more than productive in strengthening their squad with the likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue joining for a combined total in the region of £60 million.

    Daniel Levy, the club's chief executive, has long been labelled a shrewd negotiator, noted for selling players at maximum value. However, during the last decade, Levy and Spurs have also made a number of excellent transfers, judging both on their on-field contributions and their subsequent sales.

    With that in mind, here's a look at some of Tottenham's biggest transfer signings during the last 10 years, players whose initial outlays have been more than validated on the field, as well as in any subsequent transfers away from White Hart Lane:

Jermain Defoe

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    The dynamic striker has spent two spells with Tottenham since his initial arrival in 2004, with a 12-month period with Portsmouth sandwiched in between. And since he debuted for the Lilywhites, Defoe has gone on to become the club's eighth all-time top goalscorer, standing presently on 133 goals.

    Signed by David Pleat during 2004's January transfer window for £7 million (and Bobby Zamora), Defoe's mixture of pace, movement and single-mindedness when faced with the whites of a goalkeeper's eyes have seen him go down as a cult hero at White Hart Lane.

    A number of managers have come and gone during his time with Spurs, as have a number of strike partners, and Defoe hasn't always been first choice. Yet, he remains.

    And whenever regular starts have been forthcoming, so too have goals. Thirty-four league appearances in 2009-10 led to Defoe netting 18 times, his best league total in the Premier League, while he also netted 11 goals in 34 league appearances last season.

    Now 30, Defoe faces a renewed battle for a starting place in Andre Villas-Boas' starting XI thanks to the arrival of club-record signing Roberto Soldado.

    Nonetheless, Spurs supporters would be loathe to see the England striker leave such is the respect they have for the London-born forward.

Michael Carrick

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    The languid playmaker moved to Spurs from West Ham United in 2004 and would go on to become an integral part of Martin Jol's midfield.

    However, Carrick didn't enjoy the easiest of starts at White Hart Lane. Signed for £3.6 million by then-director of football Frank Arnesen, Carrick was often overlooked by Spurs boss Jacques Santini.

    Nonetheless, when the Frenchman left in early November, Carrick became an immediate starter under Martin Jol, beginning the Dutchman's first match and not looking back as he carved out a starting place for himself as a key component in midfield. 

    His first season would see Spurs finish ninth, but the following season Carrick really came to the fore.

    Partnered in midfield for the most part by the tenacious Edgar Davids, Carrick's passing quality and ability to dictate matches proved key as Spurs finished fifth, missing out on a Champions League spot on the final day.

    Following 75 appearances for Spurs, Carrick would leave in the summer of 2006, joining Manchester United for an initial £14 million, rising to £18.6 million, landing Tottenham a major windfall.

Aaron Lennon

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    With Leeds United suffering from financial difficulties in 2005 having suffered relegation to the Championship the previous year, Tottenham wasted no time in signing one of their star performers from their debut campaign in the second tier, plucking Aaron Lennon from Elland Road for a mere £1 million.

    The diminutive wide man, a throwback to wingers of yesteryear with his penchant for attacking full-backs on the outside and driving to the byline, wasted no time in making a starting place his own in north London, making 27 appearances for Spurs in his debut season and subsequently being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, as well as being called into England's 2006 World Cup squad. 

    Since then, Lennon has become something of a mainstay in north London, no matter the manager at White Hart Lane, and has made over 300 appearances in all competitions for the club.

    Lennon was once more a key performer under Andre Villas-Boas in 2012-13, making 33 league appearances as Spurs finished fifth with their highest ever Premier League points total.

    Perhaps the major criticism of Lennon during his career has been that he doesn't score enough goals, but he's proven an outstanding signing for Spurs over the past eight years.

Dimitar Berbatov

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    When Tottenham signed Dimitar Berbatov from German club Bayer Leverkusen, fans were suitably excited at the prospect of their new No. 9.

    Having impressed in the Bundesliga and the Champions League during his five seasons with Bayer, and having netted 21 times in the league during his final season in Germany, the Bulgarian was given the big buildup by then-Spurs sporting director Damien Comolli, as reported by the BBC:

    There were a number of clubs interested in signing Dimitar, clubs from France, Spain and the Premiership.

    We are delighted he has chosen to join us. He is a tall, skillful, highly-talented striker who not only has a proven track record of being able to finish, but also of creating scoring opportunities for team-mates.

    And while Comolli has come in for quite a lot stick since leaving White Hart Lane, he wasn't wrong about Berbatov.

    Blessed with intelligent movement, a sumptuous first touch and no shortage of imagination, he would go on to become Spurs' unquestioned first-choice striker during his two seasons at the club, forming an excellent partnership with Robbie Keane and leading the club to League Cup success in 2008. Additionally, Berbatov notched 23 times (all competitions) in both of his seasons in north London.

    Signed for a fee of £10.9 million in 2006, Berbatov would leave for European and Premier League champions Manchester United in 2008, the Lilywhites trebling their initial outlay with a £30.75 million sale.

    Spurs fans may not have been happy to see him leave, but they couldn't complain about his quality while he was part of their playing staff.

Luka Modric

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    When Tottenham announced prior to the 2008 European Championships that they had completed a £15.8 million deal for the slender Dinamo Zagreb midfielder, there were questions as to whether the 22-year-old would be able to cope with the pace and physicality of the Premier League.

    However, his performances at Euro 2008 showed what Spurs were placing their faith in, Modric's showings as Croatia reached the quarter-finals earning him a place in the competition's team of the tournament.

    Furthermore, when the 2008-09 English season kicked off, Modric, with his sublime vision, ability to thread a killer pass and intelligence in midfield, soon put an end to such worries as the Croatian playmaker adapted to the English game, despite the struggles of Spurs under Juande Ramos.

    However, as Harry Redknapp put together an adventurous side who would finish the 2009-10 season in fourth place, the magnificence of Modric would only become increasingly more obvious; the conductor who enhanced the rest of the orchestra.

    Four seasons in north London brought 169 appearances and 17 goals, before Modric found himself trading in White Hart Lane for the Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid.

    "Luka has been a terrific player for us and, while we preferred not to part with him, we are pleased" said Spurs chief executive Daniel Levy, as Modric joined Madrid for a fee in the region of £30 million, almost double Spurs' initial outlay.

Gareth Bale

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    In 2007 it was seen as quite a coup when Tottenham beat off interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United to sign the precocious Welsh defender Gareth Bale from Southampton. Just 17, Bale moved to White Hart Lane for an initial £5 million.

    Two years later however, Bale's future hung very much in the balance. A run of 24 Premier League matches without a win hung over his head, and Wales' youngest ever international appeared on his way out, and a £3 million move to Birmingham City was mooted in the Daily Mail.

    Fast forward to 2013, and Bale is now seen as one of the most devastating and destructive attacking footballers in world football.

    A mixture of terrific speed, outstanding physical attributes"built like a light heavyweight boxer" according to ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, as reported by the Guardianand a sledgehammer left foot, the past four years have seen Bale transported from a precocious left-back to a swashbuckling left winger, and most latterly into an attacking tour de force who has already twice been named as the PFA Footballer of the Year.

    2012-13 was Bale's best in a Tottenham shirt, where he became the undoubted darling of the White Hart Lane faithful. Twenty-six goals in 44 games encompassed some truly fabulous goals and magnificent performances as Bale became the club's greatest attacking weapon, and his talent flourished to its greatest effect (so far) under Andre Villas-Boas.

    The summer transfer window ahead of the 2013-14 campaign has seen Bale heavily linked with a world record move to Real Madrid, the Welshman seemingly set to tread the same path as Luka Modric last summer.

    Such a deal would see Spurs recoup in the region of 18 to 20 times their initial outlay in 2007. That, combined with his on-field growth and their initial outlay, marks Bale as their greatest transfer signing in the last 10 years.

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