Examining Tottenham Hotspur's Signings from the Last 5 Summer Transfer Windows

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2014

Examining Tottenham Hotspur's Signings from the Last 5 Summer Transfer Windows

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    Scott Parker and current Spur Emmanuel Adebayor have been two of Tottenham's more immediately successful signings of recent summers.
    Scott Parker and current Spur Emmanuel Adebayor have been two of Tottenham's more immediately successful signings of recent summers.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Tottenham Hotspur's summer transfer window thus far has been defined by departures from the club. The release of goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes and the £8 million sale of Jake Livermore to Hull City being the most notable exits.

    The general expectation is new manager Mauricio Pochettino will look to bring in some players of his own once pre-season is underway. A sensible plan allowing him to get a closer look at those already at the club and figure out where he needs to make changes.

    At the time of writing, Swansea City left-back Ben Davies (via The Mirror's Alan Nixon) and former Internazionale midfielder Esteban Cambiasso (from the Daily Mail's David Kent) are among those being linked with the north London club.

    Tottenham's season will be defined in many respects by what takes place in the coming weeks. But what of years past?

    Over the following few pages we look at the players who have arrived at White Hart Lane in each of the last five summers. Their immediate fortunes are reflected on, as well as what followed in their Spurs careers.

    Each year's transfer business has influenced the short- and long-term future of the north London club to varying degrees. While we wait to see who will be signed to shape the next year or so, here are those who have come before.


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    Niko Kranjcar proved a timely signing after Luka Modric got injured.
    Niko Kranjcar proved a timely signing after Luka Modric got injured.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    For the signings Harry Redknapp made, the summer of 2009 is a strong contender for Tottenham Hotspur's best of the Premier League era. At least in terms of the contributions three of the individuals made in the successful quest for Champions League football that followed.

    Sebastien Bassong enjoyed a dream debut following his transfer from recently relegated Newcastle United. He scored a header in a 2-1 opening-weekend win over Liverpool that set a tone for Tottenham in the successful season that followed.

    The centre-back played 38 times in all competitions in 2009-10. With Michael Dawson, Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate all suffering from injury problems at various points, Bassong was a crucial presence Redknapp frequently relied upon.

    Dawson and King would be the prominent central defensive choices by the season's end. But in his last appearance of the year in mid-April, Bassong performed impeccably alongside Dawson in the vital 2-1 home win over Chelsea.

    Less than a year after leaving Portsmouth, Redknapp had also gone back to Fratton Park to sign Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar.

    Crouch had come through the youth ranks at Spurs before leaving for Queens Park Rangers in 2000. In his first season back at White Hart Lane he also reformed a strike partnership with his ex-Pompey team-mate Jermain Defoe.

    The two were a classic little-and-large front combination. Crouch was a good foil for Defoe and benefited too, netting 13 goals, including the winner away at Manchester City that confirmed fourth place for Spurs.

    Bought from cash-strapped Portsmouth in the closing hours of the transfer window, Kranjcar was signed to join his fellow Croatians Vedran Corluka and Luka Modric. The creative midfielder ended up filling in for the latter after injury ruled him out from September to December.

    Kranjcar's best performance came in a 3-0 home win over top-four rival Man City shortly before Christmas. He scored twice in that game but also netted in timely late-season wins over Stoke City and Portsmouth.

    Bassong, Crouch and Kranjcar would all leave Tottenham within a few years. For the purposes of that first season, at least, they proved to be intelligent purchases who genuinely improved the squad.

    While their time at Spurs would be a while coming yet, Sheffield United full-backs Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker were also signed in summer of 2009.


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    Rafael van der Vaart was an immediate hit at White Hart Lane.
    Rafael van der Vaart was an immediate hit at White Hart Lane.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    If Champions League football was going to mean big-name players knocking at Tottenham's door, it was not going to happen straight away.

    Heading into their qualifying matches against Switzerland side Young Boys in August 2010, Spurs' squad was essentially the same that had taken them to fourth place the previous May.

    This was partly by design. Redknapp was realistic enough to realise he had to be sensible in judging recruits who could improve his team or at least provide a useful alternative option.

    William Gallas was a divisive signing right from the beginning. The defender had recently been released by Arsenal and had also played for another London rival in Chelsea.

    His previous allegiances would not be an issue, but his usefulness to the team would divide fans over his three-year stay.

    Gallas' best moments came in that first season before his liabilities as a defender (chiefly related to poor concentration) became too much of an issue. In the absence of the oft-injured King, the experienced Frenchman stood up to be counted, particularly in the Champions League where he was excellent over two legs against AC Milan.

    By the time of his departure in 2013, that level of performance had not regularly been seen in some time. He had been kept on by a year, arguably more, than he should have been.

    Much more popular was the one proper big-name signing, which did arrive in summer of 2010. Rafael van der Vaart's deadline-day arrival from Real Madrid was a convenient one for all parties concerned.

    Madrid were keen to offload his wages, while the Dutchman was looking for a club of a sufficiently lofty level to play for. Spurs had their star signing to help them in their return to Europe's premier competition.

    Van der Vaart would not always easily be accommodated during his two-year stay in England. On form the attacker was a tricky customer for opposition defenders well capable of finding the net. On his quieter days he was something of a luxury player whose presence was not necessarily beneficial to the team.

    Nonetheless, Van der Vaart was a success, scoring 28 times in two years and setting up a further 17 goals. Involved in a number of great moments in Spurs' run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, he also took great joy in putting Arsenal to the sword on a couple of occasions too.

    The signing of goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa on a season-long loan proved less successful. The Croatian played just once, in a League Cup loss to Arsenal.


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    Emmanuel Adebayor was an immediate hit at Tottenham after joining on loan.
    Emmanuel Adebayor was an immediate hit at Tottenham after joining on loan.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Heading into 2011-12, Tottenham were looking to improve their Premier League form once more after they had faded away late in the last campaign.

    The immediate priority was bringing in a striker capable of scoring the goals that would fire them back into the top four.

    Available on loan from Manchester City was Emmanuel Adebayor.

    After starting well in the north-west following his move from Arsenal, the Togo international had lost momentum as circumstances changed at English football's emerging big spenders. Keen to rid themselves of a figure they viewed as disruptive, loaning Adebayor to Spurs was worth it even if they were still paying a sizable chunk of his wages.

    Spurs benefited from a forward keen to play and prove his doubters wrong. After Spurs had lost their opening two games, Adebayor's three goals in the following two fixtures proved valuable in getting Redknapp's side back on track.

    Bought at around the same time from West Ham United was Scott Parker. Redknapp—via a BBC Sport article at the time—could not speak more highly of his new signing:

    He's a good player. I think he's what we need. He's a good lad, great attitude. Footballer of the Year last year and he'll be a good addition for this team—no doubt about that.

    He's a good character, a fantastic person, a proper family man, a real good pro. He'll be great around the place for us.

    Certainly for that season, Redknapp's instinct in bringing in Parker proved correct. Spurs fans voted him their player of the season as his determination and energy on the pitch provided a nice counterbalance to Modric beside him in midfield.

    Brought in prior to them was veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel. The American provided a cooler head than the talented but lacking-in-confidence Gomes, providing a solid base throughout the campaign.

    Parker and Adebayor were major parts of some terrific football Tottenham played up until about February that season. Despite the inconsistency that followed that spell, they still finished fourth, only to be denied a Champions League place by Chelsea winning it.

    Adebayor's tally for the year would be a more-than-respectable 18, prompting Spurs to sign him permanently the following summer despite a change in manager. Fitness issues and disagreements with management have played their part in a tumultuous couple of years for the 30-year-old.

    After a solid Euro 2012 campaign with England, injury ruled Parker out for the first half of the following season. Upon his return, he was not quite as effective in Spurs' changing midfield and was sold to Fulham later in 2013.

    Friedel remains at Spurs, their tried and trusted back-up to the younger keeper who has since replaced him.


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    Jan Vertonghen quickly won a regular place in the Spurs team after his move from Ajax.
    Jan Vertonghen quickly won a regular place in the Spurs team after his move from Ajax.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Andre Villas-Boas' appointment as Tottenham manager was the headline move in a summer of big change in north London in 2012.

    King had retired while Modric and Van der Vaart moved onto Real Madrid and Hamburg, respectively.

    In for the former Spurs captain's place came Ajax's highly rated defender, Jan Vertonghen.

    The Belgian impressed straightaway at Spurs. His comfort on the ball caught the eye, but it was crucially balanced by a good defensive reading of the game that could be adapted to fit at centre-back and left-back.

    After being voted into the Professional Footballers' Association team of the year in his first season, injuries notably undermined his second year in England this past campaign.

    Behind Vertonghen in goal came the signing of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The France international had to bide his time as Villas-Boas rewarded the continued good form of Friedel.

    Once he got his chance Lloris did not look back. The much vaunted "sweeper-keeper" clearing up behind Villas-Boas' high line, his shot-stopping was second to none as Spurs once again fought for a place in the Champions League.

    That continued into 2013-14 with Lloris only becoming more important to a Spurs side struggling to reclaim a true defensive identity.

    With Modric gone, a new-look midfield began to take shape at White Hart Lane.

    Gylfi Sigurdsson was bought from Hoffenheim after a successful loan spell with Swansea City. As proved to be the case in his second season as well, the Icelander's eye for a goal proved useful but not so frequent as to overlook the issues with finding his best position.

    Clint Dempsey's role in what proved to be his single season with Spurs was more easily defined. After a great few years with Fulham, his productivity in attacking midfield was the key reason he was recruited across London.

    The American's 12 goals in all competitions was a decent return—just one not quite substantial enough to overlook the quieter aspects of his game. In comparison to Gareth Bale's phenomenal form moving into 2013, it was harder to justify starting the less influential Dempsey.

    That was not an argument that could be made against Mousa Dembele.

    The continued criticism of a lack of goals was an issue even then. But while the Belgian was a different player style-wise to Modric, he did partly fill the void left by the Croatian.

    With Sandro alongside him to cover, Dembele relished his remit to drive Spurs forward. His passing was sound, but made particularly useful at the ends of the purposeful dribbles they often concluded.

    After Sandro's season was ended through injury, Dembele took on much of the defensive responsibility (albeit sometimes wrongly, ceding influence as he was to the more dominant but less effective Parker). It underlined this side of his game but perhaps has subsequently seen the midfielder come to be regarded as a jack-of-all-trades, though a master of none.


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    Roberto Soldado and Paulinho both enjoyed good starts to their respective Spurs careers, but found things tougher afterwards.
    Roberto Soldado and Paulinho both enjoyed good starts to their respective Spurs careers, but found things tougher afterwards.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Tottenham's summer 2013 recruits are still fresher in the memory. The need to go over the contributions of Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiriches, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Paulinho and Roberto Soldado in such detail is less necessary.

    Eriksen was the pick of the bunch last season. A particularly fine second half of the season saw him rewarded with player of the year, as chosen by the club's supporters.

    Paulinho and Soldado began brightly enough but tailed off as the season progressed, the latter particularly. Chadli sporadically caught the eye before briefly finding better form late when granted more involvement in the spring.

    Capoue's and Lamela's respective first years in England were ultimately ravaged by injury. Chiriches' too was damaged by fitness problems after a particularly fine middle spell playing alongside Dawson in central defence.

    Just who will remain from this group heading into the Pochettino era will only begin to become apparent during pre-season.

    Regardless of what happens to them individually, the lesson that has to have been learned from the £100 million-plus purchases of these seven a year ago is the need for a "less is more" approach.

    Spurs have done their best business in the summer transfer market when they have carefully pinpointed areas in need of improvement. They looked largely toward bringing in proven players and benefited from their general ability to hit the ground running.

    That should not preclude them from chancing a less-than-certain recruit. But first and foremost, practically has to be the priority, if possible.

    Getting players in prior to deadline day is ideal too but not always important. As Eriksen and Van der Vaart have showed, quality players are going to prove themselves no matter when they arrive.

    Now we wait to see just who and what Pochettino and the Tottenham hierarchy have in mind for the summer of 2014.