Another battle to finish among the Premier League's top four looms for Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, who faces an important summer of rebuilding at White Hart Lane.
The north Londoners face a selection of Major League Soccer's best and brightest next Wednesday when they'll take on an MLS All-Stars lineup in Colorado.
That's before jetting off to Munich for this year's Audi Cup, where Spurs will take on the likes of Real Madrid and either hosts Bayern Munich or Milan for a shot at pre-season silverware.
Tottenham's campaign to improve upon last season starts with successful summer preparation, with the club's pre-season schedule detailed, per the club's official website.
|Tottenham 2015-16 Pre-Season Schedule|
|Date||Time||Fixture||TV Info||Live Stream|
|Wednesday, July 29||2 a.m. BST (Thurs., July 30)/9 p.m. ET||MLS All Stars vs. Tottenham Hotspur||Fox Sports 1 (US)||Fox Soccer 2GO (US)|
|Tuesday, August 4||5:15 p.m. BST/12:15 p.m. ET||Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur||BeIn Sports 1 (US)||beIN Sports Connect (US)|
|Wednesday, August 5||TBD||Bayern Munich/Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur||TBD||TBD|
Tottenham have moved early to tie up a handful of summer signings, but the main attraction at White Hart Lane has been which players are leaving for pastures new.
Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier have arrived to give Spurs more options in defence, while Etienne Capoue, Benjamin Stambouli, Lewis Holtby, Paulinho and Younes Kaboul have all departed.
It's natural to see fans urging their club to do business in the summer months, the inevitable reaction to change things in search of something better, but Spurs have changed a lot in the past couple of years.
The temptation might be for Pochettino to wade through pre-season using much of the current crop as his blueprint, although chairman Daniel Levy is quoted by Tom Collomosse of the London Evening Standard, saying:
The window will be reasonably busy. We have already brought in four new players since the winter window and we’ve done deals for players who have now left. At the moment it is fairly relaxed. I would anticipate that as the window goes on, the activity will happen in the last two weeks but we are trying to [do] business early where we can.
Just over a week remains before Spurs play their final pre-season fixture of the summer, at which point the club will be restricted in terms of how they can test any potential new arrivals.
Pochettino's pursuit of a more established starting lineup this season may be best served with a buying policy of quality over quantity, trusting more in the names already present in his side.
Compared to the schedules of their Premier League peers, Tottenham have a very light pre-season fixture list ahead of them as they face just three more games before their 2015-16 campaign gets underway.
Many see pre-season as an exercise in futility, a demonstration that bears no real meaning to how the real term pans out, while others view the chance to test one's ability as something more advantageous.
The obvious positives to Pochettino's summer plan, however, are that Spurs won't be at risk of burning out before the new term, at least not in comparison to their seven-fixture pre-season this time last year.
Following Chelsea's 4-2 friendly defeat to New York Red Bulls this past week, manager Jose Mourinho did a fine job of explaining the lose-lose mentality associated with these summer preparations, per the Blues' official Twitter account:
Having endured a busier pre-season in 2014, this summer's decision to lighten the load may have been very intentional for Spurs and Pochettino as they hope to come upon more consistency in their selection.
Only time will tell if the lightened responsibilities come to pay dividends for the north Londoners, who face Manchester United in the Premier League opener on Saturday, August 8.