The myth of Icarus tells the story of a man who flew so close to the sun that his waxed wings melded together, and he fell from the sky to his grave.
It’s a story which runs parallel to Mauricio Pochettino; the man who took Tottenham to new heights, but in doing so raised the bar for himself to such an extent that a dip below his own standards saw him mercilessly dismissed.
The Poch years at Tottenham were easily the best the club has enjoyed in the Premier League era, but they were fraught with a reluctance to invest at boardroom level that led to the Argentine often working with a squad far beneath his ambitions.
You’ll see that demonstrated clearly by this list of the first ten signings that followed his May 2014 appointment.
10. DeAndre Yedlin
The only saving grace from this one is that Spurs, somehow, more than made their money back.
It was pretty clear from day one after his £2m move from Seattle Sounders that he wasn’t going to cut the mustard at White Hart Lane, and his solitary competitive appearance – an 11-minute cameo against Aston Villa – did little to dissuade the doubters.
9. Benjamin Stambouli
I told 90min‘s resident Spurs fan Sean Walsh that I had no idea Stambouli had ever played for them.
“Lucky you,” he said. That probably about sums it up. He wasn’t good.
8. Federico Fazio
Speaking of defensive players who weren’t up to much, it really defies belief that Fazio existed as a Tottenham player for as long as he did.
In flashes he was just about ok, but he spent more time out on loan than he did in north London, and ended up leaving for a fraction of the already-pretty-low fee Spurs shelled out on him.
7. Kevin Wimmer
With the benefit of hindsight, it appears Spurs pulled off the heist of the century when they took £17.5m from Stoke for Wimmer back in 2017 – a time where the Potters were throwing their Premier League TV money about like no-one’s business.
It’s hard to declare someone who stretched a league season’s worth of football over two full campaigns a ‘good signing’, especially when they seemed to leave before they landed, but at least he made the club a substantial profit.
6. Michel Vorm
For a brief period during his time with Swansea, Vorm was one of the Premier League’s most coveted shot-stoppers.
His Spurs career hasn’t quite lived up to that, but he was a solid backup for five seasons; so much so that he earned himself a second spell at the club after Hugo Lloris’ horror injury in October.
5. Kieran Trippier
It’s easy to be fooled by an impressive World Cup into thinking Trippier was a consistently good right-back for Tottenham. He wasn’t; over the piece, he was good enough, but that’s about it.
Still, he served the club to the best of his (limited) ability, and laid on a pretty decent 24 goals over 114 appearances. He’s another one Spurs made a good profit on; there’s a theme emerging here.
4. Eric Dier
“Eric Dier? With a surname like that he’d have to play for Tottenham, eh!” jokes your Arsenal-supporting uncle at a family dinner. No-one laughs, except him. He’s happy with himself.
Dier was pretty excellent for a couple of seasons, but a combination of injury and form issues mean he has probably now overstayed his welcome.
3. Ben Davies
He’s not the most spectacular full-back, but in an era littered with inconsistency and fluctuation, Davies‘ steady and unremitting nature has been a breath of fresh air.
It might not say much that he’s easily Spurs’ best left-back (the other options are a winger and two centre-halves) but he’s such an underrated and under-appreciated part of the current team – injury issues this season aside.
2. Toby Alderweireld
A phenomenon. Five years ago, £14m was a no small outlay for a centre-back, but Alderweireld has well and truly left that in the dust.
He’s one of the Premier League’s most efficient defenders and has been a consistent steadying influence over a frequently shaky defence. You really do despair to think where Spurs would be without him.
1. Dele Alli
The best £6m Tottenham ever spent? Not for me to say, but yes.
Dele‘s development into one of the best natural attacking midfielders in Europe has come off the back of an astonishingly astute, forward-thinking signing. For all he comes a little overhyped at times (a young English player in a sexy position, go figure) there’s no two ways around it; landing him was an unbelievable bit of business.
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