The 2018/19 season will be remembered fondly by Spurs fans, and rightly so – but do they have a realistic chance of competing for the Premier League trophy this season?
The Lilywhites enrolled on a magical Champions League journey last campaign but fell short at the final hurdle – losing 2-0 to Liverpool. Despite that defeat, the signs were there for Mauricio Pochettino and his team that they possessed the ability to compete against some of Europe’s toughest opposition. If they can bring the same mentality into the league campaign this season, who knows what could happen.
Daniel Levy has provided Pochettino with financial backing this summer – the club-record £53.8m signing of Tanguy Ndombele exemplified that. Prior to signing the 22-year-old midfielder, Spurs went the entire 2018/19 campaign without a single signing which demonstrates just how special the Argentine manager is. The north London club have the quality to mount a top-four finish and are only a few signings away from becoming serious title contenders.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 19, 2019
The one component letting the Lilywhites down is squad depth. Despite possessing the quality to compete, sustaining a title challenge is next-to-impossible without a healthy squad to rotate, especially with four competitions to participate in throughout the season. The signing of Ndombele is an excellent coup but it is imperative that they do not stop there this summer.
Kieran Trippier recently departed, signing for Spanish side Atletico Madrid for £20m. Despite falling down the pecking order, the England full-back was healthy competition and it leaves Spurs short of options should Serge Aurier or Kyle Walker-Peters sustain an injury.
Other players have reportedly expected to be shown the exit door, with names such as Victor Wanyama among the mix. Although they may not represent first-team quality, unless they are replaced by someone more capable, the sustainability and depth of the squad is jeopardised.
There is little over two weeks left of the transfer window and the clock is ticking for Spurs to replace these players at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and if they want to mount a title challenge, keeping those assets are valuable for domestic competitions such as the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
The north London club ended the Premier League campaign in a Champions League spot – achieving a fourth-place finish with 71 points. The gap between themselves and second-place Liverpool was 26 points in the end, but Spurs were part of the title race up until February – an abysmal run of four defeats and one draw in five games was enough to dramatically distance themselves between challenging for first and clinging onto fourth place.
Pochettino’s side lost a staggering 34% of their Premier League encounters last season – something that must be addressed and eradicated if they are to seriously contest in the 2019/20 campaign.
They did win 65% of those matches, though, and drew just twice all season – one of those coming on the final day against Everton. Spurs proved they have the quality to beat anyone – Champions League triumphs over Manchester City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund exemplified that. However, they must not overlook their lack of squad depth with the new campaign on the horizon.
Personally, I think Spurs possess the quality to compete with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, but do not have the strength in the depth to sustain a title challenge over the course of the season. The acquisition of Ndombele was excellent business, but so far, they have failed to push on from that and it has gone very quiet on the transfer front.
Repeating last season’s Champions League success is extremely unlikely and the Lilywhites should prioritise mounting a title challenge – although I do not feel they possess enough quality in numbers to compete with both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s formidable outfits over a 38-game period.