£100M spent since Juande Ramos took over, and spent well. The money went to getting Jonathan Woodgate, Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton, Gilberto, Cesar Chavez, Heurelho Gomes, David Bentley, Luca Modric, Giovani dos Santos, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Vedran Corluka. This is a team which, on paper, should strike fear into the hearts of all who play them.
And yet, that tends to be the story of Spurs, ever since the Premier League came into its current form, Spurs have been a team which, on paper, should be cracking the top four with relative ease. We look at the likes of players who've passed through White Hart Lane... and done piss all: Paul Gascoigne, Gary Linekar, Darren Anderton, Jurgen Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell, David Ginola, Stephen Carr, Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov.
What is wrong with Spurs?
This year I really thought we'd got it right. We have creative and dangerous midfielders with dos Santos, Bentley, Jenas, Lennon, Modric, Zokora, O'Hara and Huddlestone. We have an impressive, two-way defense in King, Woodgate, Bale, Hutton, Gunter and Dawson. Our keeper, Gomes, has been touted as one of the best keepers in the world. During the summer, as this was all coming together, with Keano and Berbatov up front, I thought we couldn't lose. Then they left... and therein lies the problem.
Pavlyuchenko's greatest asset is that he can play as a dropped-back striker, who can create space for himself and play a beautiful through-ball to whoever's up front. Darren Bent's greatest asset is that he can hack away at the ball during messes in the 18yd box, and somehow score a goal. Even his goal vs Villa today was off a Jenas rebound.
So... here we are. Four games into the season... 3 losses against Boro, Sunderland and Villa to our name, with a draw against Chelsea (what!?!?!??!). I've always been one to say "wait and see, it's early in the season", but even I'm feeling the pessimism bite lately. This is clearly a team which can make all kinds of opportunities, but there's no striker who can make magic happen with one flick, no finisher who can single-handedly lift a team as we lost in Keane.
This is a team who is learning to play with one another. The list of ins and outs in 07/08 and 08/09 over the past season is staggering.
Here's hoping they get it together. I'll forever bleed Lilywhite, but it's been hard to keep the faith after 17 years of mediocrity.