Tottenham Hotspur season preview: What? The season's starting? No! Spurs aren't ready yet!
Perhaps it’s because of cabin fever, or maybe because we’ve not had much of the postseason chats with friends beyond texts and social media pages, that I didn’t even realise the new season is upon us.
And for Spurs fans, it certainly feels like this weekend’s match against champions Manchester City is coming just a couple of weeks too soon.
I mean, it’s really not fair. City have gone out and made their nearly perfect squad even stronger with the addition of Jack Grealish. Top four rivals also strengthened with world class additions in players such as Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, Romelu Lukaku and Ibrahima Konate. Before Arsenal fans shout, what about Ben White, please note I said top-four rivals.
Meanwhile, Spurs brought in a back-up goalkeeper, a winger who didn’t get many minutes in the Spanish Olympic Squad and yes, the Serie A defender of the year, Cristian Romero. That last one, of course, promises much, but let’s not forget the other half of Spurs’ defence is still likely to be dire.
WATCH: Cristian Romero's journey to Spurs
If Spurs are to return to the status of a top-four club, it’s up front where things need to be sorted out. We shouldn’t have to play a nigh-invincible team without the addition of, oh say, Lautaro £Martinez. I mean, the fee’s agreed, right? So, we just need time to bring him to North London so that he can show why he’s worth the big money against the very best.
But of course, the main reason why we shouldn’t have to play City this weekend is because of that huge ass elephant in the room - a certain England striker who is getting a bit tired of looking at an empty trophy cabinet.
It’s pretty clear that City has turned his head, and whether or not Harry Kane eventually goes to the Citizens, it’s certainly not left him in the state of mind to play against his potential employers on the very first day of the season. To be able to beat City, Spurs need Kane at his best, not pondering whether he should damage City’s chances of defending their title by scoring a hat-trick. I mean, what would one do in his current plight? Go all out against City and then if he joins them, risk an empty trophy cabinet again because every point dropped for City might matter given the strengthening of their rivals? Or take it easy and risk the wrath of Spurs fans who are already losing faith with him after his longer than expected holiday?
Certainly, Kane is almost a Spurs legend regardless of whether he leaves this season, but going on strike, and not giving his all while still at Spurs will certainly take his status at the club down a notch. Just ask Gareth Bale.
All this should have been sorted out before Spurs play City. If he’s not going, then great, he can give his all and try to win it for Spurs. If he’s going, then fine, let’s quickly put that £160m (and not a penny less, Mr Guardiola) to good use and strengthen the front line so that we can give City a good fight.
WATCH: Guardiola gives update on Kane transfer
But this whole game that Pep is playing, whining about how Spurs don’t want to negotiate, just serves to weaken Tottenham for the match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. I mean, seriously, why should Spurs negotiate? Kane has three years left on his contract, you just paid £100m for Grealish, why would the most prolific English striker since Alan Shearer be in that same ballpark?
So, pay up or move on and let Spurs be the architect of their own success or downfall.
Many Spurs fans have said, we owe it to Kane to let him go and win trophies. It says a lot about what Spurs fans think of their club. Very clearly, we don’t seem to think Kane can win trophies at Spurs - this from a team that was in the Champions League Final just two seasons ago. I refuse to believe that, and I think that Kane would do better to stay at Spurs and do his darndest to prove the defeatist Spurs fans wrong.
Sure, maybe we won’t ever win a trophy before Kane retires, but a trophy is meaningless if it is easy to get. Ask any Lille player whether the Ligue One trophy means more to them than it did the PSG boys. City might win it over and over, but I guarantee none of their Premier League titles fired up passion and imagination like Leicester did back in 2015.
And that’s how Kane can get that one trophy that money can’t buy - being a club legend. This is why Bale, Dmitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick, Kyle Walker and the likes will never be legends - they took the easy way out to get their trophies. That’s why Steven Gerrard remains a Liverpool legend, but not Raheem Sterling.
What’s that worth? A practical person would say not much, and certainly not enough to turn down a bumper pay increase. But Stevie G can walk into Anfield and 50,000 fans will still sing his name till the day he dies, while Sterling and Fernando Torres, for all their contributions to the club, will never have those stories to tell their grandchildren about why they are still so loved despite having left the game eons ago.
WATCH: Steven Gerrard's legendary Liverpool career
When you’re older, you will realise that money, and trophies, can never buy that adulation and happiness.
As for whether we owe it to Kane, I would argue that being at Spurs made him the captain of England and one of the world’s best strikers, something you could hardly imagine when he was labouring away on loan at Norwich. We’ve given him the platform to be who he is, the very least he owes the club is to ensure that we get the highest transfer fee possible, rather than sulk like Marvin the Paranoid Android.
So, all said and done, we’d probably lose to Man City, and probably struggle over the first few games of the season, simply because the team has yet to settle. Everything from getting used to a new boss in Nuno Espirito Santo to new players yet to train extensively with the first team means that we will initially see a team as disjointed as last season’s - moments of brilliance followed by dull, unimaginative displays.
WATCH: Son Heung-Min positive about Spurs' 2021/2022 campaign
What those lost points will mean to their top four hopes remains to be seen, but it feels very much that, once again, this is a Spurs team in transition.