Spurs wasted the Gareth Bale money.
That’s what everyone has thought for years.
18 months on from the Welshman’s transfer to Real Madrid and it appeared all the north London club had to show for the £109million they spent in the summer of 2013 was one talented Danish playmaker and several liabilities.
However, through the power of hindsight, we’re going to heap praise on the scouts, Andre-Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy for their spending spree.
Because if you look at how those players are doing these days, they’re practically all success stories…
1 Christian Eriksen – £11.5million
The most obvious success of the 2013 crop is Spurs’ current creator-in-chief.
He’s second only to Kevin De Bruyne when it comes to Premier League playmakers in the last two seasons and he’s still yet to reach his peak.
One of those players who is worth the admission fee alone.
2 Paulinho – £17million
Oh, how we laughed.
The Brazilian midfielder’s personal Premier League highlight reel is comedy gold but these days Paulinho is a man to taken seriously.
He’s been a key figure in restoring Brazil’s powers and now he’s somehow ended up as Barcelona’s tireless engine.
His style suggests he should have been a success for Spurs in the same vein as Mousa Dembele — what went wrong?
3 Vlad Chiriches – £8.5million
Another of the ‘magnificent seven’ who became something of a punchline.
But guess who is currently part of the impressive Napoli side in prime position to break Juventus’ stranglehold over Serie A?
Who’s laughing now?
4 Erik Lamela – £30million
The Argentine winger was purchased back when £30m was still considered a lot of money in the world of football.
It took him a while to settle in but 2015/16 was his breakout season.
His performances in Europe, which included a long-range rabona golazo, were particularly impressive and his injury came as a devastating blow for Mauricio Pochettino.
5 Nacer Chadli – £7million
A very useful squad player during his time at White Hart Lane, the ex-FC twente player actually bagged 11 Premier League goals in 2014/15.
Restricted mostly to substitute cameos and cup appearances, he was sold to West Brom for nearly double what Spurs paid for him.
The underrated Belgian recently scored his 100th career goal — congrats.
6 Etienne Capoue – £9million
The powerful midfielder has been instrumental in Watford’s vast improvement in recent times.
Difficult to dispossess and strong in a tackle, it’s easy to forget that he has a handful of France caps to his name.
7 And finally… Roberto Soldado – £26m
The exception that proves the rule.
The man formerly dubbed ‘Goldado’ is arguably the only one yet to recover from the curse of the Bale money bandits.
Having managed just seven goals (most of them penalties) in 52 Premier League games he stuttered to 12 in 55 for Villarreal in all comps.
A far cry from his days as Valencia’s profilic No9.
Rather pleasingly, he signed for Fenerbahce in the summer which means he’s currently team-mates with Vincent Janssen — another Spurs No9 in danger of being remembered in north London as a total flop.
Many saw Federico Fazio as an extension of Spurs’ foolish spending of the Bale money when he arrived from Sevilla the following year.
But even he’s experienced a resurgence of form at Roma.
And he truly was terrible in a Spurs shirt.
The point is perhaps we shouldn’t be so harsh on Spurs’ decision-making as, in retrospect, the crop of 2013 consisted of some very fine players indeed… and Roberto Soldado.
In a parallel universe those seven players were ever-presents for Spurs’ title-winning team of 2016/17.
Reality’s a bitch.