Spurs, until very recently, had gone 18 months without spending a single penny on new players.
Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.
In that time Mauricio Pochettino, despite some torrid domestic form, masterminded two of the most unlikely knockout wins to reach the first Champions League final in the club’s history.
But there is a feeling that their transfer apathy is finally catching up with them.
Spurs’ last major spending spree back in 2013 is remembered for all the reasons, the ‘Magnificent Seven’ signed with all that Gareth Bale money.
Since then they’ve occasionally dipped their toes in the market, making shrewd acquisitions here and there without wanting to unsettle an already settled set up.
But now that squad has become too settled.
Sir Alex Ferguson always believed success operated in a ‘four-year cycle’ before fresh ideas and personnel were a must.
Pochettino’s hands have been tied by untimely injuries to Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon.
But this Spurs side is generally much the same as four years ago, only a much wearier, downbeat version.
Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have all had spats with Pochettino and it will be a huge surprise if any of them are still there this time next year.
Dele Alli and Eric Dier haven’t made any real strides in the last few years, looking instead like jacks of all trades rather than masters of one.
Victor Wanyama and Ben Davies haven’t been moved on.
Then there’s Hugo Lloris who keeps reiterating that trophies are more likely elsewhere.
Even Harry Kane looks exasperated.
Last night another possible solution to their barren trophy-less period slipped through their fingers as they succumbed on penalties to Colchester, currently tenth in League Two.
Despite that Champions League run, which in many ways masked much deeper issues, they have become a perpetual meme of nearly men.
They came third in a two horse title race. They contrived to lose a match 2-1 despite leading it 2-0.
Eventually and inevitably these close but no cigar moments rack up and begin to damage morale.
There is a stale feeling at the club, from top to bottom.
They are proof that every generation and cycle has its sell by date, a sign new ideas are required.
Daniel Levy is a shrewd businessman but an insufferable man to work with, while Pochettino has publicly claimed his side are actually worse off than when they lost in Madrid in May.
This is now his sixth season in north London.
Pep Guardiola has never completed more than four years at his three ventures, while Jose Mourinho’s bubble famously bursts emphatically during his his third year in any spell.
The concern for Poch is a huge transfer splurge is neither the answer nor his way of operating.
Six years ago, when the likes of Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado and Paulinho were brought in, exposed the drawbacks of mass simultaneous overhaul and Levy would never want a repeat.
This looks like irreversible damage, a club paying the price for paying nothing in the 18 months prior to this summer.
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