Why Spurs should seek to emulate Southampton's success

Discussion in 'Tottenham forum' started by Josh Bolton, March 18, 2017.

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  1. Josh Bolton

    Josh Bolton Active Member

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    Southampton travel to White Hart Lane tomorrow and so begins a game of connect the dots. Ever since Mauricio Pochettino swapped the south coast for north London over two-and-a-half years ago the two clubs have maintained a relationship of sorts. Of course this “relationship” I speak of has primarily served the benefit of the capital club, with Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld (albeit via Atlético Madrid) replicating the Argentine’s journey up the M3, unsettling the status quo at St Mary's.

    But as well as nabbing their players, manager and head of recruitment (though Paul Mitchell has since left his post at Hotspur Way) in seasons gone by, does Tottenham's subtle fondness for all things red-and-white striped suggest a deeper appreciation and, as well as personale, should Spurs take a great deal more from their Premier League counterparts?

    The first lesson came in 2014

    Back in the summer of 2013, Tottenham infamously "sold Elvis and bought The Beatles". It was a year later when Southampton showed us how it was really done. You all know the story of their 2014/15 Premier League campaign: the Saints lost their manager and five key players (including captain Adam Lallana), prompting many pundits to predict that the club were destined for relegation. The Saints responded: in came Ronald Koeman and shrewd signings in the form of Dušan Tadić, Graziano Pellè, Fraser Forster, Shane Long and Sadio Mané, while Toby Alderweireld (what ever happened to him?) came in on loan.

    Southampton finished that season in seventh place, two points behind Liverpool in sixth and four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham. But what makes this achievement even more remarkable was that Southampton had little room for error when reinvesting this money from player sales. Where the worst outcome for Spurs and their 2013 spending spree equated to the lack of a Champions League place, Southampton truly had their Premier League status on the line.

    Brilliant blueprint, smart spenders

    Since that 2014/15 season Southampton have continued where the left off, players (and a manager) have come and gone but still they soldier on and have established themselves as a respectable top 10 side. The club has a clear understanding of the players they require, whether it be an exciting foreign name from shores afar or a Premier League-proven player null of glitz and glamour. For me, the signings of Shane Long and Nathan Redmond impress just as much as the acquisitions of Sadio Mané and Virgil van Dijk.

    Indeed Southampton's transfer business is not without its duds, but it's the clever and clear policy that deserves commendation. In comparison Tottenham's transfer strategy is the complete opposite: muddled, meandering and, at times, mind-boggling. Daniel Levy is often accused of a lack of spending, but Spurs have shelled out a combined £48m on right-wingers in the past two seasons (Moussa Sissoko, Clinton N'Jie and Georges-Kévin Nkoudou), as well as £17m on Vincent Janssen — none of whom have nailed down a starting spot so far at White Hart Lane.

    It is worth noting that Tottenham have recognised this failure in the transfer market. Paul Mitchell, Rob Mackenzie, Ian Broomfield and David Webb have all left the club's scouting team in recent months (some of their own accord), while Steve Hitchen has been appointed as our new chief scout. It is hoped Hitchen will bring Spurs' scouting system in line with our success on the field, but more than anything I desire to see Spurs buy "Premier League-proven" rather than "Premier League potential". This Spurs squad only needs a sprinkling of gold dust, not a collection of unearthed gems.

    The club always with a contingency plan (not us)

    Spurs have taken Pochettino off tomorrow's opponents but should they also take a lesson on how to handle hiring a new manager? Despite none of them being tried and tested in England, all of Southampton's last three appointments have enjoyed a certain level of success at St Mary's. Trust me, this is no coincidence.

    While many Southampton-shy football fans gawped at how the south coast club had survived and thrived following the departures of Pochettino and Koeman (and their respective players), it is solely down to smart and sufficient planning. Again that word: smart. Think about it, all three (Pochettino, Koeman and Claude Puel), like Southampton, place a great emphasis on giving youth a chance. And while each manager has their own individual tactical preferences, the Southampton board were certain that their new manager would put the club's philosophy into practice when they were given the keys to the castle.

    Looking at Spurs' managers under ENIC over the last 10 years, there is no such similarity. From Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp to André Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, none of these managers share a footballing philosophy, or are renowned for reflecting an ideology that is associated with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. It is finally with Pochettino that we have a manager who has brought a sense of "identity" to Spurs, an identity in keeping with the club's traditions.

    The days after tomorrow

    But say Pochettino left at the end of this season (I know, he won't), who would the board have lined up as a contingency plan? I'm aware that an owner can't draw up a shortlist while their manager is still in the dug-out, but Levy has to — and needs to — have an idea of who Spurs' next manager will be, whether it be in 5/10/15 years' time. Even if it's not a name, it has to be an idea — a manager that fits a criteria, has certain qualities, traits and ideals, and one that can build on the good work already completed by Pochettino.

    So when Southampton visit White Hart Lane tomorrow perhaps, as a football club, we should watch and learn. We will more than likely show that we are the superior side on the pitch, but recent history shows that, as a football club, Southampton are one step ahead. Of course we sit second and the Saints tenth, but when clubs (such as ourselves) continually want a piece of the Southampton pie season after season, whether that be players or manager, they are obviously onto something that others aren't.
    Last edited: March 18, 2017
  2. Big fran Guest

    As a club I think Southampton are great little club. Play good football, great recruitment, great youth set up and policy and fantastic moral ethics.
    Next season I would be having a good look at someone like van dijk. Can play full bk, left and right centre bk whether in a back three or four and possibly holding mid.
    Lukaku would be another primary target as would tielemens of Anderlecht a great prospect. Would cost between 80m to 100m I know but we've made millions of late and more could be raised by the sales of wimmer njie sissoko nkoudou and onomah.
  3. barney Guest

    just watched arse loose 3-1 to WBA now watching the pikey boys 3-1 down to leicester can the weekend get any better C.O.Y.S
  4. Gabbiadini Guest

    Saints will win 3-1 tomorrow no probs!!!!
  5. johnnyhrvat Guest

    There is a lot to be admired about the way Southampton have retained continuity with the regular departures of their star employees, but the fact that they have had all these departures means that they are often struggling for cohesion within the squad whilst new players/coaches take time to become adjusted.
    We have had a number of managers with different ideas (not sure many had or new what a philosophy was) but that has not stopped other teams, in England and abroad from succeeding.
    As for buying 'Premier League tested' players rather than 'foreign potential', I would say that Vincent Janssen has been a better buy than John Stones - it probably needs a bit of both. I saw someone mention Ross Barkley but I think Harry Winks is already far superior and we didn't need to buy him. It is hard to compete for PL players as whatever we offer a player, some of our competitors can offer close to double that. The balance seems to be about right at the moment - I would not like to see a 'big-name' signing spoil our current squad equilibrium (a posh word for balance).
  6. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    Southampton are ran well for a small club and their recruitment has been overall good.
    Can't see what the 'success' is that we should emulate though.
    They built a club back up after plummeting down the leagues which is a good achievement and they have stabalised as a top half prem side but thats the ceiling really and will continue to be the whole time they're a feeder club.
    IF we had a bit more drive and investment we could actually win things it's the mentality that we're plucky Spurs punching above our weight which holds us back.

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