‘5th place is about as good as it’s gonna get’ were the words of Redknapp at the end of last season, despite a 4th place finish the year before.
Many fans were left bemused, puzzled and, rightfully so, rather angry. Not many tweaks had been made from the year before, in face some argue that squad had been strengthened from the 4th place winning season.
Nonetheless, it could be construed that Redknapp has admitted defeat in the race for a second Champions League gaining season in three years.
While Arsenal appear to have taken a step backwards, Manchester City and Liverpool, two top four rivals in seasons past, have significantly strengthened over the summer.
The signings if Friedel, Adebayor and Parker have improved certain quarters of the pitch that were in desperate need of a re-vamp while the refusal to sell Modric sends out a serious message of intent to Spurs’ rivals.
But, the defence still looks frail at times, especially with King as injury prone as he is and Gallas sidelined for the foreseeable future, the hopes of the back four rest on Dawson and Kaboul.
Surprisingly, a number of the Spurs faithful don’t believe Dawson to be as good as some make out while Kaboul, despite the progress he has made, has shown faults in the games against both Manchester sides.
Bassong, as good as he was in his first season alongside Dawson, has looked a shadow of his former self last year and against Hearts, he was given the run-around by the Scottish sides strike force at times.
Coming so close to signing Cahill, but ultimately missing out on the England centre-back, looks to have been a backwards step and he is proving why he is so highly rated by members in the media and football.
His signing would have bolstered the back four significantly and even though reports suggest Spurs will re-open negotiations in January, some feel it may be too late by the time the new year rolls around.
The midfield, however, looks to be up to the standard that could compete with the top four rivals but up front is again where Spurs look light.
Adebayor was a superb signing, let’s face it. But would another striker have been too much to ask? Say, the Togolese forward is caught on the wrong end of a mis-placed tackle and made to spend significant time on the sidelines, Spurs are left with just Defoe and Pavlyuchenko as the only recognised senior strikers.
While Kane and Coulibaly may be biding there time for their chance to shine, a more proven professional may be exactly what Spurs missed out on this summer.
Like Cahill, Spurs missed the opportunity to sign Leandro from Internacional. Now after doing the business on the international stage, the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan are keeping tabs on the young Brazilian.
Yet the ball remains firmly in Spurs court courtesy if the commercial relationship between the two sides, the same relationship that saw Sandro end up at White Hart Lane.
Some believe that a deal is arranged already and the striker will arrive in January, something I hope to be true.
In short though, is this squad really capable of landing another Champions League spot this year? That talent is there but the players need to maintain a winning mentality against every team, not just the ‘big four’ or the bottom six.