Tottenham may have broken into the Top 4 in 2010 and 2012 but after they narrowly missed out on Champions League football despite the heroics of PFA Young Player, PFA Player and Football Writers Player of the year Gareth Bale they must be worried if they will ever again break the top 4 stranglehold.
Tottenham may have piped Manchester City to 4th in 2010 and although they finished 4th last year that was inconsequential as Chelsea won the Champions League to take the 4th spot for the English sides. Champions League football is where Tottenham see themselves and have done for a while and their ambition in the transfer market over the last few years has highlighted that. Although Gareth Bale’s breathtaking season for Tottenham was a joy to see it also underlined the problems that Spurs face as despite the Welshman’s 12 Premier League goals they were still unable to finish above Arsenal who fairly average for a number of months in the middle of the season.
Tottenham would have finished 7th this season without Gareth Bale and 14 of his 21 goals affected the result that Tottenham achieved. Bale was given support by Jermaine Defoe when fit but Clint Dempsey and Emmanuel Adebayor were very disappointing. Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen was their 4th top scorer with 7 Premier League goals and that sums up their reliance on Bale. Whether or not Bale stays or leaves this summer, Tottenham must strengthen their squad with one or two world class strikers. Tottenham effectively became like Barcelona this season with the Catalan side’s reliance on Lio Messi becoming very evident in their collapse in the latter stages of the Champions League without him and even if they can keep on hold of him for another year they will need someone like David Villa to support him.
If Bale is to stay at Tottenham past this summer then it will be for only one more year and it will be a very selfless decision from the young Welshman. Bale deserves to be playing for one of the top sides in Europe not a side that is playing in the Europa League and even if he stays there are no guarantee’s that he will be able to anchor Spurs to a Champions League spot. As you can see when comparing the Premier League odds of the various bookmakers there is little confidence of Tottenham finishing in the top 4.
The same can almost be said for Liverpool as despite Luis Suarez scoring 23 Premier League goals despite missing the last couple through suspension his side only managed a 7th place finish. Suarez must have wondered what more he could have done for Liverpool and perhaps the fans anguish with his temperamental behaviour could help Suarez leave Anfield before the end of his contract. Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea would have killed for a 20+ goal scorer last season having seen Robin Van Persie virtually make the difference for United with his 29 goals. Having lost David Moyes to Old Trafford and the possibility of their big names such as Fellaini and Leighton Baines it seems Everton may well go backwards whilst the potential losses of Suarez and Bale could create an even bigger gap between the top 4 and the rest.
Chelsea are set to grow with the return of Jose Mourinho, Man City under Pelligrini are unlikely to stop their high profile transfers and Arsenal have even signalled their intent in the transfer market. United may actually be the only side in the top 4 not to progress that much as under Moyes they may find the adaptation tough under a different regime but it seems that the United City, Chelsea and Arsenal stronghold over the rest grows and grows.