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Spurs have the positioning to avoid the pitfalls of their neighbours

Thursday 30th March 2017

Spurs are entering a period of transition between one stadium and the next. However, unlike the crippling effect the change had on Arsenal, they are in a position to flourish.

Alisher Usmanov is a shareholder in Arsenal Football Club. While Stan Kroenke still owns the club and boasts all the power, Usmanov is a man of importance and influence within Arsenal circles. That is why, when he speaks - and it must be said that, as an outspoken Russian oligarch, he does speak a lot - his words carry an element of force as if they words worth listening to.

In August 2015, Usmanov offered his opinion on the sacrificial management of Arsene Wenger in engineering Arsenal's move from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006. Speaking in an interview with CNN, Usmanov proclaimed:

"Arsene had a very, very difficult position when club shareholders didn't want to put their money into constructing the new stadium. Because of this, he (went) five years -- maybe the best of his career -- without a trophy. Ten years, in reality."

Those words should serve as a stark and refreshing warning to a club not too far from Usmanov's reach. Tottenham Hotspur are, a little over a decade after Arsenal forayed before them, building, quite literally, towards a new stadium as they begin to see beyond White Hart Lane, their home for the past 118 years.

The anticipated plan is that they will suffer a season at Wembley in 2017/18 before entering their new stadium. Just recently, they released a snazzy, well-cut CGI video to demonstrate many of the facilities that they are set to offer, portraying their grand vision for the future of the club. It certainly all sounds lovely. But as Usmanov so accurately delineates, there are dangers to be wary of.

Thankfully for Spurs, under the astute guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, they have the playing infrastructure in place to ride the rough with the smooth that inevitably comes with a stadium switch.

Perhaps more so than any other team in the land, Spurs have carefully and thoughtfully cultivated a squad bursting with young, talented, growing stars, all of which are tied down to contracts for the long-term.

Christian Eriksen and Toby Aldeweireld have contracts that expire in 2020; Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Kyle Walker, Ben Davies and Danny Rose in 2021; Harry Winks, of which much is thought of, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris in 2022.

The core of the formidable Spurs' squad are, at least not without an eye-watering fee that could then be reinvested in other areas of the squad, with the club for the foreseeable future. If the trajectory of their rivals is to be considered, it is likely that finances could be stretched in the coming years. It would be a surprise to see them as active in the transfer window as they have been in recent times, especially at the top end, bidding for the more expensive players.

However, they are now in a position where they do not need to be. While the Spurs squad still has shortcomings, issues that need addressing, it is far from weak. And with the core tied down, it is just the trimmings that will change. As such, where Arsenal, as Usmanov details, failed to juggle the financial demands of the moving stadium with the trophy demands of the fans, Spurs are in the perfect position to succeed.

Whether they will or not, remains to be seen. But Pochettino and Daniel Levy should be heralded for their management thus far.
Andrew Dowdeswell

A sport obsessed 20 something who just really wants Arsenal to finally win the league. Please Wenger, what the hell happened to you?!


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