Raheem Sterling scores Liverpool's first goal in their comprehensive 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane. Illustration by Richard Swarbrick.
Transfer windows are enormously entertaining. Like the drafts in American sport they sometimes seem much more exciting than the game itself. The best thing is always the apoplectic fury expressed by the fans that think their clubs have failed to spend enough money. And as the whole of football knows, there are no fans more convinced that their club is punching below its weight than Spurs fans.
The ire of the numerous season ticket holders offering to shove their plastic cards up Daniel Levy's arse on Monday night when a new centre forward failed to materialise was exacerbated when the one they were expecting - Danny Welbeck - was the subject of a perceived gazumping by Arsenal.
But it's quite possible that Tottenham chairman Levy wasn't even in the market for Welbeck given that the fifteen million pound fee would have meant a positive net spend in this window, something that he is usually loathe to countenance. The truth is Levy almost always makes a profit on transfer dealings. He's done so in five of the last six seasons including last term when the huge cumulative sum that brought in the infamous seven newcomers was much smaller than that raised by the sale of Gareth Bale and the handful of others who left.
Levy is a businessman first and a Spurs man second. This has always been obvious and his long term mission, as clearly defined by his boss Joe Lewis, is about the 'exit strategy': fatten the business up to sell it for maximum return on the investment. In the process of fulfilling his mercenary brief, Levy has built a club that is much much better than the one he started with. Whereas pre-Levy Spurs were the definition of mid-table mediocrity, they are now consistently among the leading pack. They have the sixth largest revenue, but tend to finish between fourth and sixth in the league so he's actually got them punching above their weight, at a profit.
Now, with a new stadium to build and pay for, Levy has to box even cleverer in the transfer market. For years Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been subjected to all sorts of colourful invective from irate Goons because of his perceived parsimony in the transfer market. The fact is he was keeping the spending down to pay for their new ground while miraculously getting them in to the Champions League every single year. Now that it's more or less paid for, the Goons are poised to reap the benefits and start challenging for the title again.
It looks like Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino - assuming he sticks around for a bit - has been charged with a similarly Herculean task. He has a reputation for improving the players he is given so maybe he can perform miracles, like Wenger, while the money is tight. But watching Spurs being comprehensively beaten on their own ground by Liverpool last Sunday, you couldn't help wondering whether any of the outfield players in white would have got into the Reds' starting line up. This is the kind of nasty realisation that Spurs fans may have to get used to over the next few seasons.
Without the increased revenue a new ground can bring, Tottenham would simply fall further and further behind the bigger clubs until they are permanently out of reach. Once again, in doing what's best for business, Levy's doing what's best for Spurs. It could be a painful process.