Mauricio Pochettinos side risk being undercooked for another season of change that, nonetheless, requires more progress
Guardian writers predicted position: 4th (NB: this is not necessarily Nick Amess prediction but the average of our writers tips)
Last seasons position: 3rd
Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 14-1
The cranes, each one smartly painted in the clubs colours and displaying a flag of the famous cockerel crest, still soar above the N17 skyline; nearby cafes, readying themselves for the thrum of match day once again, are kept busy in the meantime by the hundreds of construction workers rushing against deadline. By 15 September everything will be more or less ready and Tottenham, back from their exile around the North Circular Road, will begin their new era in Londons biggest club stadium with a lunchtime fixture against Liverpool.
That will, inescapably, frame whatever Mauricio Pochettino and his squad achieve in the next nine months. They need only to glance over at Arsenal for an object lesson in how moving to a new ground can arrest a teams development; it will be some time, as Pochettino acknowledges, before millions of pounds rain from the sky but at least they know what they are getting into on the pitch.
After a stodgy goalless draw with Swansea last September brought up three league games without a win at Wembley, the manager suggested talk of a rocky acclimatisation risked self-fulfilling and that Spurs needed to move on. They dropped only seven more home points all season; familiarity was, in the end, barely an issue for a highly accomplished cadre of footballers that is used to simply turning up and doing the job.
On the surface there is little reason to suggest the same should not be true upon their latest move. Yet Tottenham do run the risk of another slow start this time around, even if some of the reasons differ. The fact nine of their players were involved in the World Cup through to the final weekend speaks glowingly of the quality Pochettino has amassed; it also presents a short-term problem given that they only returned to training on Monday, meaning the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris will need careful assessment before decisions are taken about their involvement at Newcastle on Saturday.
They should be ready before long but it would have helped if, by now, Tottenham had been able to bed in some reinforcements. Pochettino believes new signings take six or seven months to adapt; it is a warning he has sounded before, and if Daniel Levy is banking on the floodgates opening in the final hours of a clogged-up transfer window then he is certainly taking past levels of brinkmanship up several notches.
Tottenhams squad rather than an already outstanding set of first-choice selections needs to be better if they are to build on a third successive finish inside the top three. Pochettino has struggled to find players who can straddle the line between backup and credible starter for a top-four team; it was therefore encouraging to see Jack Grealish, who has the potential to shoulder some of Christian Eriksens creative burden, in his sights although the noises from Aston Villa are that no deal will be entertained.
Anything else probably hinges on receiving last-minute funds for Toby Alderweireld, Victor Wanyama or Mousa Dembl; all three had been expected to leave during the summer. These are necessarily straitened times but Pochettino may not find it easy to toe the line. Now, we are going to try again to do things early, he saidin December of his expectations for this window. If we cannot again, I am going to say: Come on, we could not again.
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