December 9 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas thinks Tottenham are in a much stronger position to shoot down Arsenal this year, even without star man Gareth Bale.
For the first time in four years, Tottenham will line up at the Emirates Stadium today without Bale in their team.
Bale has scored three goals in the four wins he has tasted against the Gunners and his overall record of 26 goals last season made him the most dangerous player in the Spurs ranks.
But Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has spent the £86million he is due to receive for Bale wisely, with six new signings - all of them internationals - arriving at the club recently.
And although Bale is now out of the picture, Villas-Boas thinks his team are stronger going in to the north London derby than they were last year.
“Yes, we are stronger [now],” the Tottenham manager said.
“I think we did good things in the market to make us stronger and to give us the ability to rotate.
“We have built a very, very strong team now.”
Tottenham often seemed reluctant to splash out big fees in the past, but there has been a clear change of thinking at the club this summer following their failure to qualify for the Champions League for a second successive year.
Levy, the man who once offered £250,000 for Everton captain Phil Neville, has had no qualms in breaking the club’s transfer record twice this summer and there is a feeling that yet more signings will come before Monday night’s 11pm deadline.
Villas-Boas was left frustrated in the transfer market on two occasions last season, as he failed to land his main targets Joao Moutinho and Leandro Damiao.
But the appointment of Franco Baldini as technical director, and a change of tact from Levy has left the Spurs boss extremely happy with how the club have conducted their business in the transfer window.
“There has been great investment from the club. We want to be there with the elite,” Villas-Boas said.
“The money has been put forward and reinvested back into the team. Our idea was always to make the team stronger than the year before even if we lost one of our best players - and for that to happen, investment has to be put through.
“Franco has had a massive impact. He was a person I was pushing to get from the day I arrived here. His impact was immediate, the way he moves himself in the market and the knowledge and experience that he has. It’s great credit to him to what has been done this summer.”
The seeds of Tottenham’s transfer splurge can be traced back to May last year when, after just missing out on a top-four place, the squad went on an end-of-season tour of the Bahamas.
It was there, at a meeting between Levy, Villas-Boas and owner Joe Lewis, that it was decided that Spurs should send out a real message to their rivals by splashing the cash in the transfer market.
“We had meetings over there to outline the future,” Villas-Boas said.
“That was the beginning of what we have put together. That trip was good because there was great team spirit and team bonding after having failure so fresh in our minds.”
That sense of failure at missing out on Champions League football continues to linger in Villas-Boas’ head over three months on, and he is determined to put things right this season.
“We were ever so close. We could have achieved it,” the Portuguese said.
“There was a moment in March where our fortunes turned a little bit.
“On that last day anything could have happened. It could have been us. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
“I think we are on the right path. Now we have had all the conditions to achieve it this season.”