Reality bites for Tottenham as finishing fourth in the Premier League proves futile
THERE are only 11 miles separating Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane but there was an unmistakable chasm last night in the respective mood at the two clubs.
There are only 11 miles separating Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane but there was an unmistakable chasm on Sunday night in the respective mood at the two clubs.
While there was joy unconfined at Chelsea for the historic achievement of a first European Cup, Tottenham are facing up to the grim reality that finishing fourth in the Premier League will not now be rewarded by Champions League football.
The fall-out promises to be considerable, not only in the loss of around £30? million in revenue but also in their ambitions for this crucial summer transfer window.
Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, has already stressed that he will not be “screwed up” by Chelsea taking England’s fourth Champions League place but there is a strong possibility that his planning will be.
The club have been bold in targeting players such as Lille’s Eden Hazard but are now expected to move to a rather different bracket of player, with Blackburn’s Junior Hoillet and Fulham’s Moussa Dembele among their options.
They still hope to push through a deal for Ajax centre-back Jan Vertonghen but Arsenal retain an interest and could now offer the certainty of Champions League football next season.
The biggest danger for Tottenham, however, is with the existing squad amid the threat of summer unrest and even an exodus among key players leaving White Hart Lane.
Winger Gareth Bale remains of interest to Barcelona and has already said that he would want to discuss his future if Spurs are not in the Champions League.
Chelsea are likely to revive their interest in Luka Modric although Real Madrid have also emerged as a plausible option for the midfielder.
Likewise, Benoit Assou-Ekotto has suggested that he would expect Tottenham to consider an offer for him from a leading club.
Assou-Ekotto’s thoughts on the prospect of another season in the Europa League were summed up by the defender’s recent description of the competition as “useless”.
With his wage expectations in the absence of Champions League income, striker Emmanuel Adebayor is another whose future could be influenced by Chelsea’s penalty shootout win on Saturday.
Redknapp has repeatedly stated that Spurs must again improve the squad this summer and, despite ultimately failing in the target of Champions League qualification, is adamant that the season should be regarded as a success.
“I wanted to finish in the top four with Tottenham and I think it was a fantastic achievement,” said Redknapp. “We couldn’t do any more.
“We finished above Chelsea, above Liverpool and getting in those top four positions is getting more and more difficult.
“Chelsea are going to be there again next year, Liverpool are going to push as will Newcastle. You have just got to improve and see if you can be up there.”
Staying still will now be an achievement in itself for Tottenham.