As a financial adviser my industry is heavily regulated. We have to ensure that the advice we give is appropriate and relevant for the client’s objective regardless if they are investing, spending or borrowing. The key message in any investment though is that past performance is not a guide to future performance and the same can be said when a football club buys players.

In the summer of 2013 Spurs fans finally got what they wanted (well apart from Bale leaving). A splurge of money on players and trading happening early in the transfer window. The signing of Soldado for example had everyone in joyous raptures about how he had “left sunny Spain to play at White Hart Lane”. This was the top striker that we had been craving for so long! Well we all know how that worked out and it was the harshest lesson in understanding that not all purchases pay off. What works in one environment does not necessarily equate equally in another environment. You only need to reflect on the Torres at Liverpool and the Torres at Chelsea to understand this.

Spurs are not the only club to suffer. Man Utd have had their share of Veron’s and Anderson’s as have Chelsea with Schevchenko, Kezman, Torres and so many others. The difference perhaps is that when you have money coming out of your backside like these clubs do then you can afford to make transfer mistakes and you can easily overcome them. Teams like Spurs cannot afford to do this and money badly spent will quickly equip a mocking stick to beat the club with, not only from rival fans and media but sadly and probably more so, from our own fans too.

So now we have unerringly set a bar. 2013 transfer activity is now the benchmark for ridicule and thankfully Liverpool went one better than Spurs in 2014 to illustrate that having money in your pocket doesn’t always get you love, to reference a well-known song. Moreover it paves the way for fans to talk with the benefit of hindsight in an effort to impress a particular point. Knowing that this player is “shit” or that player is “shit” now means that any player that the club are linked with generally means that more money will be pissed away if the guy doesn’t have a 90 rating on FIFA or some such. More annoyingly though it gives fuel to the “I told you so” crowd.

But the fact is the fans don’t run the club and we aren’t the ones that have to worry about whether spending £25m on Berahino (WBA’s apparent asking price) will be money well spent. We can all just clamour for the money to be spent because “that’s what we need” but I can almost guarantee you that once a signing turns sour its those same fans that will be screaming how the club have pissed away more money and they haven’t got a clue. And when money is badly spent then yes it is deemed a success if you can limit your losses and recoup some or most of the outlay. That’s just common business sense.

You can therefore understand the clubs shift in transfer policy after having their fingers badly burnt. The ownership have clearly stated that they would like to develop their own players and bring in players in the £10m – £15m price range that they can develop further. This is where Spurs have had success in the past and given the millions that the club needs just to remain competitive amidst their limited revenue streams as compared to competitor teams, you can see why that might be the case. We should ask ourselves whether the club’s strategy of being a top four contender on a regular basis would have quite likely borne fruit had not Chelsea and City not hit the oil tycoon lottery and appeared from nowhere. That said the club strategy needs to realign to account for this anomaly and it’ll be hard to do this and remain competitive at the same time but this is what needs to happen.

So whilst we would all like to see the squad strengthened in each window and we would love for every signing to be amazing, it’s unlikely to be that way unless you are competing for the type of player that will only sign for clubs that are currently “bigger” than ourselves financially and can guarantee (more or less) Champions League football and challenging for honours on a regular basis. We are not in that market at the moment. We and other clubs around us have to take a calculated gamble. All we can do is hope that the squad is moulded into something where its sum is greater than the value of the individual parts because there’s no way to gamble on a sure thing.

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