Tottenham Hotspur have previously suffered from leaving their business too late in the transfer window, but this year they will have plenty of new players to bed in on the first day of the season.
When Crystal Palace were handed an opening day fixture against Tottenham Hotspur they knew they faced a tough start, but could have hoped that they would be facing a Spurs side in turmoil due to an almost traditional late surge of business in the transfer market.
However this summer Spurs have made three early signings, and if reports are to be believed, could also add at least Etienne Capoue before the start of the season.
There might still be late action at White Hart Lane, especially if Gareth Bale leaves, but the problem Andre Villas-Boas might have when picking his side to face Crystal Palace could be too many new players, rather than too few.
The Portuguese manager has generally eased new signings in slowly at White Hart Lane, but will likely have to start two or three of his new players against Palace. Roberto Soldado will surely be first choice striker and it is unlikely he will be left out, whilst Nacer Chadli will be needed to cover for Gareth Bale, whose niggling, and somewhat suspicious, injury has kept him out of most of pre-season.
Paulinho could also start the first match, with Sandro still recovering from his long-term injury, and should Capoue be signed in the next week or so, he could even be pressed to start in a slightly unfamiliar role at centre-back due to injuries.
If more players arrive due to Bale’s departure, then Andre Villas-Boas could end with half a new side next season, and bedding in so many new faces will be a genuine challenge for Spurs.
So far Villas-Boas has used a wide variety of players in his pre-season matches, and expected squad players have featured more than presumed first team starters. The weekend’s match against Espanyol could be a telling indication of who will be given the nod against Crystal Palace, but Spurs are unlikely to have all the pieces in place by the 18th, for a very different reason to the past couple of seasons.
Who would be in your starting line-up for Tottenham's opener?
image: © Victor Gutierrez Navarro