Nacer Chadli has joined the list of recent signings linked with a quick exit from White Hart Lane.
Before Gareth Bale’s unprecedented move to Real Madrid was even made official on September 1, Tottenham Hotspur had invested £105m in fresh acquisitions – each of them tipped for a bright future.
The purchases of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela each broke Spurs’ record transfer mark in-kind – yet when the market campaign came to a close, the North London outfit were still £4m in the black.
A masterstroke some called it – a series of dealings that would see the side’s brightest star depart, but the squad grow stronger.
The abbreviated outcome of the situation doesn’t even need intensive detailing at this point, however - Andre Villas-Boas was sacked and Spurs remain on the outside looking in for Champions League football.
And a disturbing trend has emerged – the stars brought in already have eyes for new pastures.
First Lamela – struggling mightily to even get a game with just 330 minutes – wanted to go out on loan back to Italy to save his World Cup hopes.
Then reports emerged that Napoli’s interest in Etienne Capoue could actually lead to a move – finally followed by Chadli’s agent sharing his client’s difficulties with Tottenham and talking up a temporary departure from White Hart Lane.
Frankly, it’s all getting to be a bit too much for Spurs – and where does it end?
Of course, there’s a possibility that all four remain under Tim Sherwood’s direction – Lamela already having been denied a move – past January, but mental hidden costs possibly exist.
Put bluntly, the quad are worried about their prospects for Brazil in June above all else, those close to Lamela and Chadli having openly admitted as much.
Really, the key lies with Sherwood. The questions may about Spurs’ transfer policy and the exact roles of Franco Baldini, Daniel Levy and Villas-Boas linger, but the man at the helm can affect the situation the most at present.
He’s inherited a squad of players he certainly wasn’t responsible for bringing in, yet must fit together regardless to ensure a positive end to the campaign.
Heads have been turned and players’ personal ambitions have come to blows with those of the club that splashed out for them.
If they are to stay – Sherwood must galvanize them, as otherwise it seems any focus will wane down the stretch and discontent could be invasive.
Normally, January moves for summer signing are ridiculed, laughed at – but the circumstances for Tottenham are unique and solutions to move past them will have to be as well.
So now, we wait – for the end of the transfer window and for movements in the attitude of the squad – and maybe then those wandering eyes will have returned to the task directly in front of them, but only time will tell.