The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa, and Spain beat the Netherlands in the final at Soccer City in Johannesburg. That same summer Tottenham Hotspur brought in five new players, sold one and released three.
Then under the management of Harry Redknapp, Spurs sold Adel Taarabt for £1 million to Queens Park Rangers (where Redknapp is the current boss) and released Lee Butcher, Sam Cox and Dorian Dervite.
Redknapp spent a total of £18.5m to bring in five players. Sandro was signed way back in March 2010 for a reported £6m, but the midfielder did not actually arrive at White Hart Lane until August when the Brazilian’s campaign with Internacional in the Copa Libertadores had finished.
William Gallas was signed on a free transfer after he had been released by Arsenal in August after a disastrous World Cup campaign with France in which the players went on strike, with the defender said to be one of the leaders.
Gallas’ signing had very little to do with the World Cup - his performances in the Premier League with Arsenal and Chelsea will have made him a target for Tottenham.
However, arguably one of Redknapp’s best signings was Rafael van der Vaart, who signed for Spurs on August 31st for £8m from Real Madrid after a deal for him to move to Bayern Munich for £18m fell through at the last minute (according to the Spurs boss).
The Dutch midfielder started all three group games for the Netherlands until Arjen Robben returned to full fitness. Despite a difficult term at club level, he performed well in South Africa, helping the Oranje reach the final.
Given that his transfer happened so late in the window and Redknapp’s assertions about his other deal falling through, one would suspect that his performance at the World Cup likely delayed his move.
A player whose presence at the World Cup almost certainly led to his signing for Spurs was Bongani Khumalo, who joined the London club in January 2011 from SuperSport United for £1.5m after agreeing terms in October 2010. The South Africa international scored against France in the tournament.
Likewise, his national teammate Steven Pienaar was signed in January 2011 for £3m from Everton. While he was already well known in the Premier League, Pienaar announced himself on the world stage in South Africa with some strong displays for the tournament hosts.
Ultimately, the World Cup in 2010 may have influenced the signings of Van der Vaart, Khumalo and perhaps Pienaar, but what is most significant is the fact that the club were willing to take something of a risk on players who gave a good account of themselves at the World Cup.
We could find the same this summer with Spurs linked with several players on show in Brazil. One should not expect Tottenham to sign players just breaking through, but one shouldn't be surprised to see new manager Mauricio Pochettino bring in at least one or two stars who may have only just started to ascend in their careers with their national teams.