Are Daniel Levy and Spurs better at selling players than buying them?

Tottenham Hotspur's Federico Fazio

With Tottenham's Federico Fazio moving to Roma this week on loan and Alex Pritchard moving to Norwich, we take a look at the club's approach to transfers.

Tottenham's Federico Fazio in action with Arsenal's Olivier GiroudTottenham's Federico Fazio in action with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud

Tottenham Hotspur supporters were celebrating last night as the North Londoners agreed a deal that would see defensive flop Federico Fazio move on loan to Roma for the coming season, with a permanent transfer said to be on the agenda "if certain appearance criteria are met".

ESPN reports are that Spurs would sell the defender for around £4 million, having bought him for £8 million (Telegraph) - not great business on the face of it but certainly a decent cash return for a player who looked woefully short of Premier League level at times during his two years at the club.

While it may be a little early to wave a permanent farewell to the former Sevilla star, many are suggesting the move is further proof of the quality of Spurs supremo Daniel Levy when it comes to negotiating transfers.

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel LevyTottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy

But is it in fact evidence that Levy is significantly better at offloading players than he is at bringing them in?

Like most clubs, Spurs have had transfer successes and transfer failures, but recent changes at the club indicate Levy has been eager to take a different approach when it comes to identifying and signing players.

Tottenham have put in place a new recruitment team in the last 20 months, notably after a summer where they signed Fazio, Benjamin Stambouli, DeAndre Yedlin, Michel Vorm, Ben Davies and Eric Dier. Of those players Dier has certainly been a huge success, while Davies and perhaps Vorm have been capable squad additions.

Tottenham manager Mauricio PochettinoTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Paul Mitchell arrived from Southampton as Head of Recruitment, pushing Director of Football Franco Baldini out of the club. This summer Mauricio Pochettino signed a new contract, with his official job title switching from "head coach" to the more all-encompassing "manager".

What this seems to suggest is that player recruitment now comes from a footballing level, rather than a director level. Of course, both Baldini and Mitchell had the ears of directors and Pochettino, but the emphasis is now very much on Pochettino and his former transfer partner at Southampton.

Levy of course signed off all of this, surely in recognition of the outstanding work the Argentine has done with the squad since arriving in 2014.

England's Dele Alli in actionEngland's Dele Alli in action

It is also worth noting that the first signing Spurs made after Mitchell arrived was Dele Alli, at least as outstanding addition as Dier and for a similar fee.

The summer after Kevin Wimmer and Toby Alderweireld were the impressive transfers in, while Kieran Trippier and Heung-Min Son have proved themselves capable squad players who could make a step up in their second season. Only Clinton Njie, about to seal his own loan to Marseille, has failed to impress, and many Spurs fans feel it may be a little too soon to dismiss his talent.

Tottenham's Roberto Soldado, Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen look dejected after Mario Gomez (not pictured) scored the first goal for FiorentinaTottenham's Roberto Soldado, Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen look dejected after Mario Gomez (not pictured) scored for Fiorentina

Over the last few years Tottenham's transfer business is littered with departures heralded as "great Levy business": Fazio, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Stambouli, Vlad Chiriches and Roberto Soldado were all supposedly good deals despite being sold for less than they arrived for.

They were good deals because the players weren't deemed good enough for Spurs, and for many, they were significantly short of quality.

In essence, it was the selling of them that was good business, and less so when juxtaposed to the cost of their arrival.

Alex Pritchard of England during trainingAlex Pritchard of England during training

Coupled alongside the rush of academy talent that has emerged and proved very profitable (Steven Caulker, Jake Livermore, Andros Townsend and now Alex Pritchard) and it seems Levy and the club are tougher and more efficient negotiators when selling than they are astute and clever purchasers, at least until the last year or so.

But with Mitchell and Pochettino now in place and more involved in arrivals, it is reasonable to expect more appropriate signings for the squad, which, alongside the excellent economic approach in relation to player departure, should be a massive bonus as the club finances its stadium move.

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