The North London rivals were only separated by a point for the last 2 seasons after the race for the Champions League went down to the final day in successive years. Currently, both sides are seemingly in existence merely to strive to top the other; this makes the transfer windows so crucial as each side looks to strengthen their squads. In this article I look at which club offers a greater attraction to potential incoming players.
At face value, the obvious answer is Arsenal. They have been able to offer Champions League football for the last 15 years – and still can – which provides the ultimate setting for footballers to display their talent against the best players in Europe. This has allowed them to purchase players like Santi Cazorla from Malaga, and Olivier Giroud from Montpellier, both of whom were playing for CL clubs at time of purchase, who wouldn’t have considered moving to Spurs as they were only in the Europa League.
But the issue with the Gunners is the prolonged trophy drought, and with that, a perceived lack of ambition or progress. A decade ago, they were winning leagues and progressing far in Champions Leagues, yet now they can’t even win a solitary league cup. Players like Robin Van Persie have been forced to leave the club in pursuit of club glory which they felt they were not able to achieve at Arsenal. RVP has been vindicated, winning the title in his debut season at Old Trafford. Do players want to join a club whose best players have been leaving to win trophies?
Tottenham’s ‘pull’ in the transfer market is immediately reduced by the lack of Champions League football, having been pipped at the post again by Arsenal in the last season. Some players will instantly discount a move to White Hart Lane because of this. But Tottenham do have other things going for them. They have a young and exciting manager in the form of Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas, who at the tender age of 35 can boast an unbeaten season with Porto on his CV. New signings such as Lewis Holtby have admitted how much they love to play under AVB, and it is widely reported that he was the man who sparked Gareth Bale’s incredible end to the season.
There is also the Gareth Bale effect. Who wouldn’t want to play alongside one of the greatest players in world football? £17m Paulinho from Corinthians stated that he had been reassured that Bale was staying and it is reported that Gareth Bale is a big attraction for David Villa, as he decides with which club he should ply his trade next season.
The final thing to consider is who Spurs and Arsenal have actually purchased in the last season. Arsenal have bought Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski whereas Spurs have bought Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Lewis Holtby, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Emmanuel Adebayor and Mousa Dembele. The ‘world-class’ tag can be applied to 2 players there, in my view: Hugo Lloris and Santi Cazorla. But the most noticeable thing is that Spurs have bought young players; none of those players were over 26 at the time of purchase. Santi Cazorla is 29 in December. This shows that Spurs realise that they lack the pivotal Champions League attraction, but are compensating by buying classy young players with the ability to develop into top footballers.
So in summary, whilst Arsenal possess the crucial ‘pull’ that is the prospect of Champions League football, Tottenham can reply to that strongly with their manager being AVB, their star player beinga certain Gareth Bale and the fact that they seem to possess more ambition than their North London rivals.