You've killed Tottenham Hotspur

The give stages of transfer deadline day grief

Denial

Don't fret. It's going to happen. Levytime. It's all about brinkmanship, there's a strategy to it, it's calculated and Machiavellian. It has to all happen on the last day so that we get the best deal otherwise the opposing club and chairman has all the power. Let them think we're not interested, then...BOOM! We're in there with a last gasp bid which simply can't be turned down leaving us with twenty minutes to agree all the contractual stuff with the player, the medical, payment plan, agent fees and any potential work permits. He's a chairman of a football club and you've got a Twitter account...you think you know how it works and how to work it? He's got this. You can't just sign a striker, you have to tease and flirt. Get from first base to second then third. Takes time and patience. Long distance relationships are tricky. Have faith. Levy to deliver Leandro and that Champions League spot will be cemented. Guaranteed because if there's a player than can hit the ground running it's a Brazilian joining us mid-season.

Anger

What? The window has shut? That's not possible, the yellow ticker hasn't got anything about any new signings arriving at Hotspur Way. Jenas gone. Gomes, Townsend, Dawkins, Pritchard, Mason all out on loan but no...no one in? Really? You sure you haven't paused Sky+ and you're watching Jim White from an hour ago? But those tweets...they tated we bid for him. They said we were negotiating. Bid £13M then upped it to £17M. It was on the internet. Why would the internet lie to me? So let me get this straight...we haven't signed Leandro and we haven't signed anyone? Nobody has been signed? So what are you saying? There are no new players arriving? You saying the media made some sh*t up to perpetuate hype and narrative to keep us tuned in for advertisement consumption?

NO WAY! Levy was working to sign someone for sure. HE HAD TO HAVE BEEN FFS! HOW CAN LEVY NOT BACK AVB? WE NEED PLAYERS AND WE'VE SIGNED NOBODY AND FAILED TO BACK THE COACH AGAIN! WE'VE GONE BACKWARDS IN A SINGLE DAY! WE'RE ACTUALLY WORSE OFF NOW THAN BEFORE! Fourth spot is gone gone gone. There isn't a chance we can compete with Arsenal who have spent money on a left-back. And Chelsea who...who...and Liverpool, they signed that Brazilian and Everton, they almost signed someone but the deal collapsed but the intent was there. Why is Levy hoarding all the money? No new players and a phantom  stadium that is beginning to resemble the re-built Death Star pre-destruction. A big fuss that blows up in our face. He's fleeced us again, hasn't he? I'd rather be an Ewok than a Spurs fan.

Holtby? Well, he wasn't meant to sign until the summer so getting him in early doesn't technically count as a new signing as no further targets materialised on the last day of the window and you can only measure success by conforming to the rules and the rules are...SIGN SOMEONE FOR A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY ON THE LAST DAY OF THE WINDOW SO THAT EVERYONE GETS A RUSH OF GLORY BLOOD TO THE HEAD! No ambition displayed has practically rubber-stamped Gareth Bale's departure to Madrid in the summer. Well done Daniel, you've killed Tottenham Hotspur. Hope you enjoy the £60M you get for Bale. Better get a bigger shoe box to fit under your bed.

Bargaining

Okay...okay, it's not a complete disaster, it can't be a complete disaster. I've kidnapped Chirpy and if I dispose of his body, post-death, then perhaps I can interview for the mascot job and then I'll have access to White Hart Lane on match-day and talk to the players, pep talk and stuff like subliminal positive thinking. I've seen Andre Villas-Boas with the post-it notes. I just need to replace them with my own words of wisdom, inspire them to believe they are better and more accomplished. You can trap the ball and pass it Parker. JD, you will score again. Adebayor...it's called a 'foot-ball', foot-ball...you use your feet to kick it. Dempsey, you're not a competition winner, you're a Premier League footballer. I can do this, I can...I can support, I'm sure I can muster up some positivity.

We're fourth, if we're fourth now there's no reason we can't stay fourth. We just have to hope everyone else below us lose all their remaining games which means we wouldn't have to win any to retain our position. It's going to be tight, but we might just do it. 

We don't need to spend money on any new players. Kaboul will be back soon. Sandro next season. JD and Ade will start to score again soon. It's all good, it's all good.

Depression

What's the point? Daniel Levy is obviously a gooner spy that simply wants to keep our balance healthy enough to make us fiscally attractive to an investor and spending extortionate amounts of money will not aid with balancing the books. AVB is only here to keep us mildly competitive, in amongst it, not quite good enough therefore allowing us to make untold profit when Bale leaves (when no CL is forthcoming). We're doomed.

We've failed to sign a striker, we've failed to take a risk and spend big to elevate us to the next level...again. Adebayor doesn't count, he spends too long on the flanks and working the channels. Defoe doesn't count either because I don't rate him, unless he's scoring and then I do and if he's not then I just don't comment about it so that I avoid having to debate why he's immune from criticism. Levy doesn't want us to succeed. No other plausible reason. What's the point? We've once more handed over our Champions League spot to our enemies. Fifth spot is the new mid-table. It's fine, we'll settle back into also-rans, pretenders. Money we make off Bale will be akin to a parachute payment you get when you're relegated. We'll survive but the glory days are officially over. Not enough depth. AVB is down to bare bones. This window will go down as the most pivotal in our history. Could have won the title. 7th is what we get for our lack of endeavour and decisiveness. RIP. There used to be a Latin motto over there.

Acceptance

No one available to buy. That's got to be it. Aside from opportunistic signings (none of which appeared to present themselves), there's nothing that happens in January because it's bang in the middle of the season. Stop-gaps was Harry's game. AVB must be content with what he has and perhaps until things are clearer in the summer we have to make do. AVB did say days ago we weren't in for anyone, including Leandro. No soundbites, just the truth. And we choose to ignore it and instead dress it up as deflection.

So if that means having to dig deep and just make sure we keep ahead of the other sides competing for 4th/3rd, so be it. The other sides being not much better than us or each other. Levy obviously does have money to spend because we signed plenty  in the last window but the money for one 'world class superstar' seems to remain fantastical and improbable for whatever reason you choose to believe.

We tried for Moutinho last time out, £20M or so. Money must be there then. We ended up with Dempsey, arguably a stop-gap (of a Levy variety). So if we wanted to go back to our original targeted players, all our potential inquiries theoretically would have taken place before January and alas nothing was ever truly on the cards. Anzhi in for Wilian for 34M Euros? Can hardly compete with that. Expect Moutinho to end up there too.

So any other alleged bid on the last day was just hyperbole or propaganda. Long term, we need several key areas improved on. A fullback, a playmaker (deep-lying), a winger to cover the flanks (perhaps two if Bale leaves), another DM to replace Parker and rotate with Sandro. A better class of forward. That's practically half a team.

Realistically, a playmaker or a forward would give us that extra oomph for now.

In the end we got an attacking midfielder, something in-between which may well galvanise the tempo of our passing game and rejuvenate one or both of our (confidence players) strikers as only one should play up front as 442 doesn't suit us so why, logically, would we want to make either Adebayor or Defoe redundant by signing another first team player? You'd replace both with better players, right? How likely is that? Still, AVB and Levy must know and understand the risks of not having another option.

The reality is confusing, contradictory. Expectations are both wild and pragmatic. And it's all fused into a frenzy of failure that varies depending on your own personal perceptions of what is an acceptable requirement. Considering the lack of consistent quality around us, in terms of sustained form, there's a chance to really take a stranglehold and do great things. That can happen by either consolidating strength by purchasing better players or by taking the players we have and aiming high. We're stuck with the latter.

Daring is achieving? That doesn't seem to be the case with Levy's cautious economics, far more controlled and contained than speculating in spectacular fashion, leaving the Leandro deal in a state of illusion (and delusion). £4M loss, talk of us 'never doing a Leeds'. The clues were in plain sight. The breadcrumbs leading back to prior windows. Is it restrained ambition or pragmatic progress?

The reality is, we should be good enough as we are. You might disagree, not sure I completely accept it but it's the only reality that exists and is therefore the only thing relevant to our immediate future. We still lack a game-changing forward player. We don't have cover for the flanks. Sandro is still out for the season and Parker is struggling at the moment to retain form (early days but not too many nights left to rediscover it). There is no Luka. He's gone. Let's get over it. But then this is a different team to last year, a different coach and different style of play so perhaps Holtby will create a new dynamic and add a new dimension. Let's face it, had Holtby signed ten minutes to eleven we'd all be rejoicing.

If we don't finish in the top four then we're not good enough or strong enough to do so with the players we have and we'll never know if we would be if we did sign X player(s) to bolster up and take it all by the scruff of the neck. Belief, desire and the likes of Vertonghen, Dembele, Lennon, Bale and the rest of our players having to step up and want this, desire it, with as much passion as we do. You want Champions League? No one man can offer that, eleven can.

Villas-Boas believes in them. Do we believe in them? Do they believe in themselves?

We're about to find out.