Football

Ex-England defender Mabbutt hails Spurs’ historic transfer window

Tottenham Hotspur became the first club to make no new signings in a transfer window since it was introduced in 2003 and, yet, Gary Mabbutt believes that window last summer was the best they have had at the English Premier League club.

The former England and Tottenham defender told reporters at a London press meet on Saturday organised by AIA Singapore that Spurs did something more important - stop the talent drain.

"Yes, we didn't buy anyone but the best thing that happened is that we didn't sell anyone," the 57-year-old Mabbutt said.

"When Spurs were doing particularly well when we had great squads with players like Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart, all those players have moved on (from the club) very quickly.

"Now, players want to stay at Spurs because we are showing that we want to be serious contenders for the major honours."

Mabbutt, who despite being told at the age of 17 that he would have to give up football due to diabetes and yet played 611 games in a 16-year Tottenham career, also added that Spurs are becoming a stronger force not only because they managed to retain star players, but also due to their good youth set-up.

"When Toby (Alderweireld) and Jan (Vertonghen) play together, I believe they form the best centre-back partnership in the EPL," he said.

"There have been injuries and the best part of that is that both Davinson (Sanchez) and (Juan) Foyth have stepped in, and it's not like there was a glaring difference, they did extremely well and that's why this team are growing together."

Mabbutt believes Spurs are giving young players a chance to come to the fore and prove themselves and cited the example of Tottenham striker Harry Kane's development.

"Four or five years ago, we sent Kane on loan and, when he came back, he didn't do very well," Mabbutt said.

"So we sent him on loan again and, when he returned, he didn't do so well again... But Mauricio Pochettino just came in and told Kane that he would be Spurs' No. 1 striker in front of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor... and challenged Kane to prove to him that he deserved his spot.

"Another young lad who has done well is Harry Winks. The squad are coming together, something is going to happen here... We can actually go on and contend for the major honours."

Football