5th December 2017.
Mauricio Pochettino might have ignited a revolution at Tottenham over the past few years, but the club now find themselves in a worrying position of potentially losing their key players.
Tottenham were expected to challenge for the Premier League title again this season, but their form at Wembley, and even away from 'home', has been poor and in decline since the start of the season. While they have impressed in the Champions League, their domestic form has taken a setback, which is probably a direct consequence of playing twice a week in the prestigious competition.
Why Tottenham are in Real Danger?
If Spurs are to drop out of the top four this season - they are currently in sixth, four points from a Champions League spot - then you can guarantee some of Tottenham's star players will be engineering moves away from the new White Hart Lane.
It would be a shame, as a whole, to see a gutting of Tottenham's players, considering how refreshing they have been in the Premier League. They have upset the odds and done remarkably well, even if they have not yet won a major trophy under Pochettino.
Spurs' faithful will hope that the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen et al will stay put, but the reality is that a player's career is indeed very short, and they will want to be challenging for titles every single season.
There is also the case of Tottenham's incredibly strict wage structure. Daniel Levy, Spurs' Chairman, has deployed a remarkably tight-knit budget for wages and has, somehow, manufactured a situation where all their top players are on contracts that do not expire until 2021/2022.
This means that if those players do ask for moves away, any respective buying club will have to fork out impressive sums to finance the deal and satisfy Levy. The club have certainly formed this contingency plan well and, in the worst possible case, will receive hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation.
Future Proofing at Spurs
Obviously, fans would rather have these players at the club for the duration of their contracts, but football is a cruel world and takes no prisoners. There is a genuine threat of Tottenham undergoing the same transformation next summer as French reigning champions Monaco have gone through (and are even still in the process of going through).
If Tottenham's best players do leave next summer, after a possible fifth-placed or lower finish, Spurs will have to position themselves in a more intelligent manner than how they handled spending the money after Gareth Bale's departure to Real Madrid.
It is not always about bringing in six or seven players, like Everton have shown this season, but making sure that the quality is there. Spurs will have an enormous amount to spend if those players do leave, but, even with that amount, it will still be difficult to replace those players in the transfer market that is becoming increasingly more difficult.
Tottenham have done well to hold on and tie down these players to long-term contracts, but without the appeal of Champions League football, it will be Levy's biggest task to convince these international players to stay.
Lure of Bigger European Soccer Clubs
Not every player is motivated by money, of course not, but the attraction of playing in Europe's top-tier competition and genuinely competing for trophies domestically is what drives them. To have that taken away and not be a truly competitive team would be detrimental and a waste of these senior players' time.
It is also not indiscrete to suggest that players have to maximum their earning potential as a player. Yes, these players are on a lot of money per-week already, but they know they can comfortably earn two, three, four times the amount at another club that is keen on them.
Barcelona have made their interest clear to Eriksen on more than one occasion, which has to be a destination and a club the Dane would surely relish playing for. He would be playing for a team that is a genuine contender for the Champions League, as well as LaLiga, while being on a contract that is considerably more attractive. It is nonsensical to think that, if the opportunity became available, Eriksen would turn them down for a Tottenham that are playing in the Europa League.
You can go through Spurs' XI and offer better alternatives for players if they do not finish inside the top four in the Premier League this season. Of course, not every player is going to leave, but the really big hitters will more than likely change ship. It only makes sense to do so.
Spurs are competing well in the Champions League, but, realistically, they are not going to lift the trophy. Their priority should be on making sure their form in the Premier League goes through a resurgence and gets them firmly back into the top four. Because if they do not finish there, a mass exodus could be on their hands.
This article was written by Liam Canning for Soccer Box, the number one place on the web to purchase official Tottenham Hotspur soccer jerseys.