Tottenham fans' transfer woes but Daniel Levy part of bigger picture
This is the time of year when Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy tends to be least popular with the club's supporters.
For the second year in a row, Spurs have entered the final fortnight of the summer transfer window without making any signings, and the natives are restless.
It is worth recalling that, when the north Londoners eventually made their move in 2017, they broke their transfer record to sign Davinson Sanchez for £42 million before spending another £47m on Serge Aurier, Fernando Llorente, Juan Foyth and Paulo Gazzaniga. History may well repeat itself now in another flurry of activity.
The difference this year is that Mauricio Pochettino publicly stated in the winter that he wanted deals to be completed earlier this time, so he could work with the new men throughout preseason.
Moussa Sissoko, Llorente and Aurier have all struggled to find their feet after arriving at the 11th hour in recent windows, and the worry is that the next additions will face the same problems. If so, questions will again be asked of Levy and Spurs' transfer policy.
However, the chairman also deserves his fair share of credit for the fact that Tottenham have consistently punched above their weight for years.
On the pitch they have secured three successive top three finishes. Behind the scenes, an investment in a state-of-the-art training complex and academy is paying dividends, while Spurs are about to move into their magnificent new stadium. They have also built a 45-bedroom player hotel at the training ground.
Levy's forward thinking and business skills have been key to all of this progress -- and there are times when Spurs fans recognise that and celebrate his negotiating tactics rather than complaining about them.
"Levy time" and "getting Levy'd" are well-known and affectionate phrases in the Tottenham vernacular, and when the club's supporters enter their new home for the first time in September they will surely be full of praise for their chairman's efforts.
He could be more communicative and approachable from a media perspective, and his tendency to avoid interviews probably denies him positive publicity at times. But the fact remains that Spurs have been going from strength to strength under his stewardship, on and off the pitch.
For now, though, the bigger picture is being forgotten and the perception remains that Levy is not giving Pochettino the signings he wants, after publicly stated in the winter the Argentinian stated in May that the club needed to "be brave and take risks".
The club's executive director Donna Cullen rejects that suggestion, however, and the idea that the chairman is limiting spending while Pochettino wants more.
"That is a misconception," she said during Spurs' preseason tour of the U.S. "Daniel works closely with the managers and always has done. He clearly identifies targets, works to get them, and we are no different to other clubs in not necessarily being able to acquire who might be top of your list for whatever reason. There are so many other moving parts in that whole scenario.
"Mauricio is very relaxed. I also think there was a misinterpretation of his comments [at the end of last season]. He will say that what he said was not about going out and spending money.
"Sometimes there's a degree of frustration at how much is written [about Daniel] that isn't accurate. But what you get with him is he is so focused on delivering for this club -- and that's why any of us who work around him think it's grossly unfair.
"The point is if he was a chairman who came out and spoke every time there was an assertion that we weren't comfortable with, you guys would stop listening after a while.
"When he does speak he does it because he's got something to say rather than just responding. He is so modest, shy and understated and it's never about him."
While Cullen insists Levy is fully prepared to invest in the first-team squad, she says the club also remain committed to producing and promoting their own players.
"If you have a blank chequebook, it's a whole lot easier," she continued. "But I have to say that after all the years I've been in football, money doesn't guarantee you success. We've had seasons when we've brought in eight players and it's not been right.
"For me, what's really key is we've still got so many young players. I remember years ago looking at our under-16s, U17s and U18s and knowing there was a golden era coming through. They were the Harry Kanes, Harry Winks.
"We knew how many we had in those year groups for England so we knew they would come through. You've seen that start.
"If you look at our squad, we've still got young players. You've seen Luke Amos play in the last week. The potential is still there, and therefore why would you necessarily need to look so much further?"