Saturday, 14 September 2013

Let the Mind Games Begin

And yet we still lost to them, eh, AVB?

André Villas-Boas has claimed that Arsenal "paid heavily" when signing Mesut Özil from Real Madrid, claiming that Tottenham and Manchester City were the two Premier League clubs who completed the best business in the summer transfer window.
Özil secured a move to Arsenal for £42.5m last week with hours to spare before the window closed and the Germany midfielder is expected to make his debut against Sunderland on Saturday at the Stadium of Light. It was the only major piece of business Arsenal completed during the summer while Spurs signed seven players for more than £100m, covered largely by Gareth Bale's move to Madrid for £86m, breaking their transfer record on three separate occasions.
Villas-Boas, whose side play Norwich City, described the Özil deal as a coup for Arsenal but still believes Tottenham's north London rivals may have paid over the odds.
"Real Madrid sold a player for €50m, a wonderful, gifted footballer and in the end Arsenal paid heavily for a player of that dimension," said Villas-Boas. "It's a €50m transfer for a No10 that nobody has any doubt over his ability.
"They have lots of players for that position also but they have become even stronger with Özil. The fact that Real Madrid sold him to Arsenal for that price, we can't say anything – we are happy with what we have and Real Madrid are happy.
"We are happy with what we have done in the transfer window, extremely happy. Arsenal did a great last-minute coup with Özil but they will be as competitive as they were before."
He continued: "All of us have done good business in the transfer window – Man City and us maybe a little bit more than Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. I think all of us have made big steps forward from the season before."
The Dane Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela (Argentina) could both feature for Spurs after returning to England on Thursday from international duty, though neither is likely to start the match. Villas-Boas added the forwards Lamela and Roberto Soldado to his squad for more than £25m during the summer, while Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches also joined for significant fees.
Villas-Boas has already cooled talk of challenging for the title this season, turning his focus to a top-four finish, but believes the departure of Bale to Madrid will allow other players in the team to flourish.
"I think it gives the opportunity for other people to step up their game and to have more impact and responsibility," said the Spurs manager. "It gives you the opportunity to form the team in a different way.
"We have done lots of activity in the transfer market. We have been involved with a couple of transfers that we couldn't get through for various reasons and we are extremely happy with what we have done.We have lost a couple of players – players who were also decisive for us last season – but have made great investment in players who can give us a great , great future. It is something we have done almost to make sure what happened last year [finishing fifth] does not happen again."

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