If there was one word to describe Tottenham Hotspur it would be inconsistent.
Even under the stewardship now of Antonio Conte, Spurs seem to blow teams away one week but then struggle the next.
Though, there have been signs of life of late. The Italian had guided the Lilywhites to incredibly convincing wins over Leeds and Everton before their hopes of sealing a top-four spot took a major dent at the hands of Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero for the hosts, three times unlocking the Spurs defence in what was an unconvincing performance at the back.
From a defensive point of view, it’s difficult to suggest that they ever look certain but had they taken one decision all the way back in 2015, Tottenham may now be sitting in a rather different place; a more successful era.
It is the summer window and in a bid to bolster the club’s backline, Daniel Levy sanctioned the acquisition of Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld.
Now, the centre-half was a top-drawer signing, going on to make 236 appearances for Spurs. He was an incredibly successful player in north London but they decided to sign him over one of the best on the planet.
An article from The Athletic details how they came close to pursuing a move for Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
It reads: “Interestingly, in the summer of 2015, when Spurs signed Alderweireld, Southampton replaced him with Van Dijk. Had Levy failed to get Alderweireld then Van Dijk, then at Celtic, is understood to have been the next name on the list of centre-back targets.”
It’s safe to say the decision to ignore van Dijk was the wrong call. The Netherlands international has been nothing short of sensational since coming to England for £13m, eventually then moving to Anfield after a rock-solid stint with Southampton.
Van Dijk is now one of the best defenders of the modern era, being valued around the £42m mark after winning numerous titles following a world-record fee at the time of £75m.
The 6 foot 4 rock is a Premier League and Champions League winner while being the proud owner of several individual honours, including the UEFA Player of the Year in 2018/19.
Described as a “freak of nature” by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, the Dutchman is very much an elite player, someone who would have undoubtedly made Spurs more solid and consistent in their pursuit of major trophies.
Although Alderweireld was a solid performer for Spurs himself, he is no van Dijk. This is certainly one that got away for Spurs.