La Decisionazo: Antoine Griezmann’s Leaked Personal Diary for the 2018/19 Season

Antoine Griezmann is leaving Atletico Madrid, to go to…somewhere? 

We got an unmarked envelope at 90min Towers on Wednesday morning which appears to contain his innermost thoughts from the last 12 months. Since The Decision

We take no pleasure in revealing the envelope’s contents. But the people deserve to know. 


14th June 2018

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Did The Decision today. Needed something to take my mind off playing with these snail-munchers instead of my pals at the World Cup for the next month – really think FIFA need to have another look at their rules. 

?Ousmane and that Umtiti lad keep giving me funny looks around the camp though. Can’t tell if it’s because I just made an entire documentary to par off their club or if they didn’t think my apology for the Globetrotters thing was enough. Guess I’ll never know. Refuse to speak French. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


15th July 2018

Won the World Cup today. The frog-gobblers are all loving it, but I just feel empty. It is not the time for posts. I told Juan Mata that. He scribbled it in a notebook. Odd lad. I like his name though, it reminds me of mate, which I bloody love, of course. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


6th August 2018

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Back with my mate mates today, it’s been such a long summer. I love drinking small amounts of bitter leaf juice with my Uruguayan kin, it’s the only reason made The Decision to stay here in the summer. ?Luis Suarez…he doesn’t appreciate me in the same way that they do. 

“He’s not Uruguayan, he’s French and he scored a goal. He doesn’t know what we have to do to succeed in football. He will have his customs and his Uruguayan way of speaking, but we feel differently.”

Dickhead. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


19th November 2018

Wow, long time no speak! Had to play against the homeland again today, and it was really hard. I put a Uruguayan flag on my boots, but people just laughed at me. Diego and Jose weren’t even in their squad, I just felt so alone. Sometimes I think they don’t even believe I’m really one of them. 

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Had a chat with Luis after the game though. Cleared the air a bit, turns out we have a lot in common – he says he was called racist for doing something that’s accepted in our culture too! Lots to think about. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


28th January 2019

This season is going great! Through in the ?Champions League, second in the league and not far behind ?Barça! I’ve scored eight in eight! I’m getting a little bit worried that Diego (the good one, not the feral one) hasn’t signed his new contract yet though. I’m going to start leaving pens in his kitbag so he’s always ready, I think. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


3rd February 2019

Spoke too soon. Lost to Betis. Will go home and genuflect to my single lock of Diego Forlan’s hair. 


9th February 2019

Lost to Real. Need to step it up. Time to put on my signed and match-worn Álvaro Recoba pants until we win again. 

Antoine Griezmann


20th February 2019

Okay, calma. Jose and Diego (the two Gs, or ‘my Gs’) scored against Juve, we’re going to boss the Champions League, I’m feeling a lot better about this now. 

Suarez keeps texting me to complain about Philippe Coutinho lately – ‘Ohhh he takes loads of stupid shots so we don’t give him the ball now, and then he runs into the middle and gets in my and Leo’s way’ – but I told him exactly what I tell people about Filipe. You can’t trust people from a country who speak Portuguese when everyone around them speaks Spanish! 

He said I’ve given him a lot to think about, but I’m not sure he was convinced. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


12th March 2019

Ronaldo knocked us out AGAIN? Screw this stupid club. 


27th March 2019

Lucas signed for Bayern today. Absolutely no flair – he let them announce it themselves with some written statement on their website. I bet he doesn’t even have a documentary filmmaker’s phone number. 


He had made things a bit awkward for me now though. He’s off, Juanfran’s off, Diego’s stopped speaking to me (again, the good one, not the one who only eats raw meat and—wait, that’s both of them. I mean not the one who looks like his face was carved out of the side of Cerro Catedral—-that’s both of them too. The one who doesn’t flinch at Antonio Conte’s name! That’s the one) and he’s always with Jose, so I can’t talk to him either. 

I’m starting to feel a little bit alone here. I’m spending most of my time in my room videoing new celebrations to send to my new pal Luis. He says he’s really worried about the chance of playing Liverpool in the Champions League because Coutinho is – and I quote – ‘about as constitutionally strong as a wet sheet of tissue’. I’m sure they’ll be fine. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


6th April 2019

Fake Spaniard got sent off against Barça today. Hate this place. 

Can’t even summon the energy to ring the Uruguay citizenship office. I’ll give them a buzz next week. 


14th May 2019

Alright. It’s time. Diego’s abandoning me, Luis is begging me to come and replace ‘that tiny idiot waste of air’, Juanfran’s gone, Lucas has gone, I’ve had it. I’m done. I haven’t showered in five days and my hair looks like I just came off the island off Castaway (love Tom Hanks), but I can’t take it any more.

Apparently everyone’s ‘at Cannes’ and ‘too busy’. France ruins everything again. Get my tripod. 

I’ve made my Decision. 

p.s. Still waiting to hear from Uruguay citizenship office. Will chase again tomorrow.


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Sergio Aguero Backs Lionel Messi for Ballon d’Or as He Clears Up False Champions League Quote

?Manchester City star Sergio Aguero has revealed Lionel Messi as his personal pick for the Ballon d’Or ‘as long as he keeps playing’, as he rejected a previous quote that appeared to suggest that this year’s winner should come from either Liverpool or Tottenham. 

The 30-year-old striker, who picked up his second consecutive Premier League title last weekend, was reported to have backed a Champions League finalist for football’s top individual prize in 2019, with several outlets reporting Aguero’s supposed words as either an endorsement of a Liverpool or Spurs player or a snub to Lionel Messi.

The City striker was quoted in various places as saying: “I think that to win the Ballon d’Or [you] have to be in the Champions League [final] no matter what.”

However, Aguero has since distanced himself from that apparently falsified quote, instead taking to Twitter to back his compatriot Messi.

“I do not like having to go out and clarify but when words are attributed to me that I never said, I have to do it,” Aguero wrote.

“To be clear, and I always answered the same, while Messi continues to play, and especially how he has played this season, he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.” 

While both Messi and Ronaldo missed out last year, a Champions League winner has taken home the award for each of the last five years. Ronaldo (x3), Messi and most recently Luka Modric all received the honour off the back of their side being victorious in Europe’s premier club competition.

If playing in the final of the club game’s biggest competition does have a major impact on the Ballon d’Or (which is voted for by international journalists) this year, the most likely candidate for the 2019 award could be one of Liverpool trio Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Virgil Van Dijk

Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen would also be considered potential winners of the prestigious individual trophy.

Aguero’s side were eliminated from the competition by Spurs at the quarter-final stage and, despite winning the Premier League four times in the last eight seasons, the Citizens have never been beyond the semi-final stage of the Champions League.

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Antoine Griezmann: Twitter Reacts as Star Announces Decision to Leave Atletico Madrid

?All good things must come to an end. But not only good things, for insufferably long transfer sagas too eventually have a finale. And unlike Game of Thrones this one was wrapped up with minimal plot holes, bloodshed and in just two minutes. 

Antoine Griezmann has released La Decisión 2: Electric Boogaloo revealing his intention to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, with Barcelona, the Ross to his Rachel, now waiting at the airport with €120m in a envelope ready to whisk him off into the sunset…I can’t remember how Friends finished, I’ll be honest.

Anyway, it’s done. It’s all done. Except it isn’t because Griezy Rider still needs to actually sign da ting with Barcelona and God knows how long that will take, but it’s basically done. Now if Hazard and Pogba can just go to Real Madrid and Nicolas Gaitan can join Man Utd (that still a thing?) we’ll have wrapped up the most annoying transfer loose ends before the Nations League gets here.

Here’s what Football Twitter said about ?Griezmann doing a Griezmann.


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Never been shy of a bold look has Antoine…


Spare a thought for the forgotten heroes of football…

Stuff the analytical stuff Ryan. Look at his hair! Also, he’s 28 until he’s 29…

??Ok, if we must talk about real stuff…


??

??A notable omission from the announcement… 

To sum up…??

??

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Antoine Griezmann Reveals Decision to Leave Atletico Madrid After ‘Five Incredible Years’

?Antoine Griezmann has officially announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, with his long predicted move to Barcelona now imminent.

The World Cup winner has been linked with Barça for over a year and was expected to sign for the Spanish champions last summer, before the transfer saga culminated in a remarkable U-turn, with the player announcing his decision to stay at Atletico in the now infamous televised documentary ‘La Decisión’.

However, one year on and it looks like ?Barcelona have finally got their man, with ?Marca revealing on Tuesday that Griezmann had informed the club and his teammates of his decision to leave, before the player himself released a video statement posted on Atleti’s website and social media channels thanking the club for ‘five incredible years’.


In the short statement, Griezmann confirmed the details of Marca’s report that he had met with club president Miguel Angel Gil Martin and manager Diego Simeone, before reflecting on the success of his time in Madrid, but stopped short of referencing Barcelona.

It seems the payment of the contractual buyout clause of €200m (dropping to €120m on 1 July) is now all that stands between Barcelona sealing the deal, with an official announcement expected soon.

La Blaugrana had supposedly cooled their interest in Griezmann after being snubbed rather embarrassingly last year, but ?an apology from the striker and the all-important need to revamp the squad after another humiliating Champions League this season looks likely to trump all previous concerns over the transfer.

Antoine Griezmann

After last year’s saga, Griezmann signed a bumper new contract with Atleti (containing the release clause) while previous reports suggest he will even take a pay cut to join Barcelona, with the? terms of his potential deal reported last week.

As much as Barcelona want to refresh their squad this summer, ?Atletico Madrid look set for an enforced spree in the transfer market with first team stars Lucas Hernandez, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis and now Griezmann all leaving. Big question marks also remain over the futures of Manchester City-linked Rodri and veteran striker Diego Costa.

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Sergio Busquets Suggests Anfield Collapse Was the Low Point of His Barcelona Career

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has said his side’s Champions League semi-final second leg implosion at Anfield has had a lasting effect on the Barcelona squad, adding that it is the lowest ebb of his career so far. 

Barca went to Liverpool leading 3-0 from the first leg, and looked almost assured of a place in the final in Madrid. Having thrown a 4-1 lead against Roma in the quarter-finals last year, however, there were some nerves among the visiting camp, and their worst fears were realised. 

They were taken apart by ?the Reds, who now advance to face ?Tottenham Hotspur in the final, with four unanswered goals enough to leave Busquets and his side in a state of disarray. 


Speaking after Barça’s routine 2-0 victory over Getafe, the midfielder said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo: “We knew we had to play, but it was really difficult for everyone,

“We wanted to be at 100% but it was a struggle because of what happened [at Liverpool]. Hopefully the wounds which the club, the fans and the players have will heal.

“We’re all hurting. I’ve lost titles, games, but I have never been dealt a blow like this. It’s really difficult for everyone, even though it forms part of the game.”

Though they have no European honours remaining to contest, Ernesto Valvere’s side have ?La Liga sewn up, and can add the Copa del Rey to their burgeoning trophy cabinet if they overcome Valencia later this month.

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“We will come out of it together. We’ve got the cup final to come,” Busquets resolutely added, via ESPN.

“The challenge ahead isn’t a small one, either. Winning a double is no small thing but the wound from Liverpool is deep.

“It’s not the moment to single people out or look for solutions. We have to stick together. We have done big things together and now we must focus on ending the season in the best way possible.”

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Ernesto Valverde Gives Curt Answer When Asked if He’s Considered Quitting Barcelona After Getafe Win

?Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has revealed he has not considered resigning following his side’s 2-0 victory over Getafe in their last home game of the season on Sunday.

Barca battled past a stubborn Getafe side on Sunday afternoon to record the 15th home victory of their 2018/19 La Liga campaign. However, the win was not enough to gloss over what has been a very disappointing and embarrassing week for Valverde and his players.

In the wake of ?Barcelona’s ?Champions League elimination following a 4-0 loss to ?Liverpool at Anfield, question marks have been raised over Valverde’s managerial capability in Europe’s elite competition. 

Speaking after the match, the Spaniard was asked whether he had considered walking away at the end of the season. He responded, as quoted by ?Sport: “Well, no.

“For us it was fundamental to win, to get rid of the ghosts in our head and take a step forward. In the start it was hard for us because we didn’t have our minds straight and they came to put salt in the wound, but later we got on top of it.”

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Philippe Coutinho and other players were whistled during Sunday’s clash but Valverde admitted he expected the reaction after their dismal Champions League exit.

He added: “I expected that reaction. At first they whistled us a little, but, of course they would. When we’ve have a defeat like we’ve had, they have to let you know it. We knew they we would be with us if we showed up. We are grateful and happy (for their support).”

Arturo Vidal

Despite another successful domestic campaign, sections of Barcelona’s fan base have been unhappy with some of Valverde’s team selections, and the style of football he employs at Camp Nou. 

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Barcelona Fear Liverpool Could Use Virgil van Dijk to Tempt Matthijs de Ligt to Move to Anfield

?Barcelona are apparently concerned that Liverpool could use the allure of playing alongside Virgil van Dijk to sign Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt ahead of them.

The Dutchman was widely expected to join Barcelona this summer, but talk of an imminent deal has slowed down amid concerns over the cost of any potential deal for the 19-year-old.

Matthijs de Ligt,Fernando Llorente

With De Ligt’s future now uncertain, ?Mundo Deportivo (who have near daily ‘updates’ on the ongoing saga) claim that ?Barcelona fear they could miss out on the youngster to ?Liverpool, who can offer him the chance to play alongside international teammate Van Dijk.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are one of many to be linked with De Ligt, and the defender has also hinted at a possible move to Anfield after previously admitting that playing alongside Van Dijk at club level would be great for his development.

He specifically stated that a move to Liverpool ‘could happen’, sending the Anfield faithful into a frenzy.

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Barcelona want to make sure they win the race for his signature, but are aware that the likes of Liverpool, ?Bayern Munich and ?Manchester United are all keen on the Dutchman. 

As a result, according to a separate report from ?Mundo Deportivo, the Blaugrana have stepped up their pursuit of De Ligt.

They had attempted to act with caution as they did not want to distract either Ajax or De Ligt from their ?Champions League journey but, with Erik ten Hag’s side now out of the competition, Barcelona are not prepared to move slowly anymore.

Some of the top executives at Camp Nou flew to Amsterdam to meet with representatives of both Ajax and De Ligt to discover how much the deal would cost, and they are thought to have been quoted a fee of around €75m, similar to that paid for teammate Frenkie de Jong in January.

The relationship between the two clubs is said to be superb as a result of Barcelona’s respectful conduct throughout the season, and they are now nearing the green light to pursue this deal.

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Barcelona 2-0 Getafe: Report, Ratings & Reaction as La Blaugrana Ease Past Azulones

On Sunday afternoon Barcelona put some of the pain of last week’s Champions League exit behind them, with an uninspiring but efficient victory against a stubborn Getafe side. 

Undoubtedly looking to capitalise on Barcelona’s post Champions League exit slump, Getafe made a lively start to the contest. Content to let Barcelona have much of the ball – they counter attacked with pace and aggression and were nearly rewarded with an early goal, when striker Molina launched his effort over the crossbar. 

When Barcelona eventually broke the deadlock, it was through a well executed set piece rather than a polished series of passes. Gerard Pique’s flicked header was parried by Getafe’s keeper, but the Spaniard’s front post run had dragged the Azulones’ defenders out of position, leaving Arturo Vidal free to poke home the opening goal of the game. 


Barcelona saw out the rest of the match without any major scares, dominating possession and grabbing a late goal after a clever one-two on the edge of the area between Lionel Messi and Sergio, which resulted in a Djene Dakonam own goal.       

Check out 90min’s breakdown of the game below.


Barcelona

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Key Talking Point

In an alternate reality where Ousmane Dembele put away his late first leg chance against Liverpool, and Roberto didn’t unwisely turn his back on a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner, Barcelona would have entered the fixture against Getafe in a buoyant mood having already wrapped up another La Liga title and with a Champions League final to look forward to. 

However, the embarrassment of having surrendered such an imposing lead in such abysmal fashion has put a major dampener on what the Barca faithful had been hoping would be a historic season.

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Ernesto Valverde made two changes to the midweek side, with Mar-Andre ter Stegen making way for Jasper Cillessen in goal, and Samuel Umtiti getting a rare start.

Whilst Barcelona managed to put Tuesday’s result behind them and improved on another impressive domestic campaign, after watching their bitter rivals lifting Europe’s biggest prize for the last three years there is still a palpable sense of discontent around Camp Nou.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Cillessen (6); Alba (6), Pique (8), Umtiti (6), S. Roberto (6); Malcom (6), Sergio (7), Vidal (6), Rakitic (6), Coutinho (6); Messi (6). 

Substitutes: Ter Stegen (N/A), Semedo (6), Todibo (N/A), Lenglet (N/A), Alena (6), R. Puig (N/A), A. Ruiz (6).


STAR MAN – Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique,Lionel Messi

After bearing the brunt of the criticism for Barcelona’s lacklustre defending on Tuesday night, Pique produced a commanding and confident performance, where he featured just as much in attack as he did in defence.

The defender provided the assist for the opening goal, as well as teeing up Malcom for a chance he somehow failed to convert in the second half, after a clever dinked ball from Philippe Coutinho. 


Getafe

Key Talking Point

Getafe entered the fixture sitting in fourth position and in possession of a Champions League spot, after a sensational campaign that has seen them improve on last season’s eighth place finish to brush shoulders with some of La Liga’s wealthiest and largest clubs.

Malcom

Despite looking lively on the counter attack, particularly early on, Getafe failed to ever gain a proper foothold in the game and did not manage to register a shot on target in the 90 minutes. 

With Valencia picking up a 3-1 victory against Alaves, Getafe have dropped down to fifth place and will need results to go their way next week to ensure they are playing Champions League football next season. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Soria (7); Olivera (6), Cabrera (5), Ortega (6), Suarez (6); Shibasaki (5), Arambarri (6), Masimovic (5), Foulquier (5); Angel (6), Molina (7).

Substitutes: Chichizola (N/A); Portillo (6), S. Alonso (5), Pepe (N/A), Flamini (N/A), Miquel (N/A), Duro (N/A). 


STAR MAN – Jorge Molina

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The veteran striker was one of Getafe’s few consistent threats throughout the game, and was unfortunate not to grab what would have been an equaliser when his header struck the post late on. 

Although he failed to convert the chances he had, he was tireless in his pursuit to manufacture opportunities for the entire 90 minutes. 


Looking Ahead

Barcelona’s final La Liga game of the season will be an away trip to Eibar, which will be followed by a Copa del Rey final against Valencia. Both sides will be aiming to finish their seasons on a high after disappointing European cup exits at the hands of Arsenal and Liverpool respectively. 

Getafe will welcome Villarreal  to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez knowing that they will have to win and outscore Valencia in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League. 

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La Liga Team News: Barcelona vs Getafe – Confirmed Barça Lineup

?Barcelona have lost just two of their 27 LaLiga games against Getafe (W19 D6), fewer than against any other side they’ve faced that many times in the competition.

At home, Barcelona are unbeaten in their 13 LaLiga matches against Getafe (W9 D4), keeping a clean sheet in seven of them, and conceding more than once on just one occasion (2-2 in May 2014).

Barcelona have scored at least one goal in each of their last 26 league games at home (W21 D4 L1) – the last time they failed to score in a LaLiga home game was against Getafe in this fixture last season.

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 11 LaLiga home games (W10 D1), winning the last six in a row. They’ve never won seven consecutive league games at Camp Nou under Ernesto Valverde.

Getafe have only lost one of their last seven league games (W3 D3), in their last away game in the top-flight (1-2 vs Real Sociedad at Anoeta).

Only Real Betis (1) have scored fewer headed goals than Getafe in LaLiga this season (3, two of them scored by Leandro Cabrera).

FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been involved in 16 goals in 10 appearances at Camp Nou against Getafe in LaLiga (seven goals and nine assists).

No player from the current Getafe squad has ever scored against Barcelona in LaLiga.

Both Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata have scored 14 goals for Getafe in LaLiga this season – the only player to reach 15+ goals in a single top-flight season for the club was Roberto Soldado in 2009-10 (16 goals).

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has won 14 of his 18 LaLiga matches against Getafe (D1 L3), losing three of his first four games against them in the competition, two for Athletic and one for Espanyol. 

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Andre Gomes on the Verge of Completing €30m Switch to Tottenham Hotspur

?On-loan Everton midfielder Andre Gomes is close to sealing a 30m transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.

Parent club Barcelona are looking to offload the Portuguese star having shipped him out to Goodison Park for the 2018/19 campaign. He has sparkled since joining the Toffees, orchestrating play and showcasing a competitive edge. The Merseysiders were looking to engineer a permanent move for Gomes, but they now look set to miss out to Spurs in the race for his signature.

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Spanish outlet ?Sport report that the 25-year-old’s representatives have an agreement in place with ?Tottenham that the north London outfit will table an offer of €30m to ?Barça, with his agents meeting club officials last week.

The player is thought to be keen on a switch to the ?Champions League finalists, with Spanish news outlet ?ABC reporting that Spurs are confident of landing their man in the upcoming transfer window.

It would prove a sizeable blow for ?Everton after Gomes’ superb form in blue this term. He has made 26 ?Premier League appearances this year, gradually improving his reputation as the season has unfolded.

Though he has amassed just one goal and an assist this season, the Benfica youth product has forced himself into coach Marco Silva’s starting XI with his stellar displays in the centre of the park for the Toffees.

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He is not the only Barcelona player being linked with a move to Mauricio Pochettino’s team, however. Out-of-favour forward Malcom is being monitored by the Lilywhites, though negotiations over a deal for the Brazilian are yet to get off the ground.

It is a significant improvement on Spurs’ activity in the previous two windows, with the club having failed to bring in any new personnel over the last 12 months, a decision that has seen the squad pushed to its limit this.

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