And as Mauricio Pochettino’s stars prepare to kick off their Premier League season against Newcastle on Sunday, Ferdinand – who played for both clubs – reckons Rafa Benitez has more to worry about than his Argentinian rival, with Toon fans desperate for new faces to help them survive in the Premier League bear-pit.
While the Premier League’s big guns have been spending for fun since last season, Spurs’ summer has been overshadowed by radio silence on new arrivals at White Hart Lane.
It’s been largely the same on Tyneside, with former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Benitez growing more frustrated with owner Mike Ashley and a lack of transfer market activity.
But it’s Tottenham’s failure to strengthen that has been the big shock after finishing second to Chelsea in May.
And an eve-of-season outburst by £65,000-a-week England left-back Danny Rose – claiming he and other leading Spurs stars believe they should be paid more – has only added to the gloom.
Despite the unrest, Ferdinand isn’t buying into the doomsday scenario.
“Everyone is going on about Spurs not signing anyone, but Daniel Levy is notorious for doing his business in the last week of the window,” he says. “So I’m sure Spurs will bring someone in – they look to be getting Davinson Sanchez from Ajax – but if you look at the first team, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?
“We are guilty in this country at times of doing that. Spurs are in a strong position because of the team they’ve got. They don’t need to bring someone in just for the sake of it.
“New signings must add to what they’ve already got.”
Ferdinand, who had a six-year spell at Spurs after leaving Newcastle and is now director of football at London neighbours Queens Park Rangers, wasn’t impressed with Tottenham’s business last summer.
But he reckons if Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen click again they’ll be challengers just like the last campaign.
“If you look at the players they brought in last season, like Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko, you have to ask yourself what impact did they have?,” he says.
“There wouldn’t be too many who really impacted the side last season. It was the boys who were already there who did it.
“There is a team there and it is hard to improve it. I understand everyone saying they need to bring in another striker alongside Harry Kane, but Son Heung-min scored 20-odd goals last season.
“If you look at the rest of the team, they let Kyle Walker go, but that was good business. Kieran Trippier came in at the back end of last season and Walker was struggling to get back in.
“Spurs in the past have been notorious for selling. On this occasion they were under no pressure to sell, but did so because it was a good deal.”
While Spurs need silverware, for newly-promoted Newcastle the immediate ambition is more basic – survival.
Benitez has added five players, including Jacob Murphy, Florian Lejeune, Javier Manquillo and Christian Atsu, but not the headline signing fans wanted.
Ferdinand says: “Newcastle are a team who’ve come up from the Championship and their supporters and manager are looking for them to spend money for the Premier League, so I can understand Rafa’s frustration.
“You need that bit of quality in the Premier League but Rafa will have them well-drilled and organised. Everyone will know their job.
“It won’t be an easy ride for Tottenham.
“I know what that stadium can be like on the first day of the season. I’m sure it will be jumping, and now they are back in the Premier League as well so I can imagine what the place will be like.”
With a place in his heart for both clubs, Ferdinand admits if Spurs do lose, the one club he could accept beating them is Newcastle, saying: “It’s not a case of divided loyalties. I just want to see both clubs do well.”
* Les Ferdinand was speaking at a Football Writers’ Association event for the London Fire Relief Fund, organised by the British Red Cross, in order to provide support for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Click here to find out more.
* Pick up the Mirror on Sunday and Monday for your bumper football pullout featuring all of the action and all of the goals!
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