Now that the dust has settled on another Premier League season, it's time to gauge Spurs' achievement in finishing where they did. Fourth spot would normally guarantee Champions League football, but that was scuppered by Chelsea's win in Munich and by a comedy performance in goal by West Brom's keeper in their final game against that other team from North London. How ironic that Marton Fulop was once on Spurs' books and how telling that he never made an appearance for the club.
The finger must also point, however, at Harry Redknapp and his lack of ambition in the penultimate game of the season. Although they had been reduced to ten men, Redknapp's team were in the ascendancy against a dire Aston Villa side. Yet rather than pushing on for all three points, the manager settled for one. As it turned out, Spurs could have lost that match and subsequent results would have meant that they still finished fourth in any case.
All of that is now water under the bridge but the implications are still being felt. Even before it became apparent that Spurs had missed out on the Champions League, Eden Hazard's destination was no longer going to be White Hart Lane. It is especially galling that he plumped for the winners of that competition rather than either of the Manchester clubs. At least the signing of the Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen - a wonderfully versatile player who performs equally well at left-back or centre-back - seemed like a sure thing. Yet worryingly the transfer process seems to be dragging, despite Vertonghen's evident desire to join the club.
Equally worrying, of course, is the prospect of players leaving in the summer - and that's not a reference to Swansea's reported interest in Giovani Dos Santos. If the Mexican's move - or that of Heurhelo Gomes to QPR - did actually come to pass, it's unlikely many Spurs' supporters would suffer any sleepless nights as a result. The possible departure of two other players is what the fans fear most.
Eden Hazard's move to Stamford Bridge means that it is now unlikely that Chelsea will come calling for Luka Modric. That, however, simply leaves the door open for Manchester Utd. Sir Alex Ferguson is a long-time admirer of the Croatian playmaker. And no wonder, since he looks like exactly the sort of player the Utd. midfield is lacking. Modric's own comments are hardly encouraging:
"I will decide about my future after the Euros. I will make the decision where to continue my career. I'm ready for the big tests."
The other Spurs player coveted by the major clubs - with Barcelona reputedly leading the way in this instance - is Gareth Bale. If the Spanish giants were willing to pay the reported asking price of £36 million, it might not be a bad bit of business. Bale is undoubtedly a fantastic player on his day, but unfortunately those days sometimes have a significant interval between them. With Defoe also unsettled, with Nelsen and Saha being released, and with Ledley King seemingly about to end his playing career, £36 million would go a long way towards the rebuilding job that will now need to be done over the summer.