Daniel Levy Tottenham transfer masterclass gifts Ange Postecoglou his own Michael Olise

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou
-Credit: (Image: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Tottenham have used the Championship better than most in recent seasons. They have become one of the best developers of talent in the country and often use the second tier as a source of bringing in players.

Unlike many of the leagues across Europe in which players can often struggle to adapt to English football or the rise in standards, the Championship is a regular fountain of opportunities for clubs. Looking through the country's national side shows this enough.

Of the 26 players selected by Gareth Southgate for Euro 2024, only Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kobbie Mainoo, Cole Palmer, Phil Foden, and Bukayo Saka haven't played for an EFL club at some stage of their career. They have, instead, come through directly from Premier League academies. The grounding of others throughout the pyramid is deeply impressive though.

Tottenham themselves have one of the strongest youth setups in the country, but more than ever they continue to scour and recruit from the Championship. Although it can be marketed as less glamorous, the grounding that most players have is invaluable.

It is telling that now, after signing Leeds United academy gem Archie Gray, Spurs have picked off four of the last 10 winners of an EFL/Championship Young Player of the Season. The list is impressive.

Dele in 2015 for his time at MK Dons - a season in which Tottenham beat the competition to pick him up over the winter before loaning back - Ryan Sessegnon taking things by storm at Fulham three years later, and then two of the past three seasons with Brennan Johnson's promotion securing 2022 followed by Gray.

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This is a stellar cast of names even if the success hasn't been sustained. For a period Dele was the best young player - perhaps the best player - in the Premier League. He has reached a World Cup semi-final, a Champions League final, and exploded to a peak that very few have. Sessegnon has not been as able to hit those heights, but there is little doubting the ability he has.

Johnson had a hit-and-miss first year at Spurs but has shown enough signs to suggest that even £45million is not too much to have paid for him. Whilst Gray is one of the very top prospects around. If this list of players isn't enough then perhaps the others that Spurs haven't managed to sign tells a better story.

Ollie Watkins, Jude Bellingham, Michael Olise, and Max Aarons are among the other winners. Alex Scott of Bournemouth now is another. There is some way for a few of these to go to life up to the heights of Bellingham and Olise, or even Watkins, but it's good company to be in.

Olise and Bellingham, surely, would be starting players for Tottenham. Watkins would likely be as well. This is the level of the players that can be picked up below the surface. It is noticeable, too, that even the four they have signed here is not the extent to the interest.

Aarons was a target previously, so was Scott. Gray arriving is no fluke and represents a commitment to a blueprint that has largely brought success so far for the club. Djed Spence from Middlesbrough after his loan at Forest has not worked out but at the time the money spent on him looked wise.

Joe Rodon at Swansea has been of use in and out of the senior side before being used in the Gray deal too. He is another EFL graduate.

Tottenham's plans with Gray now wait to be seen, but if he can live up to the expectations and the levels of some of those going before him then Ange Postecoglou will be in for a treat.

Listen to the latest episode of Gold & Guest Talk Tottenham featuring lots of chat on Archie Gray by clicking here! In depth Spurs chat on your preferred podcast platform.

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