Tottenham are in a privileged position. The club are the envy of the land, boasting prodigious young talents like Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen on the pitch, and the tactically-gifted Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout.
The club sit second in the Premier League table, just four points behind leaders Chelsea, and are gearing up for an FA Cup semi-final against the same opposition. They could, conceivably, end the season as double winners, heading into the 2017-18 season as champions on two fronts.
This, in isolation, is remarkable. Over the past five years Spurs have a net spend of around £1 million which pales in comparison to Manchester City - £402.5m – and Manchester United - £386.65m. Spurs sit six points clear of Pep Guardiola’s men and 11 clear of Jose Mourinho’s.
Spurs also have an average age of 25, and will surely only get better as seasons come and go. But here is the rub: Spurs must win a trophy soon if they are to truly bottle this lightning.
Alli has all the tools to be world class, while Kane has proven that he is one of the best forwards in all of Europe in the past two seasons. Alderweireld and Lloris form the backbone of the best defence in the Premier League.
There is so much to unpack here. Spurs have repeatedly had a goal difference below zero, yet now boast 46 goals for, ahead of every other club in the league. They have routinely had star players, but have been forced to sell them on. Now, however, they are committing their futures. It will matter little, however, if Spurs again fall short.
They sit so close to the pinnacle, they are fingertips away, but what will the potentially world class squad think if they keep falling short? A defeat in the FA Cup semi final would not be too damaging. Spurs appear to be cursed at Wembley and, if this season’s performances at the national stadium are anything to go by, Chelsea should be odds-on favourites.
But a collapse of the magnitude of last season would be devastating. Last year Spurs failed to win any of their final four matches to hand the title to Leicester City and finish third in what had been a two-horse race. A repeat would surely send ructions through a squad that appears primed to repeatedly challenge at the top table of English football.
The facts are simple: Alli, Kane, Alderweireld, Lloris and Eriksen – along with many others – are too good to forever be bridesmaids. They deserve their big days, the evenings when they will lift trophies and drape medals around their necks.
This Spurs team is exciting but it could be ripped apart by vultures if Pochettino cannot take his team over the line.
Alli would be a target for any club able to pay the ungodly sum it would surely take to prise him away, as would Kane, while Lloris has repeatedly flirted with the prospect of departing. Alderweireld is the finest defender in England and would be coveted by a clutch of clubs, as would the silky Eriksen, while Eric Dier – another key cog – has been linked with a £40m move to Manchester United and City reportedly want Danny Rose.
It is not hard to see why so many clubs are drawing up fantasy shopping lists comprising Spurs players, as they have been so very good this season that the club’s form has been impossible to ignore.
Winning a trophy, though, would give Spurs more bargaining power. With a new stadium to move into, the club cannot expect to pay big money for players this summer. They will invest, surely, but they must be smart about it, and the key part of their transfer strategy will surely be keeping the nucleus of this team together.
Many Spurs fans have not known times like these. Harry Redknapp famously said, after he guided the club to a fifth-placed finish, that it would not get better. Now Tottenham are the finest football team in the country.
They need the medals and trinkets to prove it, though, or they risk being forgotten, their best players sailing off into the sunset to seek gold elsewhere. Their future is in their own hands; Spurs fans must hope they do not bottle it again.