As happens every summer, we've seen massive movement in the transfer market from the English Premier League's best clubs as they look for that extra edge over their rivals.
Title-winners Chelsea bought striker Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid to add an extra edge to their attack, and Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco to add even more steel to an already steely midfield. Manchester United added one of the best strikers in the world in Romelu Lukaku. Manchester City completely revamped their defense. Even the typically tight-pocketed Arsenal broke its record transfer fee to sign striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Standing alone among the elite of the league with a protective hand in their pocket is Tottenham Hotspur. The club hasn't made a single marquee signing this summer, and at this juncture, it doesn't seem likely it will do so before the window closes on Aug. 31.
The lack of movement in the transfer market by Spurs has raised eyebrows among fans and pundits. Tottenham finished second last season. With big investments made by clubs around them, a better finish seems highly unlikely without some investment of its own. But it's not just fans talking about Tottenham's lack of spending now. Players are also starting to speak up.
In an interview with the UK Sun, leftback Danny Rose spoke out critically on the lack of major transfers this summer.
"I am not saying buy ten players, I'd love to see two or three -- and not players you have to Google and say, 'Who's that?' I mean well-known players. ...
"I've seen a couple of players previously saying, 'We don't need a top signing or signings'. But I am sorry, I am not singing off the same hymn-sheet on that one.
"I think we do need one or two top signings to strengthen the squad. I'm just not buying the idea that we don't need anyone."
He also made comments about he and his Spurs teammates receiving a pay bump for their stellar performances the last few seasons.
"If I get to levels I reached last season -- and this goes out to everybody -- I will make sure I get what I am worth. I don't know how much longer I might have at this level. I'm not going to be stupid enough not to try and get the most out of it -- medals, trophies and salary."
The decision not to bring in any star players this summer is in line with the philosophy practiced by club chairman Daniel Levy and manager Mauricio Pochettino over the past few seasons. Although Spurs have typically been more active in the window than they are this year, their success recently is the result of talent developed by the club -- Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier -- not talent the club spent wads of cash on. Spurs have gotten close to the mountaintop without breaking the bank.
With team chemistry at what should be an all-time high, and those young talents more experienced than they've ever been, the club is wagering that they can leave the squad untouched and get the same or better results. Is that a fiscally responsible approach that will help the club compete for titles in perpetuity, instead of this being a one-off window of success? Or is the club is squandering that window by not bolstering the squad?
It must be said that there is an inherent contradiction to the statements Rose made about wanting new signings and wanting a raise. The club has reached the heights it has by developing talent and paying it less than it's worth. Kane, the best striker in the league, is the highest-earner on the team, making a reported £100,000 a week. That's a pittance compared to the top players at Manchester United or City, many of whom earn more than £250,000 a week.
If Spurs started buying players you don't have to Google, as Rose put it, the entire wage structure could fly out of wack. Any major signing would likely command £100,000 a week or more. What's Dele Alli -- already one of the best players in England and making just a reported £50,000 a week -- to think when a player not as good or as popular as he is is making more money? He'll probably think it's time for Spurs to pay up or he'll move on.
Simply because of where Spurs are in the class system of European soccer, their top players will always be rumored to move to bigger clubs that pay more money. While bringing in some expensive signing could help, it's also shooting yourself in the foot with regard to future contract negotiations with the already established stars. They can't price themselves out of the running before the negotiations begin.
It's impossible to transition from a club reliant upon developing players to a club reliant upon big signings in the span of a year, or even a few years. A few major transfers could force an exodus of the most-talented homegrown players at the end of the season. With that in mind, the only way forward is to keep developing new stars to supplement the current stars you've developed over the last few years.
With a move to a new stadium, and eventual money from selling some of those stars like Kane, Dier, or Alli -- sorry, Spurs fans, but it's coming one day -- maybe they'll get to a point when they can spend with the biggest and best in the next half-decade or so. But that time isn't now.
And if this philosophy of youth development and limited investment in the transfer window has worked, who's to say it can't keep working? Even though Spurs risks not keeping up with the Joneses in regards to new talent this year, there is something to be said for playing without a learning curve.
The players at Tottenham know each other. They have chemistry and work brilliantly as a unit in Pochettino's high-pressure system. There will be no adjustment period. Everyone knows how close they were the past two years, and everyone knows roughly how much better they have to be to take the next step and actually win a title.
The line between their youth development roots and big spending ambitions will be a tight one to walk, but if Spurs can do it, they'll be really good for quite a long time. If they can't, these past two seasons might have just been a flash in the pan.
Cy Brown writes about soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.