For the second season running, Mauricio Pochettino's vibrant young Tottenham Hotspur side challenged for the Premier League crown last campaign – with all signs indicating the only way was up.
A barren summer has curtailed much of that optimism, however. On the day when the new season officially begins, Spurs are yet to add a single player to their squad – during a summer where Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all broken their record transfer fee, with Manchester United's spending already close to £150m (€165.6m).
Tottenham possess one of the most sought-after young squads in the Premier League and while the club have been adamant none of their prized young talents will be leaving – having rejected several bids from United for Eric Dier – that might not be enough to maintain a title challenge.
The club have also cashed in on Kyle Walker, squeezing £50m out of Manchester City for the England international. Not a penny of that money has been spent as of yet. Josh Onomah, another of the Spurs production line who was on the fringes of the first-team last season has joined Aston Villa on loan. For the most part, Spurs have kept the same squad as last season. But with Champions League obligations to contend with, that is what's worrying people.
Tottenham's 2016-17 campaign was also awash in nostalgia as the club bid farewell to White Hart Lane. This term, they will call Wembley home, where they failed to win four of the five fixtures held there in the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup last term. It's another hurdle for the club to overcome.
Premier League: 2<sup>nd
FA Cup: semi-finals
EFL Cup: Fourth Round
Champions League: Group stage
Europa League: round of 32
Top scorer: 29
Manager – Mauricio Pochettino
Pochettino has cheerfully toed the party line when quizzed about Tottenham's failure to add to their squad this summer. But the Argentine did observe following a heavy friendly defeat to Manchester City that his side were a "little behind", adding the arrival of big name players would provide the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane with the perfect motivation to match last season's exploits.
The manager is more than aware the club could run into problems sooner or later if they are unable to win a trophy, something they have failed to do so since lifting the League Cup in 2008.
Much of Tottenham's success has come down to the harmony the Argentine has instilled in his squad. Ensuring that remains this season will be one of his biggest asks.
Key player – Harry Kane
Harry Kane again recorded phenomenal goal-scoring stats last season, hitting 29 in 30 league appearances, providing seven assists to boot. It's all the more impressive given the two separate periods he sat on the sidelines for recovering from ankle ligament injuries. While Heung-min Son and Dele Alli both contributed 20+ goals last season to ease the strain when he was out injured, Tottenham are a very different animal when Kane is on the pitch. With no real cover expected to be brought in, Kane remains his side's most important player.
The club have dismissed the worst fears many of their fans would have shared at the beginning of the summer – a blossoming squad being dismantled by the lure of greater financial rewards elsewhere. With the exception of Walker and now Danny Rose, they look set to avoid that. But with their title rivals strengthening so significantly, hopes of a title challenge have been fading.
IBT prediction – 5<sup>th
Standing still in the transfer market is never a good idea. When your immediate rivals are comfortably breaking the nine-figure mark while you are doing that, it borders on the irresponsible.