Tottenham’s Magnificent 7 – What happened to the players signed with Bale money

The last of Tottenham’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ signings looks set to finally depart as Erik Lamela closes in on a transfer to Sevilla, with the La Liga side’s 20-year-old winger Bryan Gil moving the other way.

For those who cannot remember, these were the septet of players who were bought in the summer of 2013 after Spurs received a then-world record transfer fee of £85m from Real Madrid for the services of Gareth Bale.

The signings were supposed to usher in a bright new dawn at White Hart Lane, with BBC pundit Garth Crooks memorably saying at the time: “Spurs have sold Elvis and bought the Beatles.”

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In the end, however, The Long And Winding Road proved to be a largely unsuccessful one, and Spurs fans must have wished for A Little Less Conversation and a little more action from the majority of the additions.

Here is a look at how each of the signings fared…

Paulinho (£17m from Corinthians)

Paulinho was considered a huge flop at Tottenham

Brazilian midfielder Paulinho had received flattering comparisons with Frank Lampard before he was snapped up by Spurs in what many thought could be one of the shrewdest signings of the summer.

He got off to a positive start in North London too, winning the Man of the Match award in a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on his Premier League debut and scoring his first goal with a last-minute backheel winner in a victory against Cardiff the next month.

Unfortunately that was to be as good as it got, and most Spurs fans will remember Paulinho best either for moving out of the way of a Stewart Downing free-kick which found the bottom corner in a defeat to West Ham or for a laughably terrible outside-of-the-boot shot against Burnley which pathetically trickled wide.

He was sold to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015 before making an extraordinary return to European football to join Barcelona for €40m, much to the bemusement of Spurs fans.

Even more remarkably, he ended up being a key player at the Nou Camp for one season, helping the Catalan giants win La Liga and the Copa del Rey before returning to Guangzhou.

He was released in June, however, and is currently without a club.

Nacer Chadli (£7m from FC Twente)

The signing of winger Nacer Chadli for just £7m also looked like a smart bit of business for Spurs.

And the Belgian did have his moments of magic, scoring 25 goals in 119 appearances, including strikes against their bitter rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

But after suffering numerous injury issues Spurs decided the time was right to move Chadli on in 2016, when he joined West Bromwich Albion.

He went on to also appear for Monaco and Anderlecht and is currently at Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir, while he has also played a big part for the Belgium national side down the years, winning 66 caps.

Of the seven players signed, Chadli was undoubtedly one of the more successful ones, and will be remembered fondly by the majority of the Spurs faithful.

Roberto Soldado (£26m from Valencia)

Roberto Soldado scored just seven Premier League goals
Roberto Soldado scored just seven Premier League goals

Ahhh poor old Roberto Soldado (or ‘Bobby Soldier’ as he was known by Spurs fans).

It is easy to forget that before the emergence of Harry Kane Spurs had spent years desperately searching for a striker in the mould of former favourites Robbie Keane and Jermaine Defoe.

With the capture of the highly-rated Soldado, there were genuine hopes that they had finally found the 20-goal-a-season hitman they so desperately lacked.

Spoiler alert: they hadn’t.

Like Paulinho, Soldado started well, scoring four goals in his opening three games in all competitions (albeit two of them being penalties).

But as the goals dried up he cut an increasingly forlorn figure, and managed to find the net just seven times in two Premier League seasons, missing a number of clear-cut opportunities as his confidence completely deteriorated.

In the summer of 2015 Spurs decided to cut their losses, selling Soldado to Villarreal for £10m.

And after two seasons there and two more at Fenerbahce he enjoyed something of a renaissance at Granada, where he played a key role in taking the minnows to the Europa League quarter-finals last season.

Now 36, he has recently signed for another La Liga side in Levante.

Etienne Capoue (£9.3m from Toulouse)

Spurs narrowly beat Cardiff to the signing of defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue, who had been getting rave reviews for his showings in Ligue 1.

It had been hoped that Capoue would be able to add some much-needed steel and grit to the midfield, and his fellow countryman Hugo Lloris was delighted to be joined by the player.

Unfortunately, like so many of his fellow signings, Capoue was simply unable to show his very best at White Hart Lane, and never really managed to cement a regular place in Andre Villas-Boas’ starting line-up.

He made just 12 appearances in each of his two Premier League campaigns with Spurs before leaving to join Watford, where he was an important first-team player for six seasons before joining Villarreal in January.

Vlad Chiriches (£8.5m from Steaua Bucharest)

Vlad Chiriches did not make much of an impact
Vlad Chiriches did not make much of an impact

Surely the player on this list who would earn you a Pointless answer on the BBC show.

Not many would have heard of Romanian centre-back Vlad Chiriches when he was snapped up by Spurs.

And he did not exactly endear himself to fans when his agent Victor Becali said at the time: “If he has one or two good seasons at Tottenham, Chelsea will be willing to pay a large sum to buy Chiriches. Jose Mourinho says he has been aware of him since he was at Real Madrid.”

In the end the interest from Chelsea looked nothing more than an ambitious dream as Chiriches hardly set the world alight in the Premier League.

After being in and out of the team under Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, he did little to impress Mauricio Pochettino after a calamitous showing in a Europa League game against Besiktas, and not long afterwards he was sold to Napoli, where he spent four seasons before joining Sassuolo.

Erik Lamela (£25.8m from Roma)

Not many players split opinion quite as much as Erik Lamela.

On the one hand, he has shown moments of brilliance throughout his eight years at Spurs, and is a favourite amongst some supporters for his never-say-die attitude.

On the other hand, he is also capable of breathtaking recklessness, and has also suffered a number of injury issues which have frustratingly kept him on the sidelines.

If ever there was a match which summed up Lamela, you need to look no further back than the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in March.

The Argentinean opened the scoring with an outrageous ‘rabona’ effort which won the Goal of the Season competition.

But he then cost his team dear in the second-half with two clumsy yellow cards ultimately taking the shine off that initial wonderstrike.

Lamela now looks bound for Sevilla, and it feels as though the timing is right for both parties to move on.

Christian Eriksen (11m from Ajax)

Christian Eriksen was the only signing who achieved their full potential at Spurs
Christian Eriksen was the only signing who achieved their full potential at Spurs

Spurs’ final recruit of the summer was undoubtedly the one who made the biggest impression of the seven.

Attacking midfielder Eriksen was surely one of the club’s greatest talents of the Premier League era, and he played a huge part in their consecutive top-four finishes under Pochettino with his vision, technique and wonderful range of passing.

Things soured slightly for Eriksen towards the end of his spell, when it became clear that he wanted to move on, and he eventually got his wish in January last year when he joined Inter Milan.

Nevertheless, there was an outpouring of emotion and well-wishes from Spurs’ fans and players alike following Eriksen’s cardiac arrest while he played for Denmark in this summer’s European Championships, and it remains to be seen if he will ever be seen on a football pitch again.

If not, the footballing world will be deprived of a massive talent, and one who was a joy to watch at the peak of his powers in the Premier League.

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