Following on from a post made by drnbean today, he raised the point that we can't afford to sell another big player in the way that we did with Carrick.
To me this is the most important factor in us becoming a really successful side once again and is the only thing (save something happening to Jol/Levy or one of the big players) that can derail us. In selling our big players, it invites the big teams to believe that they can poach our players and it lessens our impact as a team who want to break into the elite four. We've got to keep building a team, not look to off-load our best performers.
I don't blame Levy etc for letting Carrick go, I didn't want him to but I think with the situation as it was, maybe we had to and in that case we had Huddlestone waiting in the wings. The money allowed us to strengthen in other areas too, so it could have strengthened us in the long term, even though it damaged us as a team in the short term.
It is true also that whilst the players are developing there will be inconsistency and that is a massive feature of our current campaign. That is why when a player develops more consistency as Carrick had it is not viable to sell them. At the moment we have Robbo (if not so much of late), Chimbonda, King, Dawson and Keane as the only players who have sprung to mind that are consistent in games. In there I'd say Dawson still has a little way to go.
Further afield we have players like Berbatov, Jenas, Defoe, Lennon, (Tainio, Davids and Mido - barring injuries) who are generally quite consistent but still don't always look completely at ease with what they are doing. Then further down are players like Lee, Huddlestone, Zokora, Ghaly, Davenport and Murphy who often look far from settled.
For me, at this present moment we only really have two players who are currently settled/consistent and who are on good form, these being Dawson and Chimbonda. Malbranque, Defoe and Berbatov could also potentially be added in this bracket at this time. Even despite having few mature/comfortable/consistent performers in the side we are still generally getting results and 'bringing home the bacon' as one of my work colleagues so often likes to say.
Basically we/Jol is looking to get it so we have 11-15 players in our squad who are settled/ consistent high performers. Who have been at Spurs for a couple of years, know the team, know each other and have experience of the English and European competitions. We now have the quality and talent, but we need to harvest it through to fruition if we are going to succeed in winning trophies and being successful. Man U with their crop of players (i.e. Scholes, Giggs, Beckham etc etc) didn't achieve success over night it took 2-4 seasons for them to grow as players and bond too. That is what we require, unfortunately we are more prone to losing one or two players along the way and this is what we must ensure does not happen. Hopefully our one or two can be Carrick and Arnesen.
So to answer drnbean's question, what will prevent future exits? It will be brave and clever ownership (which we appear to have with Levy), consistent management (which I hope we will continue to have in Jol and Comolli), outstanding fan support (which on the whole is there) and future developments coming through (i.e. the training ground and new stadium plans). It is these things, which should help us to attain success on the pitch and ensure that loyalty to the developing Club is retained. If the management and the players can see that success is coming and development is nearing, then there should be no reason to want to move to another club.
There is one over-riding factor that kept Henry at Arsenal last year and that was the new stadium. It offered change and new development at the club. Without that, he would now be at Barca. We need to have plans in for a new stadium or massive development of the Lane to be ready within say four years. Otherwise players like Lennon, Huddlestone may seek to move to play in front of a further 30-40,000 people each week. If they can see themselves being legends at a legendary club then they will stay. We need to do everything we can to accommodate the picture in their minds of Tottenham Hotspur being the club that people will look back on as the team of the era. (i.e. Liverpool in 80s, Man U 90s). We need to show them that we can become the team of the 10s (2010 onwards). The concept that they could be the catalyst to that rise and then fulfil their own potential with us is what will keep them at the club.
In my eyes we are on our way to great things. We have the Chairman, the Manager and are only about 5 players away from having the squad to take us to the top. As stated selling our best players is not an option. Increased capacity and resources are also needed to keep the likes of Lennon, Robinson and Berbatov happy!