Some thoughts on Spurs’ tranfer window strategy

Early movers?

We all wondered whether Spurs had learnt their lessons and would get their transfer dealings done early this summer.  This morning we became the 19th Premier League club to have announced at least one signing so far (Swansea have signed eight players!).

The Paulinho deal has finally been confirmed – the box-to-box Brazilian presents a real coup for Spurs,  especially after his strong performances in the Club World Cup and Confederations Cup.

Does this represent us getting our business done early? Possibly not, but at least we’ve completed some business before the players return for pre-season training.

AVB/Baldini vs Redknapp

Potentially the crucial difference this time round is that Andre Villas-Boas has Franco Baldini in place as Technical Director. With his a reputation for being both a likeable character and strong negotiator, it should bode well.

Whilst former manager, Harry Redknapp, tended to go for ‘tried and tested’ players, often older than Chairman Daniel Levy will have been comfortable with, Spurs’ new transfer committee – which seems to consist of  Levy himself, Franco Baldini (Technical Director), Andre Villas-Boas (Head Coach), and Tim Sherwood (Technical Co-ordinator) amongst others – will seemingly look further afield in order to improve the squad.

For example, if rumours are to be believed, a big-money deal is close for two 17-year old Croatians from Dinamo Zagreb – Tin Jedvaj (defender) and  Alen Halilović (attacking midfielder). Whilst Halilović has been capped by Croatia (and is the national team’s youngest ever debutant), Jedvaj is not so well-known, and would represent what many Spurs fans might raise an eyebrow at – use of a scouting network.

In fairness to our former manager, there were more left-field signings  – Sandro, for example. These were said to be arranged by his Chief Scout, Ian Broomfield, who he put a lot of trust in.

Baldini has a reputation as someone who will unearth young talent, but who will blend that with experienced signings for the here and now. For example, he took Gonzalo Higuain and Marcelo to Real Madrid as 18-year olds, but also signed experienced players with winning mentalities – the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy (30) and Fabio Cannavaro (32). The David Villa story, then, might not be total fantasy.

Positions to strengthen 

Most Spurs fans will have an opinion on which positions need strengthening, but there is a concensus, no doubt, that we need to bolster our front line. Emmanuel Adebayor – brilliant two seasons ago – was totally unreliable during last season’s campaign, whilst Jermain Defoe is also below the required level if we want to improve; he has only once managed more than 13 goals in a Premier League season (in nine attempts). Roberto Soldado and Leandro Damiao (again) have been mooted, and either would likely represent an upgrade if they could settle quickly (which is always the danger of change).

If AVB wants to move to his favoured 4-3-3 formation, we will also quire another wing-forward to complement Gareth Bale. In my opinion, Aaron Lennon’s output is not prolific or consistent enough to justify a starting berth if we want to push on. His work-rate and attitude are second to few in our squad but, if we look at the player he is rather than the player we want him to be, he’s not quite there (although will be a fantastic rotation option). Whilst David Villa is not the player he once was, his signing would be a true statement of intent – his profile alone would turn heads, but he also has the winning mentality and know-how that our squad lacks, as well as being able to cover anywhere across the front three positions

Full-back cover is another area that needs to be looked at; Danny Rose is seemingly unhappy with the prospect of being cover (who knows, maybe he’ll start), and on the other flank, we certainly need to upgrade on Kyle Naughton. Could this be the season that attack-minded England U21 international, Adam Smith, steps up and grabs the opportunity to be Kyle Walker’s deputy? For me, we could probably carry one inexperienced full-back so long as we had solid back-ups in all other areas of the defence.

I still think we lack someone in midfield who can pick a pass – especially with Huddlestone seemingly on the way out. It might be that AVB is planning to rely on Dembele/Holtby/Sigurdsson/Carroll as the creative element of his midfield but, for me, Keisuke Honda – out of contract at the end of 2013 with CSKA Moscow – would represent good value at a knock-down fee.

On the way out 

Willaim Gallas, David Bentley, plus a few of the younger professionals who hadn’t broken through (Barthram, Bostock, Nicholson, Munns) were released at the completion of their contracts, but we’ve got a bit of deadwood still to shift.

I would expect the likes of Naughton (24), Livermore (23), Khumalo (26), Obika (23), and Dawkins (25) to leave permanently, but there are others at risk too, depending on who comes in.

Harry Redknapp’s QPR are chasing Scott Parker, and one last “big” move might appeal to Parker, who is 33 in October. Tom Huddlestone has suitors in Fulham and Sunderland, although I think it’ll take more than the £5m mentioned to twist Levy’s arm. We’d surely listen to respectable offers for both Adebayor (29) and Defoe (31 this year), who both disappointed last season and, if a bid were to come in for Dempsey, AVB might be tempted to sell.

Transition

We have a real opportunity to progress, especially looking at the managerial changes at Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City, and with Liverpool seemingly losing their prized asset, Luis Suarez. Arsenal are clearly not the side they once were, although are still dangerous, particularly if Higuain does sign.

My gut instinct says that Chelsea will be a very strong side next year – the impressive Hazard and Oscar now have full Premier League seasons under their belt and will no doubt be even stronger this year. They still have centre back troubles, though, and Mourinho will need to focus on their defence if he is to win the league.

After that, second is up for grabs – City are a brilliant side on paper, but have a squad littered with “characters” and egos. United under Moyes will be fascinating – their central midfield still looks weak to me, and I wonder whether they can rely on van Persie to drag them over the line for a second year running. Arsenal are the most stable team, but lack a goalscorer and much will depend on whether they can snag Higuain.

Spurs are well-placed to push on and finish in the top four – especially if, as expected – Bale stays at the club for another year. Paulinho plus a top-class forward would, in my opinion, push us to the next level, and it’ll be down to AVB’s coaching ability (we must improve at defending set pieces, for example) and the squad’s mental strength as to whether we can progress.

COYS

Join the conversation

  1. Its nice to read a well thought out piece although i do have reservations about which players we need to fulfil the supposed new formation of 4-3-3. Although based on opinion, either wing needs improvement as Bale cannot be considered just a winger. To retain pace but add skill and an eye for goal i would bring in Bernard, who is truly two footed and could interchange across the front three. We are crying out for a striker, but in a 4-3-3 they either play in the middle or come in from the side, this reduces our width and may result in Spurs playing to narrow. I prefer to play a three behind a striker but that means losing one of (Sandro, Dembele or Paulinho) from midfield. Now thats the conundrum i have, and i haven't found a solution yet ! COYS !!!!
    1. Manchester city's striker Dzeko should come to tottenham hotspur . Versatile and technical.
      1. I like Dzeko, but is he going to be looking to move?
    2. Thanks Caspur - it's a tricky one, and the answer is different set-ups for different games, I think. Bernard - I like him, but I worry about how quickly he'd settle and get used to the physical element...
  2. I would love to see 4-3-3 Benteke Leandro Damaio Coulibaye Villa. Bale Deulofeu Paulinho. Lennon Halilovic Sigurdsson Ceballos Sandro. Dembele Holtby. Carroll Lombaerts. Vertongen. Kaboul. Alderwield Shaw. Dawson. Caulker. Walker Jedevic Lloris Friedel
    1. Benteke CF Villa Left prong. Bale right prong Sandro Paulinho dembele MF 3 Problem solved?
    2. Looks a strong squad except Coulibaly is not (yet?) ready to be promoted to first team squad level.
  3. Matthew:- who is Jedevic? I've googled him nad they dont know him!! Shaw has signed a 5 year contract - Halilovic is not coming yet if at all [nothing confirmed] Coulebaye and Ceballos both questionable rather Pritchard - and what about Townsend and Danny Rose??
    1. I think he means 'Jedvaj'
  4. Lloris Walker. Kaboul. vertongen. rose Sandro. dembele paulinho bale. soldado/benteke villa Then can possible use the subs for more energy Sub villa for Lennon/townsend 65min Sub Dembele for holtby/carroll 75min/80min Sub Paulinho for sigurdson 80min
    1. Would love that as our starting 11 come August but do worry about Roses height issue...
    2. Rose is the weakest in that XI, but it's a cracking side, isn't it? Good bench options too.
  5. 4-3-3... Lloris....Walker...Vertonghen....Kaboom....Rose.... Sandro...Paulinho...Dembele....Bale....Villa....Erik Lamela....Subs Benteke,..Holtby..,Siggy..,Friedel..Alex Priechart...forget about Soldado and buy Lamela...
    1. Lamela is a name that has come up a few times. What are your thoughts on him?
  6. please mr levy can you tell me you have given avb a 50mil transfer chest if so go get benteke or soldano if you want class pay you cannot always get class a discount prices help us poor suffering supporters
    1. Buying Benteke now whilst his price is at its maximum seems foolish to me - if we were going to go all-in for a young, PL-ready striker, I'd personally prefer to try for Lukaku anyway... although I'd say there's little chance of Chelsea selling.
      1. Lukaku himself said he wouldn't come to spurs because of the rivalry with Chelsea...
  7. Manchester city's striker Dzeko should come to tottenham hotspur . Versatile and technical.
    1. Would be a great fit.

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