Summer Spree To Take Us To The Next Level

By: Robert Reed | March 23rd, 2013
   

revolving doorIf you believe what the papers say we will be buying an awful lot of players in the summer to replace the likes of Walker, Bale, Lennon, Kaboul, Lloris etc; who will all be lured away by clubs who presumably have compromising photographs of Daniel Levy. Oh, and AVB is off to Real Madrid of course.

Assuming however that all our top players don’t in fact end up leaving; who should we be targeting to take this squad on to bigger and better things?

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration of course, the most obvious being whether we qualify for the Champions League or not. I believe we will, but for the purpose of this article I am going to assume that we will. Indulge me.

Champions League is of course not the only factor in our deciding what areas need strengthening, and with whom. Another factor which could come into play is what formation AVB decides to play next season.

While sweeping all before them Porto played a fluid 4-3-3 formation which the manager obviously felt suited his favoured tactic of playing a high defensive line. Combined with a midfield which is ready to convert from three to five at a moment’s notice this strikes me as a good way of keeping, or rapidly regaining, possession. I got the impression when he came to the club that AVB wanted to play with this formation rather than the variant of 4-5-1 we’ve been employing, but didn’t feel he had the right personnel.

If that is the formation we play, then one other real quality central midfielder is a must. Sandro and Dembele are shoe-ins, so a cultured passer would be preferred. Modric would have been ideal if the silly little sod hadn’t been so eager to screw his life up but definitely someone of that ilk who combines passing skills with good vision and an astute reading of the game.

Christian-EriksenWith Dembele and Sandro being so proficient defensively, it wouldn’t hurt if the player was also adept at getting forward and joining in with the attack when needed. Moutinho would be a good fit but £20m+ is more than we want to be paying for that position.

Personally I would like to see young Christan Eriksen sign for the club. Due to his contract situation at Ajax and current wages he would be a very tempting low budget option which might appeal to Daniel Levy. We also have his friend Vertonghen already on board to work in our favour.

Lennon’s injury has highlighted the lack of cover on the wings, but a 4-3-3 formation would lessen that problem. One would think that Lennon and Bale would be first choice, with a licence to cut inside and swap positions.

Bale would not be nearly as restricted as he is playing down the wing and would be able to get in and around the box, causing mayhem as he has been, but also enabling him to perform some of the runs and devastating crosses which are seldom seen from his new position.

Holtby would be adequate cover for either Bale, Lennon or one of those from the midfield three; as would Sigurdsson or Dempsey. More so than now with the conventional winger’s role they are expected to perform. Therefore I think we do not need extra strengthening in those areas.

Just as well, because we need plenty of cash for the centre forward positions which are a mess.

Jermain Defoe, who can hopefully put his drought behind him after his two goals for England, will doubtless once again avoid the chop. He is a good impact sub, and as such a handy squad member. Adebayor though has got to go, surely. Easier said than done, but I certainly hope someone is stupid or idealistic enough to take him off our hands. With a lone centre forward role, three main strikers in the squad should suffice.

Romelu-Lukaku-1I am looking forward to young Coulibaly coming of age as I think he could be a major asset one day, but that won’t be next season. Therefore we must sign two strikers I feel.

I am surprised to be hearing of Chelsea’s apparent lack of interest in their player Romelu Lukaku. I was very much hoping we could sign him when he came to England but, having missed out then, I think we should be very eager to take him off of Abramovich’s hands now.

For me Lukaku is exactly the kind of player we need at Spurs. He is young enough not to expect to play every game, yet is already an experienced Premiership performer following his impressive season at West Brom. He is big and physically imposing, great in the air and scores goals. Also he is deceptively fast for his size and can make barnstorming runs from deep when the team is on the break; that more than anything suggests to me that he would be a good fit at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea paid around £10m for him so would want that back, but given our recent history I’d expect them to ask for an extra two or three million from us. Still a bargain for a player who will mature into an excellent striker in my opinion, and if possible I think we should try and take full advantage of Chelsea’s foolhardy impatience and desire to always buy the finished article.

It is hardly a novel idea though to suggest that what Spurs need is a world class centre forward, and Lukaku is not that yet. Gonzalo Higuain however, is. Previously I would have thought the idea of signing a player such as the Argentine very fanciful, but this rumour does seem to have something about it.

It has been widely reported that The striker’s pregnant girlfriend has just started a job at the BBC, and so Gonzalo understandably would like to join her in London. Realistically then, as Chelsea are going to be paying silly money for someone like Cavani or Falcao, Arsenal or Spurs would be his most likely destination.

Gonzalo-Higuain-Real-MadridIf ever there is a time to prove that this ‘partnership’ with Real Madrid is anything other than hot air, this is it. The rumours are that Higuain could be available for around £22m, and that his wages won’t be astronomical either (although you’d expect him to be one of the clubs top earners), so the suggestion that Spurs could sign the player is not quite as crackers as it would usually sound.

I am happy, once Kaboul returns from injury, with our centre back situation. No tinkering needed there. Ditto with our goalkeeper (although a reserve will probably need to be signed if Friedel retires). Full backs on the other hand I am not too happy about.

With a 4-3-3 formation you obviously need fullbacks who like to get forward to give some width. Benny and Walker do that, but both are suspect defensively. I would love to see us go for Baines, but being 28 and expensive that would be a definite no no for Levy so I suspect we will go into next season with the same two players. I wouldn’t be amazed if one or both made way; with Walker arguably the most at risk, but I think it doubtful.

So, for me, those three players could make all the difference. Eriksen, Lukaku and Higuain would probably set us back around £45m. Levy isn’t likely to fish that out of his piggy bank, but with players like Huddlestone and possibly the likes of Livermore and Townsend moving on it would be more a matter of him making up the difference.

Will we sign all or any of those players? Will we change formation? Who knows. These type of predictions are notoriously difficult to get right, but it’s the sort of thing we chatter about for hours in the pub. If you disagree entirely, it would be great to hear your opinions. Let’s hear who we should sell, who we should buy, and how you think AVB will set the team out next season.

COYS!

You can follow me on Twitter @RobertReedUK


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  • SpurOfTheMoment |  March 23rd, 2013 at 3:07 am

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    Vertonghen going to Barcelona as well now of course lol. I can see us going back in for Damiao, you didn’t mention him.

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  • Harveyid |  March 23rd, 2013 at 3:12 am

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    Sick of hearing about Damiao, he had his chance. We should go for Lewandowski.

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  • DarkK |  March 23rd, 2013 at 3:19 am

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    Well written article, but we won’t get Higuain. Won’t get Lewandowski either. Damiao and Lukaku? Maybe.

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  • Barnetyid |  March 23rd, 2013 at 3:23 am

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    AVB will 100% play 4 3 3 next season, he would have this season if we’d got Moutinho. And we will sign Eriksen. I think we will still have Adebayor AND Defoe next season.

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  • SP |  March 23rd, 2013 at 3:58 am

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    Good article:
    I agree about Eriksen. Hopefully Tommy Carroll can provide cover, competition for him, as I rate the lad highly.
    Don’t know about Lukaku. A lot will depend on who comes in in place of Benitez (unless they do ‘everyone’ a favour and offer him a permanent deal). The new boss may want to keep him. Besides, I am not sure Cheslea would sell to us, anyway. Otherwise, would be a good call.

    Rumours link us to Silvestre as ‘keeping cover.

    In regard to full-backs – it is always important to remember that we have a very highly rated youth set-up and personnel. This is never more in evidence than with the FB’s. My personal opinion is that folk are being a bit hard on Walker, he is still young and imporving. Wouldn’t right him off, just yet. We also have Naughton and Smith. Smith is very highly rated, and I have always felt he looked more than comfortable whenever he has had a cameo in the 1st team. It might be a bit harsh on Naughton, but being the eldest and, IMHO, having the least potential, next season could see Walker and Smith establishing a competition for the position that could take us forward greatly as a squad.
    On the left, I suspect BAE may be gone. But don’t forget we have Danny Rose, who has been gaining excellent reviews at Sunderland, and, again, I always thought was far better than the berating some fans gave him (a young player, adjusting to a wholly new position in the team). We also have Fryers (ta, United). And rumiours are no linking us to a move for Luke Shaw at Southampton.

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  • Robert Reed |  March 23rd, 2013 at 4:06 am

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    Excellent contribution SP. I agree about Carroll and Smith, both have bags of potential, whether they will be stepping up to regular first team action next season though? I’m not sure. I agree Walker deserves another season to prove himself but if there is no improvement I think he may be down the road. I’d only expect Ekotto to leave if we bought a big player as a replacement. Fryers is one for the future, but although Rose has impressed on loan I don’t think he has a future at WHL. Ditto Naughton. Maybe we will stick with Walker and Ekotto for another couple of seasons until they get usurped by Smith and Fryers.

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  • ilovespurs |  March 23rd, 2013 at 5:32 am

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    Spurs have hardly play 4-3-3 this season and just because AVB played it at Porto does not mean he has to play the same formation at Tottenham and I think thats one of the the main things he learned during his time at Chelsea- to be more flexible in his use of formations. Spurs this season have played 4-2-3-1 which i think gives us a good balance between attack and defence. The only time we seemed to change that formation were in our last two games and we lost and looked out of sorts. I dont think AVB is going to spend the whole season playing one formation to change it all again just because we have different personnel.

    In terms of summer signings, i think that we are 2-3 players away from having a title challenging squad. We have built a good foundation over the last couple of seasons- now its about getting the players that will make the difference and also keeping Gareth Bale. Chelsea will not sell to us and even if they were to sell why are we buying their loanees plus they would want at least £18milion seeing as they are selling to both a premier league and London rival.

    I think Higuain/Lewandoski are all good priced transfer targets as long as we are in the Champions League- AVB is not Redknapp- he would want to buy a top quality striker and they both fit the bill and would not cost more than £25 due to Lewandoski having a year left on his contract and wants to play in England and obviously the situation with Higuain apparently wanting to move to London.

    I think Erikson would be a brilliant signing as he is versatile which AVB loves and we would be getting one of the top young talents in European Football which would also show our intent.

    As the last two games have shown, we need adequate cover for Lennon and Bale if they are not there. Townsend is a really good talent but we need more if we want to challenge on all fronts- Hung min son from Hamburg, Andre Shurrle from Bayern Leverkusen and Stefan Jovotic are all really good players with the latter two world class talents. Son is a brilliant talent who would help us commercially in improiving our presence in Asia as he is almost like the Asian Messi as they like to call him whilst Jovotic and Shurrle will almost me statement signings. They can all play up front, on either wing and in the hole which is perfect cover for all those positions.

    Adebayor and Gallas need to go! The rest of the squad is fine and if we add Higuain, Erikson and Son we would probably spend less than Fernando Torres and have a better all round squad than Chelsea!COYS!

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  • pablodan |  March 24th, 2013 at 4:50 am

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    I agree with most of what you say here.
    We do need cover at fullback. In fact a replacement would be nice,especially on the right side. Bring in the Colombian player Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina. A bit special he is.
    Walker could then be cover, whilst he learns his trade.
    Scott Parker needs to go. Thank you for your services. ..now bye bye.
    Same with Adebayor. No thanks though. Just bye bye…
    Why did we sign Dempsey to such a long contract? I’m not impressed by him at all.It seems like we have acquired another player who is not good enough for Tottenham and who will be a very hard sell.
    If we do get the required players ie a top notch goalscorer and a ball player in midfield (Higuain and Mouthino) we will be contenders for major titles.
    Onwards and upwards.
    COME ON YOU SPURS!

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  • americanspur |  March 24th, 2013 at 8:16 am

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    I don’t think we’re going to buy a central midfielder this summer. I think AVB’s plan for next season is to convert Holtby to a deep lying playmaker (he’s played there a few times already). In the 4-3-3 it’s essential to have the destroyer (Sandro), the dribbler (Dembele), and the passer (Holtby). In terms of attacking it doesn’t differ greatly from a 4-2-3-1. But instead of having a #10, the two central midfielders take turns in moving into the advanced role. It does give more options defensively, though, because the defensive shape is more of a 4-5-1 rather than a 4-4-2. And it is more fluid in the attack. I think the plan on the wings is to have Bale and Gylfi start out wide and cut in, providing the necessary wide scoring players that the 4-3-3 requires without the central attacking mid. So I don’t see Spurs splashing the cash on a central mid. I think the only thing we’ll buy this summer is a striker.

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  • americanspur |  March 24th, 2013 at 8:21 am

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    Also, there’s no way Higuain, Eriksen, and Lukaku would only cost 45. Higuian would cost 22-25 mil, Eriksen would cost 20, and Lukaku would cost 15-20 (being that Chelsea bought for around 15). I can’t see us spending this kind of money unless we sold Bale.

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  • Some Dude |  March 24th, 2013 at 9:25 am

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    Personally my ideal, although unrealistic, preferences would be as follows.

    1) David Villa. Before people laugh I’d like to say that there are rumors linking him out of Barca. I don’t think they’re true, but if he was to become available he would be ideal as he has proven himself to be consistent and insanely talented. He is older but as has been stated there are young players coming through our youth academy (who are currently top of the Development Premier League) who may be able to replace him when his time comes. This guy though is certainly the least likely. (My price estimate 20 mil)

    2) Nani. It should be pretty clear this season that there needs to be a new winger. Both because Bale is proving himself in the center and because there simply are no other real options there when Bale and Lennon can’t show. Nani can score goals and on his day is a one man army. He also isn’t such the showboater he used to be. His issues getting regular first team games at Man U wont be helped after the red card against Madrid. Champions League football may be enough to entice him over. Sadly I imagine his wages will be above our means. (my price estimate 15 mil)

    3) Wanyama. I know that the SPL gets a deservedly bad rap but Celtic (and previously Rangers)are good teams. In the year that Rangers got relegated at least Davies, Naismith, Jelavic and Whittaker came to the premier league. That’s a higher turnover then many teams who are relegated from the BPL. So to suggest, as some do, that they are a league two side (or even championship) is deeply unfair. Celtic also outplayed Rangers that season. Wanyama is clearly their best player this time around and by the look of him he seems to knows it. If you haven’t watched him play you should and you will agree that he would be an asset to any team. I think his game style would suit Liverpool or an Italian side better (for different reasons) but that’s not a reason to forgo taking a crack at a great young defensive midfielder as an obvious replacement for Scot Parker. (my price estimate 12 mil)

    Finally there is the obvious problem in defensive flanks. Not sure if I have any suggestions here for talented, experienced and realistic targets but I hope they find somebody. Apparently we’re linked with Shaw but 16 mil is simply not worth the risk in my book. I’ll leave this pick to Levy and AVB who will most certainly be surveying their options.

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  • Robert Reed |  March 24th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

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    Americanspur Eriksen is in the last year of his contract and can make a pre contract deal for nothing in a few months. He will cost around £8-£10m. Chelsea bought Lukaku for £10m, so by your reasoning he won’t cost more than £15m (if they wanted to sell him) and Higuain would cost around £22m by most estimates.£45m is about right, but whether we would get any or all of those players is of course anyone’s guess.

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  • americanspur |  March 24th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

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    No pre contract until next January for Eriksen. And Ajax will surely sell him this summer, and there will be no shortage of suitors. That would push it up to the twenties. Lukaku’s was 10 straight up, but with roughly 8 mil in add ons and I’m sure Chelsea have had to pay some of those already.

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  • Robert Reed |  March 24th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

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    The ad ons for Lukaku were goal and appearance related so as he’s hardly played for them they won’t have come into force yet, which may explain the reported eagerness to sell him now if they’ve decided they don’t fancy him. If they transfer list the player they cannot ask over the odds. Nobody is gonna pay £20m, certainly not us or West Brom. I don’t see him as first choice striker.

    As for Eriksen, when the summer window shuts he will have four months until he can sign a pre contract for free which will dramatically slash his market value, even with a lot of interest. With a long contract he wouldn’t be considered a £30m player, he’s good and has lots of potential but isn’t world class. Moutinho, who is more highly rated, has a longer contract and is pretty much the finished article is valued at £22m. Van Persie went to United with one year left for £22m, Eriksen is nowhere near VP’s market value.

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