Summer Spree To Take Us To The Next LevelBy: Robert Reed | March 23rd, 2013
If 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.
With 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.
I 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.
If 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.
You can follow me on Twitter @RobertReedUK