Even as a Liverpool fan, I have a major soft spot for Tottenham Hotspur. Even us Big 4 supporters would like to see English football shaken up a little though of course not at the expense of our own clubs.
For so long it seems, Tottenham was the team that was going to do it, to prove that the Big 4 weren’t invincible. Now, they’re barely above the drop zone. We all know Spurs are playing horribly, and the most popular gossip topic is how long it will be until Martin Jol is finally fired.
I agree that Jol has to goâ€”there’s no confidence left in him, and Spurs need someone more skilled tactically to get to the next levelâ€”and I also agree that they could use a new goalie (though Robinson’s not that bad). There’s another player, however, that Tottenham needs to replace. And Spurs fans aren’t going to like it.
Now, it would never have gotten to this point if the 16.5 million pounds spent on Darren Bent this summer had been spent, instead of on Spurs’ strongest position , on one (or more) of their three very weak positions (both central midfield spots and LM). Instead,White Hart Lane can boast of having four Big 4 quality strikers (all would at least be regular subs for the best teams) but only one midfielder of true quality (Lennon, and even he’s overrated).
To all those people that say that Spurs’ problems aren’t related to the quality of their players, I have to disagree. They certainly have the fifth most talent in the league, but the difference between fourth and fifth is pretty huge. The main issue for Tottenham right now is that they have neither steel nor creativity in the center of midfield. Even the infamous left sideâ€”where left back Bale has been excellentâ€”isn’t nearly as big a problem.
I can’t believe Jenas has 16 England caps. He’s not terrible, but he’s a mid-table attacking midfielder at best, not close to Champion’s League quality. Tom Huddlestone is too passive though he may still have a bright future. Didier Zokora just isn’t very good. Kevin-Prince Boateng never gets to play, so no one knows how good he is. Same with Adel Taraabt. Teemu Tainio is the only one of their CMs that I really like. He’s not better than the others, but he brings more of the qualities that Spurs need at the moment, and with his versatility, anyone would be glad to have him in their squad.
Right now, Spurs should be playing Bale at LM, Tainio as a holding player, and either Malbranque (who’s better in the center) or Robbie Keane just behind the two strikersâ€”Berbatov and Bent/Keane. But that team still isn’t good enough. We’ve spent the last six months wondering whether Spurs would keep Dimitar Berbatov happy enough to stay at White Hart Lane. Now it’s time to sell him no matter what he wants.
The prospect of him at Man Utd terrifies me, but wherever he goes, it’s the right thing for Spurs to do. His value will never be higher, and considering that ownership probably won’t be excited to spend another 40M next summer after Spurs’ inevitable mid-table finish (I’m guessing 8th), they’ll need to sell players to buy new ones. Berba should bring in about 25M, as long as he plays well this year. Combine that with the sale of Jenas for about 8M, and Zokora for 5-6M and now they’re in business.
With that money, they could buy Matty Taylor (5-8M), Stephen Appiah (5-8M), Rafael Van der Vaart (10-15m) and either a young big man or save the money and promote another striker from within their ranks (I’ve heard they have some talented forwards on the youth team). Taylor and Bale would be an excellent interchangeable LB/LM partnership on the left flank, Appiah would give them the steel and power in midfield they so desperately need and Van der Vaart would give them creativity, invention and support to the strikers.
Maybe Van der Vaart wouldn’t want to come to a team not playing Champion’s League football, but it’s not like he’s playing with a bunch of world beaters at the moment for HSV. Oh, and if Sven doesn’t think he needs Andres Isaakson any more with Kasper Schmiechal doing so well, maybe he could be acquired for 5 or 6M too….surely Robbo would bring in that much. And if not him, then maybe Jaaskelainen? That would leave them with a lineup that looked like this:
Chimbonda Dawson King Bale
Van der Vaart
Subs: Cerny, Defoe, Malbranque, Kaboul, Lee, Tainio Others of note: Boateng, Huddlestone, Gardner, Rocha, Taraabt, Assou-Ekotto This may all have to wait ’til the summer of courseâ€”not least because it leaves Man U without a striker to open the door for a Liverpool title. 🙂
It will be hard to sell to the fans, but it needs to be done. And with a new manager, this looks like clearly the fifth best team in England to me, with a chance (with some luck) to do more.