The 2006-7 season looks very promising in the eyes of most Spurs fans, with the general consensus being that just two or three additions could suffice to turn Spurs into a top-3 or top-4 club. Most supporters are also in agreement as to the positions that need strengthening, with the right-back and left-midfield berths seemingly still up for grabs. Here is a brief summary of the players I would like to see brought in for the coming season, as well as a résumé of other oft-cited candidates for the roles.
My choice: Lucas Neill.
Lucas Neill has performed solidly for Blackburn for the last two seasons and consolidated this form with a fairly flawless showing at the 2006 World Cup. So reliable has he been that European giants A.C. Milan and Barcelona are said to have taken a look at Neill, although the latter’s interest will certainly have cooled following the capture of Luca Zambrotta. Neill has thus far refused to extend his contract up north and clearly has his sights set on a bigger club. Consequently, he would most probably be available for a reasonably insignificant fee.
Other candidates: Pascal Chimbonda.
Coming off the back of a superb debut season for Wigan, Chimbonda has been a target for Spurs (and other clubs) throughout the summer. However, with Paul Jewell driving a hard bargain, a £6 million outlay would be necessary to prise the Frenchman away from the JJB stadium. Equally, most fickle Premiership fans seem to have forgotten that, before coming to Wigan, Chimbonda performed only averagely for Bastia, in the less-than-challenging French league.
My choice: Roberto Ayala
Roberto Ayala really needs very little introduction. He has a wealth of experience at the very highest level, and, despite his advanced age, maintains the pace and good judgement which have served him so well over his distinguished career. He seems to be seeking a new challenge, though whether he would be willing to play second-fiddle to Dawson and King is another question. Those who question Ayala’s future value would do well to bear in mind that Dervitte has been brought in with an eye on the future (Ã la Pique at Manchester United), and that it is therefore a short-term solution that is needed.
Other candidates: Curtis Davies
Davies is another exciting prospect for the future, and had a brilliant first season at West Brom. However, having just signed a new contract with the Baggies, it seems unlikely that he will depart for pastures new anytime soon.
My choices: Hatem Ben Arfa and Adam Johnson
Hatem Ben Arfa exploded onto the scene at Lyon before suffering a series of unfortunate injuries last season. He presents an exciting mélange of enthusiasm, pace and skills, and he is sure to improve as he develops. His goalscoring record for Lyon’s reserves is frightening.
It will be next to impossible for Gareth Southgate to offer Adam Johnson a regular starting place next season, yet he is faster, harder-working, greener and more skilful than Stewart Downing, and will come a hell of a lot cheaper!
Other candidates: Juan Pablo SorÃn, Gareth Barry, Marek Jankulovski
None of the above are really left-wingers (they are neither pacey nor skilful, and in at least one case are more comfortable at left back), and as such do not comply with what I am looking for.
Spurs fans — what do you think?