Despite a worrying start to the transfer window, it seems Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp may well have ridden out the storm and face a late summer full of optimism.
When the calendar page turned to June, the news from White Hart Lane, was more to do with who was going than who was coming. Two of Spurs’ three class players, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were on the radar of teams who could promise a serious title challenge, and even more importantly, the distinction of Champions League football.
Tottenham’s failings in the January Transfer Window, coupled with an inability to beat some of the bottom five teams, left them facing a season in the much maligned Europa League. The Spurs management then signed 40 year old Brad Friedel, as the solution to Heurelho Gomes’ fumblings, it was looking like a summer of discontent.
Manchester United still wounded by a Barcelona mauling, weree looking for a new midfielder with skill, direction and Premier League experience, Luka Modric fitted the bill perfectly. Chelsea also seeking to move on from a season of disappointments were interested and even went as far as making a offer. Spurs, however, held firm and refused to be bullied into selling.
The Red Devils, who have already spent a large part of their transfer budget on David De Gea, Ashley Young and Phil Jones, are left short when it comes down to chasing Modric. Instead they seem to have turned their attentions to another Premier League player, whose contract, unlike Modric’s is close to expiry, Arsenal’s Samir Nasri.
Chelsea, who seemed the more likely destination for Modric, appointed the new superstar manager Andre Villas Boas, who it seems, would prefer to bring in his own players such a Joao Moutinho, rather than adhere to Roman Abramovich’s wishes.
Gareth Bale, the sensation of late 2010 and early 2011, is also on a long term contract, pricing him out of any move nationally or internationally. Daniel Levy’s quick thinking has left Spurs in a strong bargaining position and ultimately has convinced Bale and Modric to give Spurs, at least until January to prove themselves.
With the transfer window now officially open, Spurs are looking to steal a march on their much more prestigious opponents. Whilst Chelsea, Man City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all battle for three or four top class players, those on the brink of bursting on to the scene are available for teams like Spurs to snatch.
Giuseppe Rossi, the American born Italian international, was set for a Barcelona move, until Alexis Sanchez firmly stated that he would not be getting on a plane to Man City, but instead wished to go Barca. The Catalans, on hearing this, immediately pulled out of the Rossi race. Meanwhile Real Madrid have been eyeing Kun Aguero, whilst simultaneously watching Brazilian wonder kid Neymar and Chelsea, Rossi, is left with no where left to go. Daniel Levy, who has proved himself in the past to be a shrewd business man, has noticed this and immediately has offered less money than he did in January. Another striker in a similar position is Fernando Llorente, part of Spain’s World Cup winning squad in 2010, Llorente like Rossi, is a player on the cusp of being internationally respected but needs a club who can provide him with the exposure. Tottenham once again are the club who could provide that.
Despite what the manager and the board may think, Spurs are a selling club. They are the place where players make their bones or revive their career before heading on. Jurgen Klinsmann, Dimitar Berbatov. Edgar Davids and Michael Carrick have all moved on to bigger things or reinvigorated their careers. Meanwhile the next group of Tom Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Aaron Lennon and Rafa Van der Vaart, are all waiting to do something similar. This is not a criticism of Tottenham, but a reality, one which most Spurs fans have accepted and one which Arsenal fans must also accept. Until Spurs and Arsenal can promise, giant wages or regular league titles, this will always be the case.
By playing the waiting game, Spurs have frustrated their fans, but they have given agents and players a rod for their own back. Relationships have broken down across Europe, Rossi can’t stay at Villarreal and expect the same respect from the fans? Similarly Man City have now gone a month without selling any of their surplus squad players. Emmanuel Adebayor’s price and wage demands are dropping daily and the same applies to Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz, James Milner and Shay Given. On the other hand, Spurs’ delaying in transferring out the mercurial talent Giovanni Dos Santos, has also worked in their favour. His mesmerising goal in the final of the Gold Cup against America, is sure to have added a couple of million to his transfer value.
Tottenham Hotspur need now only to sell of a few squad players and wait for the Transfer Window to play itself out.
In my own personal view, a successful Transfer Window would be: OUT: Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermaine Jenas, Wilson Palacios, Alan Hutton, Jermaine Defoe, Robbie Keane and Gio Dos Santos. IN: Leandro Damião, Giuseppe Rossi, M’Baye Niang and Christopher Samba.
You can follow me on Twitter @arlombardi