Ed: Congratulations to Spurs fans for Tottenham signing Gareth Bale – you guys have a very, very good player in your hands.
As the Spurs’ players (with the exception of those picked for International games) go on their end-of-season break, Martin Jol and Damien Comolli seem to have been working furiously to bring defenders Younes Kaboul and Gareth Bale to Tottenham.
Kaboul, the Auxerre centre-back and French under-21 captain is moving for around £7.5 – £8.2 million, and will hopefully be the quality cover we so desperately lacked this year at centre back, as well as competition to King and Dawson.
Bale’s arrival to Tottenham will excite many, with his superb dead ball skills and clean striking of the ball, Wales’ youngest ever international is set to be a big star.
However, the 17 year old is not going to be able to play all of Tottenham’s (potential) 60 games. We still need a deputy in this position, and for me, neither Assou-Ekotto or Lee cuts it. Maybe an older, more experienced player to fill in when needs be, and until Bale and possibly Ziegler are ready to handle the Premiership in its entirety.
So why must Jol make sure he gets these and his other summer signings absolutely right? I will explain…
The ‘Top 4’
With Chelsea’s Abramovich, United’s Glazers, Liverpool’s Gillett and Hicks and now maybe even Arsenal’s Kroenke, it is clear that those above Tottenham have owners who will demand success and will spend whatever is necessary to do so.
Whilst it is clear that we cannot match the financial clout of the first three, Arsenal have been frugal in recent times, and this is why NOW must be our time to strike.
In the last two years, with the exception of the Chelsea victory, Tottenham have been comprehensively beaten each time we have played Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool.
However, a combination of Arsenal’s transition and our fruition has led us to close the gap on them, nearly attaining fourth position in 2005/2006.
The Top 3, especially after Benitez’s pledge to bring in only world-class signings leaves us realistically chasing fourth, and with Arsenal not looking likely to spend big, Tottenham must buy the right players; it is now or never.
What do Tottenham need?
I discussed in a previous article on Tottenham’s current squad about who I felt we needed in terms of personnel, but ultimately a decent back-up centre half is needed — Kaboul (goodbye Gardner), one left back at the very least — Gareth Bale, and a couple of left-footed midfielders, who can attack down the left and whip balls into the box, hug the touchline and really attack from this side of the field.
As well as this, an alternative to Berbatov (and replacement for Mido), as I fear without one, we may overplay our star man next year.
If signings are not right, others waiting in the wings..
I feel the only other realistic challengers to the Top 4 apart from us are now Newcastle, solely because of Sam Allardyce. His appointment at Tyneside should alert many that competition for that final Champion’s League spot will be tougher next year. The big man’s ability to get the best out of his players means Newcastle United will be — in my opinion — a different team next year.
As others to push the UEFA Cup places go, I believe Everton, Bolton, Blackburn and Portsmouth under old ‘arry should be there, though we will see how these teams fare playing as many games as we have this season.
The key for Tottenham now is to make sure that we bring in some left-sided quality, and possibly even some further defensive back up. As well as this, a fourth-choice striker, possibly a big man who can hold the ball up and generally be an alternative to Berbatov, Keane and Defoe.
What is clear is that with Arsenal’s temporary lull, Newcastle’s possible realisation of their potential, and stiff competition in the form of the ‘UEFA Cup pack’, Tottenham must take advantage of our current situation and really go for fourth next season.