back to business
|Now that the World Cup is
over, we'll soon be back in business.
I'm very pleased with the signing of Ivory Coast powerhouse Didier Zokora, a player that reminds me of a young Vieira, but with pace and a better shot on goal. He really looked the business against Argentina and also versus Holland, where he was the best player on the park. Whether Carrick stays or not, I really don't care because our man Zokora can do it all. The holding role that Carrick presently occupies (although I'd prefer Huddlestone to be there), the midfield enforcer role that Davids was entrusted with, or even the forward driving role that Jenas is supposed to be doing, the African maestro could take over and do it better. At £8m, we've got us a bargain.
Another snip was the capture of versatile left-back, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, from French club FC Lens. He can play anywhere across the back-four, anywhere in midfield, but primarily as a left-winger and a left-back, which is what we desperately need. It would be nice to see him go straight into the side at left-back, with Reto Ziegler in front of him because a lot of the time last season we suffered from a lack of balance. Sadly, it appears that Jol no longer rates Ziegler, so we might see Tainio retain his place on the left wing. Another possibility, with Lennon a cast iron pick on the right, would be Jenas playing ahead of Assou-Ekotto, but that would be wrong. We need balance, so the answer could be that Jol goes back to the market for another quality left-footer. I've long since gone off the idea of an all-English team so Wayne Bridge can bugger off. I've always rated Gareth Barry above him but wouldn't go higher that £3m for him.
At the posher end of the spectrum, there's Marek Jankulovsky of AC Milan, soon to be relegated to Serie B. Should that happen, Milan will be desperate to let the Czech leave for £2-3m. I like our chances of getting him as well, given our impending European campaign. That's one of the few players I'd rather see on the flank ahead of Ziegler, so highly I rate the Swiss teenager. Andy Reid is finished at the club and, surely, an offer of around £2.5m would see him leave White Hart Lane.
So that's the left side taken care of, now, how about the right ? With fond memories of Lee Young-Pyo playing as a right-back for PSV and doing it effectively, I'd like to think that he could still do a job for us. With the attacking nous of Phil Ifil in that position, me thinks that Stalteri is no longer needed. Not with the bloody wages he's on anyway. The only question is who the hell is going to take him ? A full-back that can neither attack nor defend and is on about £20,000 a week. Not very tasty, heh ? If LYP and Ifil are not viable options than it's back to the market for Big Marty. Pascal Chimbonda has been mentioned with alarming regularity but is too expensive at £6m and did not kick a ball at the World Cup. He may well be a star at Wigan, but so was Dean Richards at Southampton. They don't often make the big step up in class and expectancy, so I think we'll swiftly move on. With Glen Johnson now at Portsmouth and Luke Young representing a step back for our club, there aren't many domestic options.
If a lesson has been learnt, it is that, generally, if you buy cheap you don't get quality. Spurs did that last year and got exactly what they deserved: Fifth place instead of second, or at least fourth. But that's another story. One of the biggest problems Tottenham have had in the last fourteen years or so has been a severe case of lots of deep pockets, too many short arms. It's resulted in us missing out on various top targets, instead having to settle for lesser players. Well, no more. Instead of paying, say, £6m for Chimbonda, why not just go for it and snatch Seville's Daniel Alves, easily the best right-back not involved in the World Cup, for the £12m Liverpool were going to pay. In a perfect world, it would be Gianluca Zambrotta but he's most likely headed to the big boys, such as Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea. Alves wouldn't mind UEFA Cup football so long as he's got a decent wage, so I reckon it'd be a straight up bidding war to secure his services.
Midfield looks pretty good, a lot of talent and diversity, so we don't need to strengthen there. Even if we lose Carrick we're strong. Jol likes to use a holding midfielder so he could put Huddlestone in that role, with Zokora as the driver. Alternately, Zokora can hold, with either Jenas, Murphy or Tainio ahead of him, behind the front two. Whatever happens, Davids is finished. He had a dismal last four months of the season and must not play for us again. He's served his purpose, just as Naybet before him, now it's time to move on. That's why we've got Zokora, because he does what Davids used to do seven years ago and then some.
In attack, we could do with one more senior striker. I've heard Obafemi Martins mentioned and he would be good, better than Carlton Cole, but perhaps unhappy at being 3rd/4th choice striker. I'd like to see Yeates and Barnard involved more often this season, chiefly in the Carling Cup. However, Berbatov and Keane will be THE partnership for the others to follow, for sure. I'm excited, it's going to be a great season, with us getting at least fourth. That's an early prediction. If we were to get Jankulovsky, Alves and Martins, I think we should aim even higher.
S J Wightman
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