|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