With the silly season linking Spurs with
almost anyone who mentions they want to leave their club this summer,
what do you think of the possible new signings ??
As the newspapers fight over which over-priced non-superstar Chelsea will shell out a luxury liner load of cash on, Tottenham continue to be associated with an array of players who may or may not come to White Hart Lane.
So, what of them ?
Many we will not have heard of or seen in action, while others are more familiar.
For the goalkeeping position, it seems as though Paul Robinson will leave during the summer, although Middlesbrough are reported to have lost interest in him, leaving Aston Villa as the most likely destination for the England man. To replace him, we have been linked with a number of goalies.
Early front runner was Carlos Kameni of Espanyol. I have only seen him a few times in highlights, so it is not the best of information to go on, but he looks no better than Robbo and on the evidence of the UEFA Cup tie last season, Heurelho Gomes - the Brazilian PSV Eindhoven goalie - has a propensity to punch rather than hold crosses and shots come to that. His handling is not that safe and again, looks no great improvement on Robinson and surely that would be the criteria for bringing players in. Are they better than we have got already ?
Current French goalkeeper Gregory Coupet has experience on his side, but on the performances in the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland at the moment, he has had few moments of inspiration and has made only a few saves of note. But he is in the frame to come in, while other stories say that he will definitely leave Olympique Lyonnais, but will retire rather than move on. At 39, you feel that he will mainly be the back-up keeper, which, with Radek Cerny gone and Ben Alnwick looking likely to follow him (even though he has hardly played .. .even for the reserves), might not be a bad idea. Papers reckon that the one to come in with a view to taking the number one shirt, is Joe Hart of Manchester City. With reports saying he is refusing a new contract, he looks ready to move on and Spurs need a goalkeeper, so 2+2= ... guess what ? Hart looks a brave keeper, who has been promoted to the England squad, with only the major part of a season behind him. Big, strong and youthful, he has a lot of potential, but will he be the keeper to make all the difference between an 11th place finish and a sixth place finish ?
Defence is another area where we have had a lot of change in recent years, leading to an ever-changing line-up in the back four. Pascal Chimbonda appears to be on his way out, as Ramos clamps down in a new disciplinary regime that will not tolerate any dissenting behaviour. Rumours link Michael Dawson away form the club, but this would be a mistake with his form being affected by the lack of a regular partner. With Ledley King saying he will be fit next season, the rumours linking us with so many central defenders seems a little surprising. With Anthony Gardner and Ricardo Rocha both likely to go and maybe joined by Younes Kaboul, perhaps this is a chance to thin out the number of players we have in that position.
A host of players, primarily from Spain, as Ramos uses his knowledge of the game where he has spent his management career, are supposed to be about to sign for Tottenham. Dani Jarque and Marc Torrejon of Espanyol are players who I know little of, but they are both targets for other English clubs. Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United are among the other sides who might want them, while Fabricio Collochini of Deportivo is a player Spurs have been linked with for a number of years, although the Argentinian has faded from the spotlight since he first burst onto the scene at the Athens Olympics. I hope that Mark Hughes has good persuasive powers, so that Richard Dunne remains at Eastlands, as he lacks pace and while he might dominate in the air, his record of own goals and red and yellow cards imply that he might be trying to hard to compensate for players getting away from him. And the same goes for the horrible rumour that Spurs might pay £6 million for Anton Ferdinand (god forbid). We have had some good bargains out of the Irons of late, but this would be a waste of the club's money, with players available for that amount who have a greater CV and much more ability.
Wide on the back four, Chimbonda will be out and Paul Stalteri might also be on his way, having spent the end of last season on loan at Fulham. Others who might be expendable are Benoit Assou-Ekotto (who hasn't had a chance to show what he can do) and YP Lee (who is attracting interest from his old club PSV). With Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton, Gilberto and Chris Gunter coming in during last season, there may be no immediate need to add to the full backs, but some are still being linked. Tal Ben Haim is part of the Chelsea clear out, so he must be coming to White Hart Lane (obviously), while Andrea Dossena of Udinese is another sought after player, but looks on his way to Anfield, even though he is not Spanish. Adriano Correira of Sevilla is a defender known better to Juande Ramos than he is to me, but he will be one that the Head Coach will be fully aware of. The Argentinian Getafe defender Daniel Diaz has put himself in the frame by saying Spurs are interested in him, but he doesn't stand out from their win over us in the UEFA Cup last season. So, I cannot see the point in buying players who "will do" rather than ones we want.
Midfield is another area where there has been some congestions, but now they thinning procedure might only be making space for more signings. We have heard that Aaron Lennon, Teemu Tainio, Kevin Prince Boateng, Hossam Ghaly and Adel Taarabt might not be playing at the Lane next season. Even Tom Huddlestone has been the subject of some transfer speculation, with both Middlesbrough and Everton linked with interest in him. With only Zokora, Jenas and Malbranque seemingly immune form the rumours, Ramos will seek to bring in the players he needs to flesh out the midfield area.
One he would have loved to have had would have been his former player at Sevilla, Daniel Alves, but he is going to Barcelona for a huge amount of money. One from Sevilla who might yet arrive is winger Diego Capel. A well respected young talent, he has had few chances under Ramos' replacement and would welcome a reunion with his mentor. With Luka Modric, Giovani Dos Santos and John Bostock either signed up or on their way, the present and the future of the midfield is taking shape, but there will probably be more on their way.
Here a whole host of players have been menitoned as possible signings by Ramos. These include Sergio Garcia of Real Zaragoza, Reuben De La Red (Real Madrid), Bouja Oubina (Celta Vigo), Valon Behrami (Lazio), Edu (Valencia), Sulley Muntari and Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth), Deco (Barcelona), Michael Johnson (Manchester City), George Boateng (Middlesbrough), Jean Makoun (Lille), Ronaldinho (Barcelona) and Esteban Granero (Real Madrid).
Of these Sulley Muntari and Lassana Diarra are best known to us. Having only been at Fratton Park for a season and five months respectively, they have made a difference to the Pompey midfield, but Muntari is wanted by Juventus and Diarra has admirers elsewhere too. Having finished the end of the previous season at Arsenal, the French youngster moved to Chelsea last summer and then to Portsmouth in January. He is only there until a bigger club comes in for him and will no doubt use the next stop as a ladder on the rung to a big time side. Both are effective midfielders, with the defensive side of their game their asset. I am not sure that they are exactly the type of "enforcer" we need, but the player we need are hard to find these days.
Ronaldinho has become a less effective player, who suffered injury and loss of form last season at Barcelona. He does not truly fit the template for Spurs signings these days and would cost a large chunk of our transfer budget, so perhaps he might be better off at Eastlands. While on the subject of Manchester City, Michael Johnson is a player who has only just broken into the side and has suddenly attracted packs of clubs chasing him. I am not convinced that he is the finished package and would not make a big difference to our midfield at the moment. Deco will go to Chelsea or Internazionale if he goes anywhere, so our options might come from the other suspects.
Sergio Garcia is a player who might have to leave Real Zaragoza and has been selected for the Spanish squad at Euro 2008, but has yet to feature, so his high price might reflect how good he can be. Any move will probably wait until after the Euros, so other players might be snapped up before then. Jean Makoun could be the sort of tackler we require to add to our middle four, but clubs with Champions League football might sneak in ahead of us and George Boateng is not the sort of player we need. He is fine for Middlesbrough, but would not be any better than we have already. Perhaps a Bolton or Hull might give him the chance of maintaining his presence in the Premiership. Perhaps more likely would be the likes of Granero or de la Red (he might have to change his name though). Both farmed out on loan by Real Madrid last season, Granero impressed for Getafe and he might be looking for some first team football, which he is unlikely to get at the Bernabeu.
Some of the players being linked are just the papers being playful. Edu, the former Arsenal player, would be available on loan from Valencia, who are looking to cut their wage bill, although it is highly unlikely that he would come to Spurs, while Valon Behrami look son his way out of Lazio and his ability in wide positions (as demonstrated for Switzerland in the current European Championships) might tempt Tottenham to sign him up. He can deliver good crosses from tight positions, much like David Beckham, who he obviously tries to emulate (blonde highlights in hair, tattoos and model girlfriend). Oublina indicated to the media that Spurs had been interested in him before an injury, but that he had nothing to prove and would not be happy about having to have a trial to assess his ability.
With the latest Berbatov rumours indicating a move to Barcelona, a replacement is on the cards. With Darren Bent also being the subject of a move ... to the less glamorous surroundings of Sunderland, maybe we will have two new forwards.
The players who might come in are numerous. Of those mentioned who are at Euro 2008, Swede Johan Elmander of Toulouse has looked useful, although a bit cumbersome, while Italian Fabio Quagliarella has come off the bench a couple of times, but does not look a lot better than Luca Toni. One player who has done very well in the tournament is David Villa of Valencia, who need the money, but will get a lot more than we cold pay, especially now he has struck goals. Barcelona want to ship out Samuel Eto'o, but h has said he wants more from a club than Tottenham have to offer. His team-mate Thierry Henry is a spent force and his compatriot Nicolas Anelka might add pace to the attack, but would bring more sulks than Berbatov currently offers and would not last any longer at Spurs than he would anywhere else. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Locomotiv Moscow) fits the bill in terms of age, but he looks like he needs to up his ratio of shots to goals.
Of the English options mentioned, Michael Owen is beyond his best days, while West Ham United's Dean Ashton is a fat lump, who would add little to our attack.
Most of the rest seem to be associated with Spanish football. Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid) Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Robinho (Real Madrid), Nikola Zigic (Valencia), Diego Milito (Real Zaragoza) and Alvaro Negredo (Almeria/Real Madrid) have all been said to be interesting Spurs. Ex-Man U striker Forlan would be a good, experience signing, but his fee would out-weigh his worth, while Robinho's association with a Tottenham move are fanciful in the extreme and Luis Fabiano is also probably out of our reach. Zigic is the huge, basketball height centre forward (a sort of Serbian Peter Crouch, who surprisingly is one player we have not been associated with) and might precipitate a change in our style to accommodate him. Negredo has been out on loan and is seeking first team football, which he is unlikely to get at Real Madrid, while a lot of experts seem to think we have a realistic chance of obtaining the services of Diego Milito. If Berbatov does move on, expect this man to come in to replace him.
A number of unsettled strikers have been putting Tottenham on the list of clubs they would join. Oscar Cardoza (Benfica), Goran Pandev (Lazio) and Jefferson Farfan (PSV) all fall into this category, but Farfan deemed Schalke 04 a bigger challenge. The other two might have been trying to bump up moves or pay rises.
We will always be linked with young up and coming forwards and Gus Poyet's Uruguayan background has put THFC in the frame for the talented Bruno Fornaroli, while Remy Loic of Olympique Lyonnais and Tarik Elyounoussi of Norway's Fredrikstad are both ones for the future, which obviously makes them the sort of player Spurs would snap up.
On the winger scene a large number of potential targets have been put alongside the club's name. Top of the mentions is David Bentley of Blackburn Rovers, who would cost about £15 million, while Shaun Wright-Phillips could be part of the Chelsea clearout and he might head across London to N17. Neither player is really top class. Their build up play is good, but often their final delivery is not always what is required. Bentley's team-mate Morten Gamst Pedersen is perhaps a more realistic target and he has a good scoring record, but any new manager at Ewood Park might want to retain his services. A few clubs are after Albert Riera of Espanyol, who had a spell on loan at Manchester City a season or so back. Left-sided, he is known to Ramos from his time in Spain. I would be very unhappy if Damien Duff arrives from Newcastle United holding a Spurs scarf over his head. He might have been a good signing four years ago, but not now. Jinking wide-man Aiden McGeady (Celtic) could provide an alternative attacking threat, as would Adam Johnson, who Spurs have been linked with for about a year now and would be the better purchase from Middlesbrough rather than Downing. Younger up and coming wingers might include Medy Elito (Colchester), Albert Adomah (Barnet), Danijel Pranjic (Heerenveen) and Charles N'Zogbia (Newcastle).
However, if any winger is to come in and replace Aaron Lennon, they need to be pacy and have an end product. And that takes us back to Capel.
With the window due to open up next month, the machinations are no doubt already in place and the coming weeks will see the THFC website giving us the first news of our new buys. Let's hope they are the ones who are the right players at the right price.
We all know that the Spurs hierarchy like to play a bit of transfer window poker, leaving it as late as possible to show their hand, but this time it is different.
Is Daniel Levy different this year ? Well, with money flooding into the club like it is going out of fashion for the old rubbish we are shipping out, he will do well to snaffle any bargains from other club's bins this time around.
And the later we leave it, it is surely harder to integrate players into a system, with players who have had a full pre-season in the squad ?
While it is good to hear the noises coming out of the club that the Spanish training camp has improved the players' fitness, I would hope for the team to hit the ground running this season. With the highly disappointing finish to last season and few playing distractions during the summer for most of our players, I hope they return refreshed and ready to go.
That might even extend to
Ledley King starting a season for us ... but I have been noting his
absence from much of what has gone on in Spain for the last few weeks.
Here we go again Spurs playing the pantomime horse taken for a ride the loyal supporters, is there no end to wrong decisions made by our club ?
Where do I begin Carrick to Utd, Pedro to Portsmouth ... leaving us with who ? Let's get rid of Defoe; he could cost us a packet. Berba going, Keane going and the gang of four to Sunderland. Who is left ?
Oh and the good news is we are going to finish in the top four.
Yeah and I am buying a Ford Escort and will win the Spanish Grand Prix.
God help us this season.
If you had to suffer, like my partner, watching the Spurs in my house, you would know I'm always berating Keano when he plays. This is my form of reverse psychology, because he always seems to deliver something when we need it most.
If Berbatov leaves we (or I) could live with it, but Keano would, in my eyes, be nigh on impossible to replace. Ramos may have a master plan for us this coming season, but I cant believe it does not include Robbie Keane.
I will keep the faith as
usual, but pray he stays away from those robbing Scousers.
I have to say, I am feeling a bit down at
the moment. It's my own fault for digging around the internet pages
scanning for transfer gossip when I should be working ...
Surely not? Please tell me that Keano is not Anfield bound.
The worrying thing is that
the story in the NOTW was written by Chris Bascombe who is VERY close to
LFC having worked for the local paper. Keane also is close to Gerrard
and Carragher and was at the opening of Carragher's restaurant.
Apparently they all share an agent!
My Liverpool friends tell me
this is on and Keane has been tapped up and has told Benitez that he
wants to go to Anfield.
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