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 ?
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 ?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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