Looking For Clues

Originally featured in MEHSTG
Vol. 2 Issue 17 - November 2000

We all know that Tottenham need a midfielder.  We all know that Spurs need another forward of top quality to pair up with Rebrov or Iversen.  We all know that, but do the people who run the club ??  Well, surely they must realise that Spurs need top class players in these positions, but what exactly should they be looking for in replacements ?

Well, the forward department was strengthened with the arrival of Sergei Rebrov, but what do we need now ?  Les Ferdinand is having a torrid time, despite being fit now.  His touch has deserted him and his goalscoring one appears to have gone the same way.  His strength was his ability to attack the ball in the air and whether it is the constant clashing of heads he has suffered or what, I donít know, but he no longer gets in front of his marker to beat them to the ball in the box.   With Carr and Anderton providing the ammo, you would have thought that Les would be thriving on the service.  He hasnít seemed to link that well with Rebrov and is not really similar to the Ukrainianís former partner Andrei Shevchenko.  Steffen Iversen played well with Sergei in pre-season, but has been in and out of the side for one reason and another without managing to reproduce that partnership in the Premier League.  It is a disappointment, as they both appear to be the sort of player who enjoys playing off another with similar characteristics, but neither has really taken the lead in the roles allotted.  Korsten has been out injured, although he might now be ready to step into the first team and it could be interesting to see how they hit it off, with the Dutch striker looking like a more languid version of Shevchenko.  The one who could be the ideal partner amongst our playing staff at the moment is Chris Armstrong.  His pace (albeit, not what it used to be) could be the thing that makes his suitable to latch onto Rebrovís damaging passes through the defence.  With the crosses coming in from wide positions as well, Armo could cash in on the chances being provided.  But, unfortunately, once again, he is struck down by injury, just when he could have grasped the opportunity of a place in the side.

So, what do Spurs need from a new forward ?  At the moment, it looks like they could do with a Lineker or Clive Allen style poacher.  Someone who will put away the two-yard toe-pokes, be deadly in the box and also score the odd goal from distance out of the blue.  Thatís not too much to ask for is it ?  This type of player does exist and if Tottenham were to look for them, I am sure they could find one.  While GG goes on about the lack of quality available, he could take a dip into the Football League without getting his fingers burned.  One of the supposed strengths of David Pleat has previously been to unearth rough diamonds from his extensive knowledge of the lower reaches and turn them into good Premiership players.  While I realise he is doing this with the youngsters at the Lane, surely he should be recommending others to GG, who himself has turned up the odd star forward in his time (cf. Hasselbaink and Wright).  So why not now ?  Alternatively, you could try and pair Rebrov alongside a more typical English centre forward and get him to feed off the knock-downs.  He was bought to score goals, but with the current dearth of creativity coming from the centre of our team, he has not been supplied with a huge amount of chances close to goal.

Which brings me to the next purchase.  A midfielder.  So what would be the requirements for this position ?  Someone who has the ability to run at players and beat them.  Someone who has the ability to provide defence splitting passes to set up our strikers.  Someone who can score a decent amount of goals each season to bolster the tally notched by those in front of him.  So, itís Zinedine Zidane then !!  Admittedly, there are not a lot of players like this around these days, but without the requirement to score, you could probably find some likely candidates in Europe, or indeed on our managementís many trips to South America.  I know it has been mentioned in MEHSTG before, but the young Argentine Andres DíAllesandro could be a new Ossie in the making.  By signing him, it would not be a risk trying to settle him into English football, with Mauricio Taricco here, he would have a teammate and countryman to make assimilation easier.  Admittedly, it could cost a fair bit to attract him to Tottenham, but they should strike while the iron is hot and before too many other teams start sniffing around. 

Aside from DíAllesandro, the main requisite for a midfielder would be someone who makes a run into the box without being picked up a la Martin Peters in his heyday.  With Sherwood seemingly struggling to break forward as much as he used to and Leonhardsen coming from deeper positions, Spurs do lack that element of surprise in springing someone forward to take the defence by storm.  I think that Simon Davies could fulfil that role, but the manager is still bringing him on slowly, so a newcomer could be needed to slot into that place.  Who would be suitable for this type of role ?  Of those available at the moment, there are no classy candidates, but players like Pavel Nedved of Lazio would be the type we should be looking for.  Heís like a better version of Allan Nielsen, who was the nearest Tottenham have had to that sort of midfielder we have had over recent times.

So there we are.  Not only do Spurs need a shopping list, but they also need a list of ingredients to go with it.  With the money available (after the EU transfer decision, of course) and the knowledge of those in charge at the club, it should be possible to bring in some players who will add to what we have already.  Shouldnít it ?


Doctor Collosus

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