future imperfect

what east stan thinks might happen at the lane if things don't go well this season.



While most seasons tend to be make or break seasons at White Hart Lane, perhaps this season a few days away is more makeable or breakable than others we have gone through.

The tantalising taste of Champions League football in 2010-11 has left both players and fans demanding more of the same.  How practical that is may be questionable, as this season there will be a minimum of six clubs vying for the top four spots in the Premier League table and many of them have got their spending in early, while Tottenham are still leaving their transfer dealings to mere speculation in the newspapers.

And while the transfer window drags on and we are three days away from our final pre-season friendly (with few big signings to bother going to see), are bargains more likely or are Spurs likely to get more desperate and sign whoever is available and at inflated prices, as the money from the Champions League campaign burns a hole in our pockets.  As usual, it might leave us playing catch up, especially with the tough start to the season we have.

Without CL football we can wave goodbye to Luka Modric and Gareth Bale at the end of the 2011-12 season.  Claiming that we are not a selling club is all well and good unless you can have some sort of success to retain your best players.  I have a feeling that the digging in of heels over the sale of Modric this summer has been sweetened by promising him a move next summer should we fail to reach the top European competition.  And he will be chased out of the club by Gareth Bale, who is keen to maintain a high profile at club level with scant opportunity to gain a huge amount of success with his country in big tournaments.

So, what will we be left with ?

Others might follow.  Crouch, Defoe, Pav, Palacios, Jenas, Hutton, Bassong and Sandro are all being linked with moves away already, but should they go, some of their values will be reduced, while others might still fetch a pretty penny.

More in the shape of Assou-Ekotto, van der Vaart, Lennon, Pienaar, Gomes, Corluka ... even Dawson might seek a new challenge elsewhere if the project fails to deliver.  We could be decimated.

And would we be surprised ?  Not really.

Players are transient and show little loyalty, with only the likes of Ledley sticking with the club through thin and thick.  Dawson might be of the same ilk, but will the club choose to cash in on him while there is still some value in his registration ?

I can see Lennon leaving at some stage, as his progress has stalled and his injury record seems to be deteriorating, but in Kyle Naughton, we have a ready made replacement to fill in on the right side of midfield.  Nominally a defender, he loves going forward, is quick and has more of an eye for goal than the little England winger.  He has shown on loan at Leicester last season, that he can make as well as take goals, so his loan at Carrow Road might be the final proving ground before he fits into the Spurs team.

Behind him will be former Sheffield United team-mate Kyle Walker, who has similar attributes and they will provide a strong link on the right side.  As back up, young defender Adam Smith would be a solid right back, but again needs a season on loan at a higher level than Bournemouth, where he played his football last season.

If both BAE and Bale leave to give Spurs a need to fill in on the left, they would need to buy, as there is no direct replacement for either player in the second string.  Andros Townsend could play left side, but he would need a Premier League loan this season to assess his development.  Harry's assertion that Danny Rose could make the left back slot his own is a bold one.  Having been a winger, assuming defensive responsibilities is a tough call and although the little man has shown he can do well there, how good he would be against top wingers over the course of a season remains to be seen.

The middle of midfield could feature Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore, but that would leave the heart of our engine room lacking pace and being vulnerable to opposition attacks.

Younes Kaboul and Steven Caulker might be the first choice centre back partnership, as Bongani Khumalo does not look likely to become a first choice player any time soon, having only played a few games on tour before being put out on loan again.  Something needs to be done behind them in goal as well, as Freidel has a two year deal and could be our number one if Gomes decides to move on.  Cudicini is not rated good enough to be first choice keeper and Ben Alnwick has almost spent more time on loan than he has at Spurs.  We have a number of young keepers - Button, Jansson, Ranieri, Archer - if any of them are nay good, we should be blooding them to bring them on.  Either that or get rid of them so that we can get decent goalies in and the youngsters can move on in their careers.

Up front, the new signing Souleymane Coulibaly could be spearheading our attack with whoever is left from the front four we currently have.  Jon Obika is another eternal loanee, so you wonder of they really believe in his ability.  He has scored at League One level, but needs to show he can do so in a higher league.  Whether Ryan Mason will make the transition into the first team is also a question for the Development coaches at Tottenham.  A Keane/Yeates type striker, he may be a little lightweight to make a place in the first team.  Harry Kane is one that the club seem to have great hopes for, but next season might be a little too soon and that goes for his team-mates such as Tom Carroll and Massimo Luongo.

What will become of the likes of Dean Parrett and John Bostock, both bought for big money as teenagers, who must be making the step up if they are ever going to make it.

Looks bleak doesn't it ?  A wholesale shakedown of the squad and a rebuilding job for Harry might be on the cards, with money having to be spent to put a side together who are capable of making a fist at going for a top four spot.  But by then, all the goodwill and kudos engendered by our swashbuckling Champions League season will be forgotten and it may become the one crack at the big time that he had for another forty years.

Or we could finish fourth again, but that would mean a busy August for Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp, with players coming into the side late and a few games into the season.

Which do you think is more likely ??


What do you think the coming season will hold ??
Let us know at mehstg@blueyonder.co.uk

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