Category Archives: Transfer News

Luka, Luka, Luka

I was delighted to hear Daniel Levy’s statement yesterday lunchtime after seeing Luka Modric plastered over a number of newspapers saying the time was right for him to leave the club. In all honesty I can’t say I blame Luka as from the moment I saw a paper suggestion that Chelsea would pay £140,000 a week to him I fancied his head might be turned; I know mine would be.

But a contract is a contract and whilst Luka may claim that he made an arrangement that should a decent offer come in the Chairman wouldn’t stand in his way he has to get a little bit realistic. Whilst the wages might be the transfer fee is not. 

What now follows will be interesting. Will Luka put in the transfer request he feels uncomfortable in making? Clearly if he does so it will hurt him financially in the coming months but the extra wages from a new job will soften that blow. 

Then we have his wish that he remains playing for a London club, probably so that he can stay close to Charlie and not disturb the family. It shouldn’t work like that as we all know but with player power seeming to be what it is anything goes. The Berbatov transfer proved that in many ways with him wanting to go to United but City making a higher bid.

Naively, I hope that this is the end of the “crisis” but I doubt that will be the case. One has to hope that if it drags on other clubs outbid Chelsea so that Luka ends up considering a move to a city he doesn’t really fancy. What that bid may end up at who knows. But having watched £18 million Henderson play two games for the Under 21’s and look anonymous on both occasions Luka must be worth at least twice that sum.

If Levy is serious – and I hope he is – Luka will have a couple of uncomfortable training sessions but then life gets back to normal. Players understand these matters and whilst a couple might have felt it offered them a better chance of a game if the club gets off to a flying start it will all be forgotten pretty quickly. Luka might then understand that we too would like to win the League and with the right striker signed might make a challenge.

If we eventually cave in how bad is that? In honesty it is pretty serious but we might be able to cope. As he settled in Rafa looked comfortable in a similar role and often dropped deep to try and take charge of proceedings. That left us light up front and so a Modricless side would be able to afford two proper strikers and we would certainly have the money to buy a very good one.

The Chairman does have other problems to face this summer. His valuations of some squad members is likely to cause him problems as time passes with no Champions League money to contribute towards wage costs if they don’t move on. The squad remains large and with new faces to add quite a bit of business needs to be done.

Paper talk suggests that Martin Jol might like to take some of his former squad to Fulham and QPR were rumoured to be showing similar interest. Last year Alan Hutton could have gone to Sunderland but they were unwilling to match our price. This year that attitude will have to change if we are to do business on Hutton, Jenas, Bentley, Keane and Pav.

Typically we are in for an interesting period but once again the headlines surround one of our best players leaving rather than an outstanding one being added to the ranks.

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Good deals, bad deals, no deals, new strategy needed?

As he sat in his office this morning Daniel Levy must have reflected on what a crap month January has been for him. Unfortunately in the lives of Football Chairman a crap January can lead to a feeling foolish February, mad March, agonising April and a moody May as he sees the season disintegrate in front of his eyes with ever increasing frustration shown by the supporters.

But it is worse than that, for Daniel has a stadium crisis on his hands with his first choice trumpeted to worshipping fans becoming too expensive and a second option proving unpopular with most in authority. When people adopt the rattled Tony Blair manner and try to bludgeon their points across you can tell they are feeling the pressure and in my opinion DL is trying to remain calm but showing the strain.

Yesterday may therefore have been a day of realisation for to me it showed that Daniel is no longer the custodian of our future through the actions of others. Chelsea and Liverpool showed just how strong their desire is to qualify for the Champions League by blowing vast sums of money – one of them a massive gamble – in an attempt to win fourth place.

Our retort? A bid for Phil Neville – maybe for Champions League cover – and a last hour bid for Charlie Adam – a player who we may not need.

The day before we had been humbled by Fulham in a game that went entirely against our plan. Having searched all month for the striker we craved Daniel put in a number of bids for a variety of players which made it look like we were desperate (maybe we were that night) or that in making them he knew that wouldn’t come off.

So January ended without a late Spurs signing but Harry still managed calls with Jim White and the Talksport team. I could say it’s a failure but in truth its not. I would rather we picked up the players we need rather than another body we don’t really need in an effort to placate us fans. We are not stupid and we know when we are adding to an already large (and unfit) squad more players who might not improve us.

To do that Daniel will need to change his transfer strategy and what yesterday showed us is that you need really deep pockets to do so and only two ownerships have that; Chelsea and Manchester City, the remainder need it given to them by those owners.

To date all too often the strategy has been on adding men who might offer value later on. Kranjcar was signed for a song as his contract was running out. Having not played much and being mid term on a contract his value is much higher which would have meant a profit for the accounts. I saw a figure quoted of £11m on NewsNow during January but even half of that is a pretty good return.

To me Pienaar looks more of the same. Useful player decent purchase price who probably won’t play much. If he wants away next summer for a World Cup chance he represents a profit to us.

Unfortunately for Daniel, Harry secured us Champions League football a bit quick. Fantastic achievement but it put pressure onto him to keep building a bit more quickly. In August he pulled a supreme rabbit out of the hat with a last minute Van Der Vaart. It could never happen again, Europe is now wise to our tactics!

If we remember Leeds they kept pulling out player after player before the house fell down. Our sudden rise up the table puts us in a similar predicament; buy and borrow big. Fans demand it as the quest of regular Champions League football sets in and for the first half of the season we did extremely well. 

Players rose to the challenge and big games came thick and fast. On top of that those around us were in poor form and not winning games we would have expected. As a result we were handily placed and ready to push on. But the team has momentarily run out of luck and hit a period of poor form just as our opponents picked up.     

So we needed the boost of a signing but it was not to be. That honour went to Chelsea. Frustrating as we find that it shows one thing, Mr Abramovich is not, when it really matters, prepared to make his club pay for itself as he suggested. It also acknowledges that Chelsea is accepting that their youth policy has not worked as wanted and that big signings are what is needed to keep you in the top 4.

With our own youth policy not bearing much fruit we’ve always relied on making big signings but our wage policy is some way behind that of Chelsea and light years behind Manchester City. If we want to compete longterm in the big pond we need to address these issues and I cannot see Enic being the owners to do this. 

I’m not trying to slate them for this but sometimes you have to face facts. Many people will say with the Olympic Stadium we can put this right but look at the balance sheets of clubs such as Liverpool and Newcastle who lived the dream with Champions League money for a number of years. They’ve not much apart from debts to show for it. A bigger capacity will help us on transfer budgets in future windows but it might not do much for the wage bill it produces. 

I think it’s official, football has the madness of King George and the top of the Premier League is in ignorance about living within its means so owners need to be billionaires to survive. George got a bit better, as I remember, and so will the game but maybe not before a casualty. We don’t want to be that statistic and I don’t think Daniel will let us become it.  

Don’t get me wrong I’m not calling for Levy to go. He’s been a good owner and taken the club forward a heck of a way. But in the way that he decided Martin Jol was not good enough to move us any further forward that realisation might be approaching for him when he looks in the mirror. 

It may all hinge upon the Olympic Stadium decision, it may not, but if he wishes to continue he will need to rethink his strategy for the transfer window to identify only those that will definitely improve us and identify them earlier so that the deals can be put together. Forget a late run on the blind side for late night excitement – we’re past that now. Real value may be harder to achieve from here on in.     

With an upturn in form anything is possible, without it there’s a long way to go till May. I fancy we’ll play better but hold onto fifth place. That’s about right with this squad if we improve upfront in the summer we can push on once more at realistic pace for our spending money.   

Van Der Vaart signed? Nou breekt mijn klomp!

So with the window closed it’s a waiting game to determine whether Rafael Van Der Vaart will be signed for a fee rumoured to be a measly £8 million against the previous days £18 million. Is this something we should be worried about – if the deal goes ahead – or were Real Madrid desperate to reduce the wage bill and dispose of players Jose was never going to play.

In many ways this deal comes as part of a consequence of the Wigan performance on Saturday, Burnley and Sunderland away and Hull, Wolves and Stoke at WHL last season. When defensive organisation forces the side to play more ambitious passes or work out a way through them we’ve failed to come up with the answers and put onto the back foot away we have often looked short of experience on the field. VdV may well provide that level of experience to the team and another midfield option to Luka and Tommy.

We also added a third keeper to keep Ben Alnwick away from the bench and potential playing time in Stipe Pletikosa on a season long loan from Spartak Moscow.

The Spurs news page shows pictures of Sandro who appeared and trained at Spurs Lodge today for the first time which is welcome news as he has proved to be one of the most frustrating signings in recent years. We have to hope that he fits into the squad and gets some opportunities this season.

We also took William Gallas as a free agent as defensive back up and I for one am not unhappy about it. There is the suggestion of baggage but I felt he was a real star at Chelsea and his disappointment at Arsenal may have stemmed from a failure to add the necessary quality to make them see out their potential. Consequently he should prove valuable with his experience of the highest level though if he has a nervy start there may be plenty in the stadium not willing to give him support.

There has not been many Arsenal to Spurs signings over the years. We took back Pat Jennings to allow him to finish his career as a Spurs player but the last two signings from our local rivals were David Jenkins and Laurie Brown in the 1960’s. Neither proved to be outstanding and blotted Bill Nicholson’s transfer record but hopefully this one will be different.

Once again we’ve not lost anyone, unless Alan Hutton returns to Rangers before the Scottish window closes. Despite talk about bids Jermain Jenas remains a Spurs player and with out current injury list remains on the bench. I’m not keen on Jenas but without Sandro proving himself and O’Hara injured he remains needed maybe till the next window. Having seen his performances for Portsmouth I’d prefer to see O’Hara over Jenas longer term.

Robbie Keane remains a Spurs player and despite his lack of form and opportunity I felt he did well in Switzerland against Young Boys in the comeback period. Given the chance I feel he can do a job maybe from the bench and his international experience will add weight to our Champions league squad if he is named in it.

Then there are the ones that got away. Ashley Young? Paper talk in my opinion. Why did we need another winger when we have Lennon, Bale, Kranjcar, Bentley and Modric all able to fill those positions. And why would Young want to surrender his first team position at Villa for the bench at Spurs?

The same is true for Diarra and Muntary as anyone Harry has managed before will always get linked. I would not have been unhappy with either player but do we really need them if Sandro is as good as the Chairman believes. Hleb has landed at Birmingham but as set out above we have the personnel for his position.

Scott Parker was never on unless the West Ham owners wanted to get lynched. As a player he would benefit any side but he did turn us down when a Chelsea player and after choosing Newcastle ahead of us his punishment must be a season in The Championship with West Ham. No doubt Upson and Green will help him succeed in this!

Then we heard about helicopters and Ryan Babel. Is he better than the four we have? My head tells me that at the present time Liverpool are going backwards – having made the Konch their lead signing – and as Babel is an irregular starter for them why would we want him? In many ways its not our strikers who are the problem but the number of chances that they get provided with. Yes they could be better in the air but that might not be our best form of attack. When Defoe was on fire last year it certainly was not!

So all in all if all comes off not an unsuccessful window as you cannot keep breaking the bank every window. Harry was interviewed at Spurs Lodge around 8 o’clock this evening as he left to go home. Clearly the 25 man squad that will be names tomorrow required Sandra’s input. Let’s hope she understands the rules and offers good advice!