A developing squad, and cracking the top four, but are Tottenham Hotspur still missing that one special player?
January is almost here and we find ourselves sitting pretty at 3rd in the table. I’m sure that we all would have taken this position back in August when we found ourselves 5-1 down to Manchester City at White Hart Lane. The run since those first two games has been phenomenal and it has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons at the top of the table. If it stays this way two of Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool (again) could miss out on Champions League football. The BIG Four looks like a piece of history.
"If we’re going to make a signing, let’s make one big signing. That would send out a message. But it’s difficult finding that player who would make a difference. If someone came along who we thought was special and could make a difference, we’d go for him. The chairman would back me all the way if we felt it was someone who could take us that extra little bit forward. But finding them is very difficult, there aren’t many around like that." ~ Harry Redknapp, December 2011
The team is the strongest we have seen for years, brimming with talent in every position, though there are a few areas we need to strengthen. So far we have patched up these areas from last season – put a plaster over them for now in the hope we get through the season. At Friedel’s age he can’t keep playing forever, and sooner or later he will need to be replaced. Gomes has lost it. I can’t see any way back to being a first team regular and he will almost certainly be on his way, if not in January, at the end of the season. However, we don’t need to buy a keeper in January, so that can wait.
Up front we also have a quick fix in the form of Adebayor. He has been superb. Sure he has missed chances, a lot of chances he should have put away, but his positioning and running has been excellent, creating chances for other players and generally he has been a great team player.
The team is the strongest we have seen for years, brimming with talent in every position, though there are a few areas we need to strengthen. So far we have patched up these areas from last season – put a plaster over them for now in the hope we get through the season
Without Adebayor we have Defoe and Pavlyuchenko, and Pav looks almost certain to finally leave. Ideally we need a striker to come in and be back up to Adebayor and Defoe, preferably someone who can step up and be number one next season once they have a few games under their belt and have settled. Damaio has obviously been a target, but it looks like this ship may have sailed, and who can forget the last minute scrabble last January when we were linked with virtually every striker in Spain and Italy.
"We’re not too desperate for anything. We’re more than strong everywhere so unless it’s someone who’s a bit special I don’t think we’ll be doing too much. If someone’s there that we feel can make the difference – it might just be a character or leader or somebody who can give you something at the club. If that type of person’s available then we’d be interested, but at the moment we’re not closing in on anything." ~ Harry Redknapp, December 2010
So what exactly will happen during the January window? Well if past windows are anything to go by Spurs will be linked with almost every player possible, but will end up making just two signings. Redknapp will be winding his car window down and coming up with sound bytes about special players. However, as HR says such players are difficult to get and they are thin on the ground. Trying to lure these players to White Hart Lane can’t be easy with the wages we pay and without the glamour of Barcelona, Madrid or Rome, but equally, it is surely a nicer place than being in Manchester.
Both Levy and Redknapp instead rely on being opportunists. The signing of Van Der Vaart is obviously the best example of this. Right place, right time… right price. Scott Parker was another great piece of business. Redknapp knew exactly who he wanted and it has made a huge difference to our midfield this season.
So what exactly will happen during the January window? Well if past windows are anything to go by Spurs will be linked with almost every player possible, but will end up making just two signings.
But what about that star player? Well I’d argue that we stand a better chance than ever landing that fish. We are not sitting in fourth in the league, but third, with a nice clear gap and a game in hand. Prospective players will look at this and see a team trying to challenge for the title, not battling for fourth place. We also have increased our salary cap, not hugely, but enough to temp those up and coming superstars.
The truth is that Spurs haven’t really signed one of those ‘Special Players’ since Klinsmann, or perhaps Ginola. Van Der Vaart was a superb buy, and is a great player who has played for one of the world’s best teams, but at the time he was an out of favour attacking midfielder, albeit one of the best there is. But if you go back and listen to Redknapp, every transfer window, we have always needed just one or two special players to take us to the next level. Now we are almost at the top of that level, and we’ve done it without the Rossi’s, Beckham’s, Fabiano’s and Eto’o'o’s'o’s of this word.
Our biggest asset is our team. Who woudn’t want to play with Rafael Van Der Vaart, Luka Modric, Ledley King, Emmanuel Adebayor, Scott Parker and Gareth Bale. There are few teams in Europe, maybe only one team in Europe, that wouldn’t want these players in their squad, and this is without mentioning Lennon, Gallas, Kaboul, BAE, Walker and Sandro. If anything can sell Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to the best footballers around the World it is this current team.
And that is why it is more important to keep this team intact than it may be to bring in anyone else. It is a well balanced machine that is working well. Sure, the right player at the right time may make it work more effectively, but if just one or two parts go missing, it could all fall apart.
So if we don’t sign that player that you simply have to get on the back of your shirt, don’t panic too much – The Special Players are already here.
"It’s difficult to improve this squad… But if we could find a really special player, someone who could take the team to another level.. It might only be one player – one expensive player – but then we might go for it."~ Harry Redknapp, May 2010
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock podcast
Other recent stories you might like:
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook