Chelsea Are Not A Bigger Club: A Tottenham Hotspur Fan's Guide To Transfer Season

Tottenham Hotspur have failed to sign anyone, Levy is playing ridiculous hardball again and we'll probably end up with Darren Gibson on loan...
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Tottenham Hotspur have failed to sign anyone, Levy is playing ridiculous hardball again and we'll probably end up with Darren Gibson on loan...

It’s the silly season in football – do you love it or hate it?

Like a lot of fans all over the country, I go into the summer with a feeling of misplaced relish. You’ve had a whole season to work out exactly the type of players the club needs to buy and you’re optimistic that the management will get them.

Then, sometime in June, I remember that Tottenham Hotspur never buy anyone in the transfer window until Daniel Levy can hear Big Ben chiming on Sky Sports News. Despite this knowledge, I still can’t stop myself clicking on every spurious looking internet headline that comes my way and remain in a state of constant frustration until deadline day.

This summer what are you hoping to read every time you check your club news each morning?

‘Tottenham sign (insert name of either Fernando Llorente, Radamel Falcao or Hulk)’.

What do you inevitably end up reading instead?

‘Chelsea offer twelve tracksuits and some corrugated iron for Luka Modric’.

Got much cash in the kitty?

Hard to say. Apparently we were making £30m+ offers for every other striker in La Liga last January, but now Harry reckons we have to sell players before we can buy anyone. As is the case with everything that comes out of Harry’s mouth, I’m taking this news with a generous pinch of b*llshit.

We only bought Rafael van der Vaart and Steven Pienaar last season for relatively modest fees, so considering our Champions League run there surely has to be some cash in the bank. I do concede that we need to get the likes of David Bentley and Robbie Keane off our bloated wage bill, but it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

As is often the way with Spurs, the transfer fees themselves shouldn’t prove a problem, but the wages that the top players want may prove too much for us.

Hulking midfielder? Tricky winger? Big b*stard defender? What types of players would you like to sign this summer?

Most importantly we need at least a couple of strikers and they must be able to play on their own up front. Last summer we bought Van der Vaart, which necessitated playing a 4-5-1 and then had to watch a whole season of Crouch, Defoe and Pavlyuchenko predictably failing to get to grips with the position.

We don’t necessarily have to sign a superstar for a fortune. Even someone like Wolves’ Kevin Doyle can play that role much more effectively than the strikers we’ve got and would be better able to support the likes of Bale and Van der Vaart.

Other than that we need a centre back with some cartilage in his knee and sadly, we may also require a new midfield playmaker.

What types of player will you end up signing instead? An U21 Moldovan left back instead of Spanish international forward perhaps?

My fear is that we’ll spend a lot of money on a striker, who like the players we’ve already got, won’t be able to lead the line by themselves. Look at some of the players we were putting in bids for in January - Giuseppe Rossi and Sergio Aguero. I’ve seen taller Krankees. Hardly Didier Drogba are they?

Modric is one of the few players around who wouldn’t look out of place in the Barcelona midfield and he’s got to be worth at least £40m.

Who wants to leave the club and what’s your attitude towards them?

Perhaps more than any other player at any other club, Luka Modric has made it abundantly clear that he wants out. In one sense I’m not that surprised, as we failed to make much of an investment in the transfer market, after qualifying for the Champions League last season. Had we done so, we’d probably have finished in the top four again and Luka would be happy to stay.

What’s annoyed me is the way that Modric has dealt with the situation. If he thought that he might want to leave, then he shouldn’t have signed a six-year contract last summer. I was naive in thinking that Modric wouldn’t kick up much of a fuss if another team were interested in him - he just didn’t seem the type. Yet here we are in July and he’s handed in a transfer request.

It’s an extremely ill-advised decision. Even if we were open to selling him, we would have still turned down Chelsea’s so far derisory offers. Modric is one of the few players around who wouldn’t look out of place in the Barcelona midfield and he’s got to be worth at least £40m.

Who has been the biggest t*sser of this transfer window?

Guess who? By far the worst thing that Modric has done is to describe Chelsea as a ‘big club’. They might pay a lot in wages, win trophies and qualify for the Champions League each season, but they still have to resort to advertising the availability of their tickets on Capital Radio.

No Spurs fan wants to hear that Chelsea are a bigger club than Spurs. We used to sell them our rejects like Colin Lee and Micky Hazard. At no time in history have we ever sold them one of our players, without them knowing that they were making a downwards move in their career trajectory. Things may have moved on in reality, but Spurs fans will always be stuck in the mindset that Chelsea are a smallish club that just got lucky.

I’m really hoping that Daniel Levy sticks to his guns and proves a point to the football world by refusing to sell. Modric can sulk all he likes. I’d say stick him in the reserve team for the next five years, but thanks to Redknapp we haven’t got one.

Reckon you’ll be stronger or weaker next season?

There’s no way to tell right now. This summer shows how difficult it is for a team like Spurs (and for us you can read Everton or Villa) to get better season after season, when you’re competing against clubs with much more money.

I don’t actually think that losing Modric would be the end of the world if the fee was right, but the problem is the message it would send out to players like Bale and Sandro. Whether Luka stays or goes, for me the most important thing is to get the right striker at the club. If we do that, we’ll be a stronger side regardless of where Modric is playing.

Any other news?

We’ve signed the geriatric Brad Friedel on a free. A lot of Spurs fans seem concerned about his age, but I don’t remember him making remotely the number of mistakes that Heurelho Gomes did last season and I think he’ll prove a decent signing. Also, he was declared bankrupt earlier this year, so he won’t be able to retire for at least a couple of seasons.

What has been the best ever bit of business your club did in the transfer window?

I’ll never forget the day in which I checked the Ceefax football pages in the vain hope that there was some news of a potential Tottenham signing, only to see the top headline revealing that we’d somehow bought Jurgen Klinsmann.

I danced around the living room as if we’d won the FA Cup. The fee of £2m was a bargain even then for a genuinely world class player. Of course, there had to be something fishy about why he’d agreed to join Spurs, which was eventually revealed to be the £600,000 release cause that allowed him to join Bayern Munich after one season. Alan Sugar - you’re fired.

And the worst?

The summer in which we sold both Keane and Berbatov. We waited until the last minute to get the optimum fee for Berbatov and though it got us an extra £5m in the bank, it didn’t leave us with enough time to buy a proper replacement.

Spartak Moscow knew we desperate for a striker and made us pay well over the odds at £14m for Roman Pavlyuchenko earlier on in the day, before we had to resort to loaning Frazier Campbell from United. Let’s hope that Levy’s learned his lesson. I don’t want us to sell Modric on 31st August and pick up Darren Gibson on loan.

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