Every year, Mariah Carey appears on my radio again, bellowing out ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. It’s a song I have grown to love, if just for the smile it puts on my face. However, my festive period focused on one gift from Santa in 2012 - three points for Tottenham Hotspur.
It may’ve been a late present from Spurs, but the 4-0 thumping of Aston Villa all but made up for the coal planted nicely underneath my Christmas tree. A frustrating first half, it has to be said, saw Andre Villas-Boas’ side average a corner every three minutes, ending up with 15 come the interval.
That all changed a little under 15 minutes into the second half after Kyle Naughton expertly played in Jermain Defoe for the striker to fire under Brad Guzan. After that, the floodgates opened. Spurs regained their swagger as Gareth Bale netted a 23 minute hat-trick to confirm the win for the visitors.
The victory, as comprehensive as it was, saw Spurs pick up their second win in three games, while saw the defence secure their third successive clean sheet. Yet, while it was nice to net four past an Aston Villa side that had conceded eight three days earlier, the problems pushing forward were still evident, even if some don’t want to admit.
When Rafael van der Vaart left over the summer, fans were dismayed at the sale of such a creative influence. Granted, the Dutchman could rarely complete a full 90 minutes and his hamstrings bore a striking resemblance to a used piece of chewing gum, but he more often than not provided the link between the midfield and attack, while bringing goals - 28 during his two years at White Hart Lane to be precise - to his game.
Nevertheless, the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson and eventual arrival of Clint Dempsey would see the threat from the midfield replicated, or so fans believed. The former has yet to adjust to his new surroundings as many had initially believed, while the latter it can be argued is being played out of position.
At present, Spurs still lack the player that can unlock a defence in the blink of an eye. No matter the formation, that player to fill the Van der Vaart shaped hole behind the strikers still hasn’t arrived and it’s of the utmost importance that he’s signed sooner rather than later.
Step forward Wesley Sneijder. Yes, a pipe dream at present, but after receiving a face full of tongue from the pooch on Christmas morning, I wearily reached for my phone to ensure I hadn’t drunkenly embarrassed myself from the night.
The news that greeted me all but ridded me of my hangover, with it emerging that the Dutchman and Spurs had, according to highly revered Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri, agreed personal terms that would see him move to North London when the transfer window re-opened.
While a fee hasn’t been agreed, or so we’re led to be believed, the midfielder reportedly wants a move to London, regardless of interest from FC Schalke 04. If the speculation is to be believed, then it will be one of the finest coups for Tottenham Hotspur since, well, Daniel Levy delivered a gift wrapped Van der Vaart to Harry Redknapp’s doorstep on deadline day over two years ago.
The 28-year-old is all but set to leave Inter Milan after falling out favour under head coach Andrea Stramaccioni, while his wife recently hinted at the intention of the former Ajax youngster to leave the San Siro in January.
The player himself may’ve denied any deal is in place, but then again the murky world of football transfers is all cloak daggers 99% of the time and speculation is likely to persist that any potential move is still in the offing.
If Tottenham Hotspur can indeed secure the signature of Sneijder, it would be a major coup for them. The Dutchman has regularly been linked with a big money move to the Premiership amidst reports Manchester United have often shown an interest in the player.
He would be the ideal midfielder to sit behind the strikers, regardless of reported interest in Christian Eriksen and Isco, of Ajax and Malaga respectively. Last night’s win over Villa may’ve been the easiest and most comprehensive of the season - the shots on target and possession stats reinforce this - but it’s fair to say that the number 10 is still a necessity.
With any luck, regardless of reports emanating from Holland, a deal is still a possibility, albeit, a slim one at that. Whether Sneijder, Isco, Eriksen or Joao Moutinho is brought in to push Mousa Dembélé forward, it’s vital that a creative influence is added to the ranks, especially if Villas-Boas is keen to secure that top four spot.