The January transfer window is just around the corner for Spurs and this could be a key time for Andre Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy after missing out on several targets in the summer.
The Tottenham head coach said this week that we are not planning a spending spree in January, but is this the truth or just a cover to quieten the media speculation?
Tottenham are pretty much linked with most players going and rumours are abound that we have a £20 million kitty to spend in the January transfer window. A Spurs Fanatic reader recently got in touch to ask me where Tottenham need to strengthen and who should we sign? So, here are my views on what we need and who we should get.
Spurs January transfer window history
First of all, it’s probably right to say that the January transfer window is not the ideal time to be doing business. Prices are inflated and it’s difficult to integrate players in to the team. In the last few January transfer windows, Spurs have only really been active in signing either players on loan, aging veterans or young talent that wasn’t quite ready for the first team.
Last year saw us bring in Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen on loan, whilst we signed Iago Falque on a permanent deal. In January 2011 we brought in Steven Pienaar, Bongani Khumalo and Massimo Luongo. Eidur Gudjohnsen arrived on loan in January 2010 with Younes Kaboul coming back on board for £4 million.
You have to go back to 2009 for our busiest and arguably most active window in recent times, where we splashed £42 million after the sale of Dimitar Berbatov. Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe returned to the club for £27 million of that, whilst Pascal Chimbonda, Wilson Palacios and Carlo Cudicini made up the rest.
Just like in that window, Spurs have money from selling a marquee player after Luka Modric left for Madrid. After missing out on several targets in the summer, Daniel Levy really has to be seen to be backing his manager in the January transfer window, but will he?
Areas to strengthen in the January transfer window
The injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto has seen Spurs having to stretch their defenders. Jan Vertonghen has had to move over from the centre, but he struggles against genuine pace as we’ve seen when up against Nani and Maicon.
Kyle Naughton has also helped out despite naturally being a right back. He did a good job against sides like Reading, but struggled when up against the better teams.
The question for Spurs here is whether to go for a first choice left back, or whether to find an able young protégé who can be brought through over the next season or so?
We’ve been linked with a move for French U21 defender Massadio Haidara that would definitely be in the latter category and this is the way I see us going. BAE is only 28 and still has much to give the side, which he was a fixture of until getting injured.
Haidara would be a good fit, but another player we could look to bring in is Danilo Avelar of Cagliari, who at 23 is also in this category. Avelar is a very good interceptor and tackler, as well as being adept at getting forward and likes to cross the ball. The Brazilian would make a good foil for Gareth Bale in tandem down the left.
If we were looking for an able backup to BAE, then why not try going after Chievo’s Boukary Drame? The Senegalese international is strong in the tackle and reads the play well to intercept opposition passes. In possession, he is a very good passer who doesn’t turn the ball over often and with his contract being up in the summer, should be available for a decent price.
Clint Dempsey has kind of been thrust in to this role even though he would be better deployed in one of the wider forward positions. The American is showing signs of coming to terms with this role, but is not used to playing with his back to goal and gets the nod due to his aerial ability that Jermain Defoe lacks.
We’ve been linked with Christian Eriksen, but the Dane has said that he wants to become a more consistent player before leaving Ajax.
If that is the case, then other targets we could look at include one of my favourite players, Isco. The Spaniard was reportedly watched several times last season by Tim Sherwood, but since Malaga’s Champions League success, he will now be on the radar of a number of teams.
Miralem Pjanic would be a versatile option who can play in an advanced midfield role, or as a wide forward in a 4-3-3. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international has an eye for a pass as well as a shot from distance, but has struggled since his move from Lyon.
Kevin Strootman is another player I’d like to see us go after in the January transfer window. The Dutchman plays slightly deeper, but would make a fluid interchangeable midfield with Sandro and Moussa Dembele. He has a touch of the Dembele’s about him with his surging runs from a deeper position, but he has more of an eye for a goal and a key pass than the Belgian.
The injury to Gareth Bale at the weekend highlighted how many games he and Aaron Lennon are having to play and how thin we are on wide forwards.
Adam Johnson would have been an ideal signing in the summer, but he chose his hometown Sunderland. We have been linked with Willian, who can play either as a wide forward or in the centre, but with Chelsea and Man City now sniffing around, we seem to have missed our opportunity.
Miralem Pjanic can play in both roles, as can Alan Dzagoev who plays on the right of three forwards for Russia, but his price tag may be a tad too hefty.
With Gareth Bale out for a couple of weeks, Clint Dempsey may get moved over to the side where he had so much success for Fulham. Dempsey would also make a good switch for Lennon on the right as well.
Where do Spurs need to strengthen in the January transfer window?
There are really two key areas for me that need strengthening ahead of anything else in the January transfer window.
Firstly a full back to play the left side while Benoit Assou-Ekotto is out. Massadio Haidara would be one for the future, but a player like Boukary Drame would solve the need now and for a Daniel Levy style price.
Secondly, we need an attacking midfielder, so that we can use Clint Dempsey as a wide forward. Miralem Pjanic would be the most versatile, but I’d really like to see Kevin Strootman alongside Moussa Dembele.
If you could strengthen one area of the team in the January transfer window, what would it be and who would you bring in?