As is usual at this time of year, many players have been linked with Tottenham in the media frenzy for transfer news. Rumours abound but after sixteen days how much progress have Spurs made with regard to strengthening Andre Villas-Boas’ squad for the remainder of the season and in removing some of the players who are surplus to requirement from the wage bill?
HotspurHQ looks at Tottenham’s transfer activity over the past sixteen days and speculates on what is liable to happen before the end of January.
The month and Tottenham’s transfer business got off to a bright start with early announcements on the signing of two young players for the future.
Zeki Fryers, a left-sided defender, who had been on trial with Tottenham during the summer, was signed from Standard Liege for £3 million. Having been with Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson was infuriated that Spurs had signed Fryers after only four months in Belgium. Fryers has joined up with Tottenham’s Development squad and played a couple of games since joining including this week’s Under-21 fixture against Wolves which Spurs won 5 – 1.
Speaking on the Spurs website after that match he said,
“It’s been great so far, mixing in with the lads and the facilities here are great to learn and to get better. I’m very happy to be here.”
Lewis Holtby has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Tottenham from FC Schalke in the summer when his current contract comes to an end. A young, creative midfield player with Champions League experience, Holtby is captain of the German Under-21 team and will be with them at the European Under-21 Championships during the summer.
There were mixed comments on Holtby from the FC Schalke fans on their message-board. They obviously recognise his talent and potential but have concerns about him.
“Very hit and miss, more of the latter. Reminds me a bit of Joe Cole.’”
“Massive talent but lacking consistency. Move might be a bit soon, Cole comparison is spot on. I think he needs the right manager to massage his ego and press the right buttons to turn into one great footballer.”
“Lewis is a great football player and a big fighter… He has ups and downs but he’s fighting in all matches… Lewis is fast and can be a match winner for the team.”
“Holtby may be a talent but I think he is absolutely overrated. He’s suffering from overconfidence. Too young for the Premier League. He made 5 good matches this year, the rest only average.”
Two further issues have arisen since the first announcement of Holtby coming to White Hart Lane. FC Schalke have suggested that Holtby could complete his transfer during January, obviously trying to recoup a transfer fee now rather than have him leave in the summer at the end of his contract. Villas-Boas initially quashed rumours of him joining immediately but in today’s news, Duncan Castles reports that as a result of Sandro’s injury, he is trying to persuade Daniel Levy to complete the deal this month. Levy is unlikely to want to spend money when he can acquire a player for a greatly reduced training compensation fee in a few months time.
Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday, raised the matter of Everton trying to hi-jack Tottenham’s deal suggesting that the player wanted to go to Goodison Park as his English-born father was an Everton supporter.
Three players with whom Tottenham have been linked look unlikely to be coming to White Hart Lane. Wesley Sneijder looked to be going to Galatasaray in Turkey but has delayed completing the deal, possibly hoping to seal a move to the Premier League. Liverpool and Manchester United are thought to be interested in signing the experienced Dutch player from Inter Milan.
Loic Remy may finally come to play in the Premier League. He was a player who has been linked with Spurs over a number of transfer windows, having attracted the attention of Harry Redknapp during his time as Tottenham manager. It now looks as if Remy could be joining up with Redknapp but not at Tottenham but at Queen’s Park Rangers.
Wilfried Zaha, the Crystal Palace winger, was mentioned earlier in the month as a potential Tottenham target but Manchester United are favourites to sign him, according to a Tweet posted by Zaha himself.
Tottenham’s requirements have not altered. They are in need of a creative midfield player and with Emmanuel Adebayor away to the Africa Cup of Nations, a striker. The possible targets are Joao Moutinho from Porto, Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk, Leandro Damiao from Internacional and Fernado Llorente from Athletic Bilbao. Previous attempts to sign these players have floundered as negotiations have been very difficult to bring to a conclusion. They tend to drag on but without any real hope of success and with other clubs reported to be interested as well.
This time there is an additional problem in that Tottenham, while linked with these players through the media, may not be that interested in making a ‘star’ signing as finances are tight at the club with the plans for the development of the new stadium advancing. Daniel Levy tends to restrict the January pending, trusting in the players already available to the manager.
Carlo Cudicini has left Tottenham and signed for LA Galaxy but there are other player who Tottenham would like to remove from their salary bill.
Last week, it had looked likely that Jake Livermore would go on loan to Queen’s Park Rangers. The injury to Sandro in last weekend’s game at Loftus Road and his operation today have probably scuppered that move as Spurs may need Livermore as cover in central midfield.
Fulham has been mentioned consistently as a possible destination for Tom Huddlestone while Spurs would like to complete the sale of two players who have been outsiders for some considerable period – Jermain Jenas and David Bentley.
Rest of January
The prospects of Tottenham making a major signing during the remainder of the month appear to be slim. Daniel Levy seems to be keeping a tight rein on spending with Tottenham in fourth and he is relying on the manager to continue the good work that got the team into a position to challenge for next season’s Champions League. If a signing is to be made it may well be on loan until the end of the season to cover in midfield or in attack.
This is the strategy employed by Levy in recent seasons when supporters would have preferred him to show greater ambition and speculate on that star name to make a statement of the club’s intentions to challenge to get in there with the Manchester clubs and Chelsea rather than be satisfied with fourth and be the best of the rest.