Good weekend? Just a week away now, and it all kicks off again. Another season of Tottenham. How many times will Harry say 'Triffic'? Will we tally up more than two points from the opening eight games? With all the hype on Man City and with people expecting Villa and Everton to continue their good form from last season, can we quietly sustain a challenge for a top 6 place without the usual over-hyped nonsense that drowns us by Christmas? Exciting times.
Before we look forward, here's a round-up of the latest bits and pieces:
So basically, AC Milan are interested in signing our jinxed left-back. His agent appears to be the only one doing the talking because I've seen nothing to suggest the player wants a move and I've yet to see a single quote from anyone involved with the Milan giants concerning a bid for our monkey-faced star. Just his agent, spouting out contradictory rubbish. On the one hand he states that no transfer has been talked about and then goes on to say that the figures circulating are correct. Right, so basically, nobody is or has discussed a transfer which means the figures being referred to are either the ones in his head or the ones that tabloids have estimated when covering this complete non-event of a story. Isn't Bale currently recovering from an op? Next.
We are no longer interested in signing Young, so says Harry, who has given up because Villa simply won't sell and he'll cost a fair amount of wedge. Two good reasons I guess. Still, I can never quite trust our gaffer because it always seems like he's playing mind games, and not the subtle type either. The very fact he said what he said might be his way of deflecting attention back onto a possible transfer by suggesting it won't happen when his intentions is to try and force it back out into the open. Especially if you are inclined to believe Young wants to return to London.
Do we need a left-winger? I reckon it would be nice to have one and be able to mix it up a little with Modric pairing up with Palacios in the middle. Give us options and allows us to be a little less predictable depending on the opposition and how we plan to line-up offensively. £21M is apparently the price fee. Inexplicably, Real Madrid would part with Wesley Sneijder for a measly £16M.
I guess if the £21M is a genuine estimation Villa have tagged Young with, its only because they think (hope) City would pay it. Sneijder has been linked with Villa, which has me scratching my head that if all of this was true, shouldn't we be the ones linked with the Dutch star? And how the English winger can be valued higher than the brilliant Wesley, leaves me dizzy with confusion. Back to reality, I doubt he'd ever consider a non-Champions League club. Such is modern day football.
Believe the hype or not to believe the hype? This kid is meant to be pretty bloody good. A player in the mould of Desailly, according to some. Strong, decent tackle (ooh) and has the type of drive and determination that would suit us perfectly - because we need players who lead by example. His passing isn't quite there yet, but he's young and he'll improve. Now, I've not seen that much of him and like most fans, when it comes to being linked with a player outside the Prem or in a league that you don't follow on a regular occurrence, you have to rely on others to give you the low-down. We tend to fall in love with some players when having little knowledge about them and then start to believe we need them more than the air we breathe and then feel completely empty if they don't sign (anyone remember the dramatics of the Diego transfer saga and the ITK's obsession with Dirk Kuyt?).
I'd like us to sign Sissoko because if Palacios is out injured or suspended, we can do with a player of almost equal standing (sorry Jamie). An understudy who can also give us extra steel in midfield. The main gripe, if you want to have a gripe, is that the above description of Sissoko is not too dis-similar to one you would use to describe General Wilson. So is he really the type of player we need as an answer to the 'we need one more CM to complete our squad depth' conundrum? Or should we be looking at his more Carrickesque team-mate Etienne Capoure? Looking at our current set of players, I'd say Sissoko is the better option, simply because he is similar to Palacios. Harry fancies Tommy Huddlestone and our quarterback looks like he will be getting a chance to prove his worth to the side - as an offensive CM. Along with the returning Kevin Prince Boateng who has a second chance to impress. And although I tend to believe that all the Patrick Vieira stories spouted by our manager are nothing more than distractions and disinformation, I do believe Harry wants to bring in a CM. Just as much as a LW. But from the looks of it, we'll only be getting one or the other.
Although considering Bentley and his latest tunnel sulk, there might be time to go back and test Martin O'Neill with a cheeky swap deal.
No reason to read too much into this, much like any other pre-season friendly, other than to probably say our players look fit and sharp (and hopefully in mind as well as body) and the Greeks looked rather poor. All eyes on Bassong, who did well and will no doubt grow in stature when partnered alongside King of Woodgate. Heavy touch on occasion and a moment or two of stalling on the ball that could well be costly, but reading too much into his performance would be a knee-jerk too far. Bentley disappearing down the tunnel the other talking point. More on that in a moment.
No Woody, Daws, Bale or Jenas available for the game on Sunday. All out injured. Palacios and Hutton were both away on international duty. Hopefully Luka going off (with a foot knock) was more precautionary than anything.
Defoe looks to be up for it and impressively, so does Pav who displayed some neat touches and finished with confidence for his goal. All smiles on the Russians face, let's hope he takes the swagger into the season proper and proves the doubters wrong. Moddle and Lennon are obviously key to our attack, providing the type of swashbuckling that we love to see dazzle in Lilywhite.
Huddlestone was a little on the quiet side and Crouch was at the end of far too much of the route one. When Harry said he gives us another options, I hope this isn't the only other option. KPB looks to be back in with first team contention. Or maybe it was option rather than options, which might prove to be an issue months from now (fingers crossed it isn't). Keane, the kid Danny Rose and O'Hara were all OK, nothing special.
King was the King in his 45 mins cameo appearance and should be fit for 90 minutes against Liverpool, but a no-show in the following game against Hull in mid-week.
The one blip was David Bentley who looks to now be the quintessential outcast. The jigsaw piece that doesn't quite fit, presumably because it belongs to another set. It's a shame that most think he's over-rated and is a victim of his own ego, thanks to all the 'Next Beckham' hype that followed him from Blackburn to Spurs. The main problem (much like the Darren Bent) is - where does he actually fit into the Spurs team? Not the right-wing, because that belongs to Lennon. So can he play in CM? Doubtful as I don't think he has the combative skills to survive there and as he constantly attempts to do too much, he'll probably be steamrolled by any half-decent opposition. Behind the front two? Possibly, but it's not his natural position is it?
I don't mind Bentley and regardless of whatever personal issues he had last season, the fact is he has to start showing some grit and determination when selected for Spurs. One thing lacking is confidence. Still lacking. Which is frustrating for the player (hence the substitution and moody response to it) and frustrating for the fans. Because of expectations, it's easy to be fickle. But let's try not to be. It's unlikely he'll be sold on (unless something last minute involving Young occurs) so Bentley needs to dig deep and sort out his crossing and set-pieces and show some of the Becks spirit of never say die, rather than apologetically go out on whimper. I want him to succeed and I want him to do so at Spurs. But it's a paradox, because his best chance of doing so would be with him patrolling the right-wing. Lickle Aaron probably won't let him come anywhere near it.
Livermore has gone to Derby (which was expected after he posted about it on his Facebook). Talking of which, the club have apparently asked all the player to disclose all the online social networks they frequent and that a representative at Spurs has access to all accounts to make sure that nothing embarrassing (club related) is shared in the public domain. Bit of ITK I got over the weekend, but not sure how true this is and the fact that Woody's Twitter account disappeared soon after the Bent farce I get the impression Spurs have actually gone for a more zero tolerant attitude.
Newcastle are meant to be in discussions with us over a couple of loan deals for 'our kids'. dos Santos? Dervitte? Rose? Obika? Naughton? Hopefully it's not the latter because he looks good enough to mix it up in the top-flight. The rest can do with a loan spell and dos Santos (with his apparent disciplinary issue) can do with proving everyone wrong and save himself from a permanent transfer or sealing one. With Livermore gone, I'm hoping Bostock isn't a player we are looking at loaning out. Kid's got talent and he should be slowly introduced to first team action, in the Prem. With Adel already out at QPR, we need to have a least one 'kid with talent' eyeing the first eleven.