The clock is ticking and 5pm Tuesday (transfer deadline) is a breath away. Prior to Luka Modric’s injury, top of our list was a central midfielder to cover any potential loss (suspension or injury) to Wilson Palacios. Jamie O’Hara is out on loan and God forbid we lost our Honduran panther because we’d be left with a powder-puff centre, softer than a Will Young chorus. Jenas and Huddlestone can share (battle for) the spot beside Palacios. Gio can cover the left and Bentley the right. But there’s no one else.
You’d think this would have been a priority at the start of the transfer window. And with a day and a bit left to go before it shuts, we don’t have Wilson protection insurance. So what are the chances we have someone lined up? Only hope is that Levy has been busy working away on targets for a while now, and just waiting on the green light.
Sissoko? Sandro? Muntari?
Sissoko has been outpriced by his club.
Sandro would need to adapt to England. But is big, physical and can play a bit. And we’re now best buddies with his club, so a deal is not impossible to fathom.
Muntari might work, and is no stranger to Harry. But is he simply a more accomplished version of Zokora?
Adding to the transfer conundrum is what we do about covering Luka’s absence. Fracture to his fibula, no surgery just an aircast protective boot to fix him up. This equates to 4-6 weeks out, although we might need to add on another couple of weeks on top for match fitness (unless the magic of the aircast is accounted for within the 6 week prediction). So worst case scenario he’ll miss the Man Utd, Chelsea, Preston, Burnley and Bolton. Five games. Six if you add Stoke. Maybe that’s drunk optimism, but it doesn’t look that bad now, does it? Sure, not having him fit to unlock the Utd and Chelsea defence is a massive blow. But if we – the ones with Top 6 aspirations – cannot turn it on without one key player missing then let’s just settle for 8th spot and make do without the wonderfully nervous anticipation that comes with competing.
Yesterday, I posed questions about how to compensate for the loss of Luka. The tabloids and message boards are crying out for Petrov and the insane for van der Vaart. Problem with signing someone, anyone, is that when Moddle is back, we’ll have quite a few players in the mix of it and even more unrest with those sitting on the bench. Harry knows if Gio can do a job on the left or whether playing Lennon there and Bentley on the right will genuinely prove to be productive. If Spurs signed a player of van der Vaart’s quality (unlikely this close to the end of the transfer window) then when Luka is back, the whole balance of the midfield would have to evolve to accommodate the two of them. Does that sound like a logical solution in reply to a six week layoff?
Would signing Petrov (cheap, experienced and probably won’t mind a bit of squad rotation) or Kranjcar as additions to the squad rather than a stop-gap break up squad harmony or work well in the long run, making sure cover and depth is always available? But then cover is there already.
Players like Bentley, Gio and the soon to return Jenas have to be given the chance to step up and aid the team. So if we want to cover the left, then we should do so with what we’ve got. Otherwise, it’s a waste of resource and money.
Between now and Tuesday 5pm, the priority should simply be another central midfielder.
As for the Luka conundrum, Harry knows best. He might not fancy Gio fullstop, regardless of our calls to give him a chance. Bentley is still subject to transfer whorage that he’ll be on his way. If that’s the case, then a cheap option of Petrov (for example) would be ok (if he avoids injury). Someone has to leave IMO for someone to come in. Maybe the work has been done already and all that’s needed is for Levy to get the go-ahead from Harry to push ahead with whatever it is they’ve agreed with in principle.
Has to be decisive and has to work when everyone’s fully fit.
Brace yourselves either way.