No, pinch me again. Harder this time.
For the love of God man, slap me across the face until I wake up from this utopian dream-scape! I crave reality and its harsh vastness of broken dreams. I want to return to earth.
What? I'm not dreaming?
I think I need a moment or two to compose myself.
We're meant to be emotional wrecks, unable to hold back tears as our talismanic forward Gareth Bale preps for his departure to Real Madrid and yet all I seem to be doing is counting the new signings this glorious transfer window has bestowed on us.
We have been nothing short of magnificent.
Magnificent. That's some accolade. For us to lose Bale and for the entire saga to be relegated to a footnote, a caveat, thanks to the business Levy, Baldini and Villas-Boas have done in bolstering our squad in practically every single area that requires further depth of quality. I say practically because there's still time for more to arrive.
I'm still gutted Bale is leaving and the fickleness of being a football supporter means that it's not too difficult to work through those five stages of grief and then find yourself immersed in hype surrounding new players. We like to move on fairly quickly. We do so because, deep down we all know we never go away. We are Tottenham. The players are only Tottenham for the duration of the time they wear our shirt. Not to underplay it, some players can enrich our history and traditions. Bale will never be forgotten. However, he could have truly cemented himself in folklore had he remained. But that's for another parallel universe to enjoy.
We have no Bale. We're stuck with Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen.
I'll start with the latter.
Eriksen has not yet been confirmed, so unlike the pomp presented in written form for Willian, I'll hold back from my custom naked dance of jig in celebration until we have more concrete confirmation that the player is going to sign. It looks good at the moment. According to a variety of sources we've had a bid accepted and the player is discussing terms with the club.
Back in January I wrote this about the player (for an article citing potential transfer targets):
Christian Eriksen – Ajax – age 20. He’s an attacking midfielder. He’s a little bit brilliant. Fits the Levy mantra (he’s young and whatever we pay for him he’s likely to be worth double that in five years time). Could prove an easier and cheaper option than some of the more celebrated targets that are entertained this time of year. We need some creativity, some inventiveness. We’re lacking a spark. This Danish wonder-kid might be able to provide some.
I don't follow Dutch football to the degree of interest I follow La Liga and Serie A. My experience of Eriksen is Champions League football. One of the main issues that seems to surround his ability is wrapped in the hype that he generated during the 2010 World Cup and the expectations placed upon him where many believed he would elevate himself to super stardom. That never happened, but that isn't to say he hasn't progressed as a footballer. For a start, he's still a kid. 21 years of age. The problem of hype is everyone with those hedonistic expectations hoovered in anticipation whereas Eriksen has kept himself grounded.
Is he grounded because he can't improve any further? Or has he stagnated because he's remained in Holland? Or has he not stagnated at all with the critics being overly critical thanks to that expectation he promised?
He's played well without being consistently spectacular. But statistically (if that turns you on) he continues to score and assist. The split in opinion comes from people that (I'm guessing) have seen plenty of him.
Two schools of thought. One, he's not developed at that initial pace he displayed when he broke onto the scene. He's lightweight and positionally limited. The other is that people have been so critical of that lack of expected progression that they seem to believe he's over-rated, dismissive of the fact he's 21 years of age and has outstanding potential.
Eriksen is technically very good. Can pass, has pace, can play with both feet and creates. He needs a new lease of life and Spurs might be able to offer him that. It's really worth noting again...he's only 21.
I guess I have to trust AVB on this, as people that do follow the Eredivise are also split into two groups. I've been told he's wildly inconsistent, only plays well every so often. Then I'm told he's one of the best players in the league and for Ajax.
We need someone to provide that killer pass, that disguised through-ball. Can he fit into our 433? What does this mean for Sigurdsson? Will he rotate with Holtby? Will Carroll go out on loan?
Plenty of questions, all to be answered if...if he's signed.
As for El Coco? Roma have confirmed the transfer. Lamela has been quoted thanking their fans for his time there and looking ahead to his future at Spurs. We're still waiting for official word from Spurs. As per usual, running a bit late.
Now this guy is for me the quintessential Tottenham signing. If our other signings have been methodical requirements, Lamela is the glossy finish on the paint job. Proper box office footballer with the skills and trickery to back up the hype. A perfect antidote for the loss of Bale. Not similar players. Both in the same team would have been incredible. Instead, we're left with Erik and his own version of the heart celebration.
Plays out right, cuts in, scores. Dribbles (old skool). Is tough and elegant. Started out left for River Plate - so we've got someone who can perform across the pitch behind the forward - on both flanks or centrally (although based on his time at Roma, he'll start out wide and float inwards if required). A wonderful quote of his states that he '....plays wherever the coach wants me to play'. This is going to be exciting, seeing how he adapts into the English game and more so how we plan to use him.
He's Argentine. We have form for this sort of thing.
Roma fans absolutely devastated that he's been sold. Hand on heart, I'm actually shocked he's been sold. Another very young, highly talented and highly rated player with the world at his feet. A player that many are citing as one that can go on to be one of the best. I guess we should seek to retain our own feet on the ground. Much like the hype Eriksen was subjected too, we might need a touch of patience.
Kudos to Baldini on bagging Lamela (again). Eriksen is well worth the gamble. We've also got Vlad Chiricheș on his way (apparently he cried when Steaua initially rejected our first approach for him). A centre-back that can deputise at left-back.
We've required that creative spark and trickery. We might have competition for the number 10 role. That bit of magic, that something different to work along side the strength and midfield presence we have in abundance.
In both of these players we appear to have found the missing ingredients. We may need to slow cook before we're dished and treated to a feast, but there's no denying the table has been booked. Over to the head chef. Lasagne isn't an option.