The good, the bad and the ugly

 

Some filler whilst I crush ice and pour myself some rum and wait for one of those announcement things that the official site occasionally shares. First article was published on Club Metro a couple of weeks back. It was meant to go live here, didn't, so here is much ado about nothing followed by some non-ground breaking thoughts on the left-back 'mare.

 

The hope doesn't just kill, it murders

Away from the World Cup, not a lot is happening. Jake Livermore signed for Hull City permanently. Michael Dawson and Gylfi Sigurdsson are being linked with moves away whilst the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Paulinho are talking positively about their new club manager having previously suggested unhappiness and discomfort with remaining at the club. Having knee-jerked initially post-Tim Sherwood that some of the damage caused by our managerial upheaval last season would force a transfer request or two, only Hugo Lloris remains as the final player to confirm his loyalty to the Spurs soap opera.

Tottenham are more than likely going to retain the spine of the squad with Pochettino avoiding major surgery. Although a couple of bionic feet could come in handy. Erik Lamela and the continued link to a move back to Italy has quietened down along with Sandro's alleged deal to Napoli. Until the moon falls and the sun rises and the move is back on for another day.

The most likely players to be shifted on are the ones that won't have us crying into our pillows at night. The fringe players, those deemed not quite up to scratch. But then again its difficult to make assumptions when Pochettino himself has yet to work with the squad and make decisions on who to keep. Livermore suited far better at Hull where he will get games compared to the congested midfield pecking order at Spurs. Nabil Bentelab (one of Sherwood's brighter moments as interim coach) displaying passion and maturity for Algeria in the World Cup that I'm sure will impress Pochettino who has a decent handle on developing youth to first team regulars.

I've been thinking about drafting up a 'top five player' list of potential transfer targets and for the first time in years I can't even get past two suggestions. I think last seasons summer spending spree has left me mentally scarred, what with the excitement the new breed injected into the club at the point of pen to paper. Magnificent seven? More like the good, the bad and the ugly. The obvious drainage of all hope and ambition that followed was the cruellest of twists as practically (almost) every one of them suffered before one or two eventually settled. The rest will get their chance to do just that this season whilst the hope is they all collectively pull this club in the right direction.

I'd love a left-back (more on that below). I'd love a young goal-keeper to deputise for Lloris whilst Brad Friedel edges closer to a coaching role. A new forward is dependent on the futures of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado. Harry Kane to get more games? Lamela (cliché klaxon) will practically be like a new signing. Dembele might finally find a role in the side that encompasses his talent rather than drown it out. Vlad Chiriches and Vertonghen could do with getting to know each other at centre-back. Nacer Chadli - wide or central? Paulinho - box to box, not defensive. As for Christian Eriksen...build the midfield around him.

In some ways, this new season feels like it should be the season we could have had last season. It's the hope that kills, right?

 

Pass the debauchery on the left-hand side

Pre-season is here with the World Cup edging towards the semi-final stage. Our attention will soon be completely focused on Tottenham Hotspur. We've seen little recent activity aside from releasing some youth players and saying goodbye to Jake Livermore. The Ben Davies to Spurs story appears to be the first substantiated transfer story making it more than just a rumour.

Currently Swansea are holding out for more money. Which is understandable as Davies is highly rated and we're utterly desperate to solidify the left-back position. Although we'll need a couple of left-backs just in case, what with injuries and the Europa League. Unless Zeki Fryers is perceived as a trustworthy back-up.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto's time as Tottenham's cult figure has long gone thanks to a loss of form, his social media pokes of the tongue at Andre Villas-Boas and his general lack of ability to even make the grade at QPR. He was much maligned at Spurs, famously criticised by Alan Hanson on Match of the Day but he proved most wrong with consistent and occasional positive maverick displays. He worked as part of a functioning left-side and supported and defended well. Add to it his contradictory philosophy on football, here was a player that didn't love the game but loved the fact he could make money from it. Upfront, honest and his own man. The anti-modern footballer.

Perception can change very quickly.

Once his form deserted him, thanks to a prolonged injury layout, the love was lost. The debacle around AVB and then the controversy with supporting Nicolas Anelka over the quenelle incident left him in no man's land and left us still in need for a long term replacement.

Danny Rose showed promise out on loan at Sunderland but was overwhelmed when given the role at Spurs. His mistakes were costly and the lad looks uncomfortable, be it positioning or  composure. Can he be developed? Are we too quick to dismiss potential?

Kyle Walker had a great spell at Aston Villa, impressed with us on his return (with a fair share of youthful mistakes) and then was completely drained, physically and mentally before returning to a more balanced state of mind.

I'm still uncertain if the issue for many of our players dipping in and out of form has been the tactic and positioning of the team and how players support each other and the space ahead of them in transition when pushing forward or defending.

Or maybe, like Rose, they'll struggle to make the grade because they don't have the mental fortitude for it.

Davies looks the part but then he's never stuck on a Spurs shirt and had the pressures of wearing it haunt him. I'm looking at Mauricio Pochettino and his developmental skills to make sure he slots in just fine. If the deal goes ahead.

The left-back positions are a little cursed at Spurs. All we can do is favour patience. But then we struggle to make the grade with that all the time.

 

via Club Metro