So apparently, Daniel Levy does not envisage the club being very active cometh the Jan transfer window, although he suggests that if opportunities arise we'll take note - but shouldn't expect any net spending. And to dizzy up the quotes further he's reassured Harry that there will be no disruption to the core team. To quote Mr Chairman:
"Having a settled squad gives us the best chance for consistency. We are striving for top-level displays, including the ability to take on and beat the so-called top four teams."
I'm thankful we have proven top 4 players like Robbie Keane in the squad. And Gerrardesque midfielders such as Jenas box to boxing their way up and down the pitch, when he's not sitting on the bench watching Huddlestone do the same thing. Well, not do the same thing pound-for-pound. Hudd has no need for speed. He lets the ball do all the running. Mobility is for people with no footballing brain. But midfield semantics aside, we're good to go. We've got a back four unit, robust and sturdy, a mixture of youth and experience. Mostly youth at the moment. And we have cover for our midfield enforcer. He's at Pompey, but should be back with us in no time. We've got no true cover for our little wing wizard, but that's fine, because he won't get injured. And as for our forward line-up (did I mention Robbie Keane?) we've got the master of scoring goals in bursts and breaking the offside trap (Defoe) and the perfect foil (Crouch) when our players forget tactics and resort to hoofing the ball. And let's not be forgetting the soon-to-be-back-in-Lilywhite, Luka Modric. Who I guess in essence will be akin to a brand spanking new signing. Maybe we could have a press conference and pretend we've just signed him to make up for the despondency that there will not be a £15M transfer splurge on new blood when 2010 tick tocks into our lives.
Consistency equates to beating the so-called top four teams. Who are so-called top four because they finish in the top four positions. I made that connection all on my own. And we've had consistency this season, be it with missing players (due to injuries) and an ever-changing back-four line-up and erratic forwards which has given us a consistent set of results. 3-1, 3-0, 3-0. Zero points. Against three of the top four. The other one doesn't count because everyone is beating them.
So enjoy your Christmas presents because we wont be unwrapping too much in the way of surprises when the window reopens. Other than Sandro. Because Harry mentioned we're interested and the chairman is working towards a deal. Oh, and we're going to need to add a little in the way of depth when replacing Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley. They're not core players. We hardly ever play them. And they're not very good. And for the sake of avoiding egg on face (or perhaps managing to wipe away the egg currently on face) the club will need to recover something from their self-pitying stays in N17. And we all know Bentley is a certainty to go after his show-boating antics in a Spurs friendly game that infuriated Harry. You'll have seen it doing the rounds today. A few days after the story was posted and shared in various message boards. You know the one. The one where Harry tells David he's going to get rid of him. DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM-DA-DADUM.
Let's hope we get a good price for a cluttered Bentley with a dodgy engine and hanging fuzzy dice.
I can't keep this up anymore.
There is no story here. We've obviously not got bundles of cash to spunk wastefully on players. Mainly because we've already spunked it. On wasteful players. We're letting people know indirectly (directly) we have no intention of over-spending (breaking a habit of a life-time here).
The main backbone of the side is good enough to sustain some sort of challenge. As good a challenge that a club like Spurs (non-Champions League and non-Sheik owned) can prepare for. It's the meat around the bones that needs beefing up. And it's guaranteed that anybody who is deemed malignant will be removed with swift and necessary surgery.
The money will be there to spend once we streamline the squad, we just don't need to be mentalists about it. A defensive midfielder is needed (Sandro the obvious target). A centre-back (long-term solution to the Ledley King conundrum) should also be discussed in-house. Unless you think a back four of BAE - Bassong - Dawson - Corluka will work without a commanding, leading presence to guide them (Daws is 26 years old, but lacks sustained experience). Perhaps a goalkeeper too. For cover, nothing more. Other solutions will involve development rather than throwing money at it to make it work (i.e. Bale - is he a left-back or a left-midfielder and can he cover BAE's absence when he leaves for the African Nations Cup?).
The backbone of the side will suffer no major trauma (which means key players - yes, Robbie Keane is a key player) will stay put. So it's not exactly breaking news that selling to buy is going to be the tactic here. And that there is no need for massive massive signings.
If you think back to 2006, what we failed to do is bulk up in Jan (didn’t we sign Ghaly?) and had we, we might well have wrapped up 4th spot long before the saboteur broke into the hotel and coughed germs all over the players soon to be eaten dinner. Levy knows already (thanks to Harry's complaints a while back about the lack of midfield depth) that we need consolidation in that area. Ignoring Robbie Keane's shout-out about how strong our bench is, we all know the reality is rather different. We don’t have enough in reserve.
Expect a post-Christmas cracker. We'll sign what we need, nothing more, nothing less and then it's all down to the manager and the players to believe and work hard. Qualities that might prove to be priceless in the long run.