Answer to forward conundrum must not take us backwards
Spurs down to 5th. Harry out.
In all seriousness (because I’m in a serious kinda mood), we are creeping ever closer to our old friend, the January transfer window, amidst all the hullabaloo of Harry and that marquee signing he (and Daniel) are apparently desperately itching to sign. It’s been the theme of the season, the slow brooding arc hiding in the shadows whilst the players we do have, parading with pomp in Lilywhite, get on with swaggering, swashbuckling and spurring their way onwards.
I’ve got a lot of time for Harry and what he does. He takes players, some broken others forgotten, and rejuvenates them. BAE and Bale two perfect examples. And even Hutton what with this recent realisation that discipline and positioning is vital to Lennon up ahead of him. He works his magic, via hugs I guess. Broken players are fixable. However, some of his transfer targets have at times been questionable. I cite Joe Cole, but then who knows what Cole would have brought to the team. Hardly a thing I expect as he tends to spend most of his time on the sidelines. van der Vaart was on ‘the list’ but you get the feeling we got lucky thanks to circumstance. Not that I’m complaining. I’m certain even on form Cole would not have come anywhere near producing what vdV does. Rafa is not just about the skills with his feet but more so about the mental strength and focus he brings to the side, which rubs off on other players. Master-stroke signing. And a lucky escape. Even though the fact of the matter is - it wasn't our first choice.
Goes to show what one world class player can bring to the table. And how others begin to click because of it. So what about the arrival of new blood in the new year?
We’re going to sell players, I’m sure of it. Decrease the wage bill, earn us a bit of wedge. What is certain is that consolidation is positively screaming out for attention. The Prem is wide open and what with our strength in depth, another player of similar ilk to vdV playing, dare I suggest, up front ahead of the Dutchman sitting in the hole – well, this would surely dilate the pupils and make hairs stand on back of neck, jigging and smoking Cuban cigars.
Momentum (sorry, I’m boring myself with repeatedly going back to this) is the key. There is no runaway leader(s) or packs. Other than a slight, ever so slight, gap beginning to appear just below us which might suggest last season’s top five will be repeated this season. But in what order?
If we’re going to stick around in the upper tier then we need to be clinical. We are doing so much right at the moment in terms of the midfield scoring a decent quota of goals. And sure, we need to keep more clean sheets and continue to win more games at home. But we certainly need to be scoring more as a general rule. And I know it’s the chicken and the egg in terms of actually creating the chances in the first instance, but place a world class striker in the team and watch how much easier it will be to do just that. It’s nothing that needs deep theoretical thought. Imagine say a twenty five year old Drogba up top for us. Woof, no?
Don’t ask me who our saviour will be because I don’t know (Carroll the most likely). I will say this – Spurs, Levy and Harry will sign the right player if we are looking for the right player in the forward position. It’s an assumption we are all making based on what we all know. Keane is spent, Pav scores but can offer too little at times and Crouch is better in defence than attack.
Harry has mentioned names in the past, but I tend to associate any talk at press conferences as the usual misinformation/deflection tactic. The recent Dzeko comments make me wonder if Harry is playing games and perhaps looking at one of Eastland’s ‘rejects’ (if City want to play ball this time round). Hopefully not on both accounts.
Regardless of all the forward talk, the one constant has been midfielder Scott Parker. Not a forward, a midfielder, obviously. Not a defensive midfielder (we have a couple of them already) but a robust ‘engine room’ type of box to box blah blah blah...haven’t we already got Jenas? So why the continuous linkage with the supposed Spurs fan who has already rejected us twice?
And here’s the conflict I have with this in terms of our gaffer and his initial stance on his first choice transfers. Harry does things, you scratch your head and question it and in the end he justifies it. If he thinks Parker could do a job then why question it? Even if all logic points to our already quite congested midfield pool. Personally, I don’t want us going anywhere near the player. And West Ham feel the same and he’s hardly ‘marquee’. But much like the Joe Cole saga before he did us a favour and signed for Liverpool, you wonder what Harry is looking for and how much of it is reactionary as opposed to planned (i.e. vdV and 451). If he doesn't get his man it's hardly been a disaster, has it? But this time round we need to be absolutely certain that the player(s) we sign is a perfect fit that doesn't cause ripples of regret when we look to fit him into the team.
So we await. In an ideal world, I’d sign a forward and another DM. Even with the wealth we have already in that congested middle order, even though I’ve downplayed the Parker obsession and even though Wilson is picking up form. Two world class players to our current side and, pinch yourself, we could even finish top three. And that ain’t the rum talking.
Of course, some might say why spend money on yet another forward that is meant to be the answer but might turn out to be a little too apologetic in performance (much like a certain Russian). But then Harry and Levy are more than aware that second best is not going to be a satisfactory option if there are viable targets out there that we could sign to take us to that next level.
Next month is going to be massive for us. No pressure then. But I won’t obsess too much. For me, and probably for you too, all we can ask for is continued form in the league and more points (cause they mean prizes).
New blood will only make us stronger. We're unlikely to make a wrong judgement with so much at stake. I have faith. So it's all good. Roll on 2011.
Spooky recommends...All-conquering Englishman spurs his way across Europe
Having blagged his way into a Barcelona FC press conference...
"My fantasy interview was cut short by someone entering the room talking on a mobile phone. I turned to see who it was and couldn’t believe my eyes. Xavi, all 5’7” of him (he’s a littl’un) was standing beside me having a chat to someone, probably his girlfriend, telling her he would be home for dinner soon and could she make sure there were a few San Miguels in the fridge. He glanced at me with a look that said,
“Who the **** are you?” and I nodded a greeting his way. He then looked down at the cockerel on my chest and sighed the kind of sigh that I knew meant, “If only they would put in a bid for me. I would love to play for Spurs one day.”
He finished his conversation and left me alone once again."