Dr. Strangelevy (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the transfer window)
A guest blog by FORZA HUDDLESTONE (Far-Flung Correspondent)
The beauty of living on the East Coast of the U.S. is that by the time I stop procrastinating and roll out of bed for that first up of coffee, transfer news in England is a few hours old. What better way to greet the day than read what Tottenham Hotspur hasn't done today?
To be fair, the transfer window hasn't actually opened yet so there is nothing Spurs could have finalized already. But let's not be naive.
When Spurs (and by extension, chairman Daniel Levy) want a player, the groundwork is pretty much done by now. An agreement to sign Dimitar Berbatov was reached in May 2006 and again in place to acquire Luka Modric in May 2008. Even the pursuit of Jan Vertonghen was well under-way by this time last summer (the groundwork was laid during the window the previous January).
If there was a player Tottenham was hot after, we'd probably all be in the know. The Spurs headlines so far have been a near-endless series of non-stories about why Gareth Bale is not yet in Madrid. (Is anyone else waiting to hear that keeping Bale is just like a new signing?)
Spurs could be waiting to confirm the hiring of Franco Baldini as some kind of sporting director before chasing transfer targets. Makes sense. (If you were hiring a high-profile sporting director, wouldn't you want to throw him a bone this way?)
In the meantime, all we have is the list of players whose contracts have expired and will not be back. (No more David Bentley? Again, like a new signing!)
The morning Twitter feeds today are devoid of Spurs transfer news (though my own feed has a fairly small group I follow). Similarly, the message boards (or the one I follow daily) have nothing but the usual commentary about existing pursuits – Leandro Damaio (who may or may not even exist by this point) and various wonderkids. Not very satisfying.
So why worry at all?
Baldini probably has his own transfer targets, but the papers can hardly report on them because Spurs have yet to make his hiring official.
For the first time in a few summers I can remember, Spurs go into the transfer window without an obvious transfer target, a player whose acquisition had a bit of inevitability to him (like, say, Stewart Downing or Joao Moutinho). I'm of course discounting Damiao completely – if he were coming, negotiations would be well under-way, or at least farther along than at present.
It makes for a quiet ITK summer. As Jeremy Irons said in the movie Margin Call, “Standing here tonight, I'm afraid that I don't hear a thing. Just silence.”
But it's also quite liberating. Aren't Christmas presents more exciting when you don't know what's under the wrapping?
We all want the inside information about who will become the next name and number to go on the back of our shirts, but how much of all supposed ITK information ever comes to fruition anyway?
Instead, I'll wait for that first big transfer. Patiently, if possible. I'll keep tabs on what's out there or if there are new names without ever obsessing over it. There is always a big summer target. Even the disastrous 2008 Berba-out, Frazier Campbell-in window gave us Modric. Last summer, as many were steaming that Levy didn't properly support AVB in the transfer market, Spurs acquired Vertonghen, Lloris, Sigurdsson and Dempsey. (Mind you, I'm not defending Levy, just pointing out what he has has done, even as it was unsatisfying at the time.)
If some of this summer's whispers that have been floated are accurate – Damiao, Bernard, etc. – I won't have heard of some of these targets or at least not seen them play.
For now, we must live with the notion that for the first time since appointing Jacques Santini as manager/coach and Frank Arnesen as technical director, Levy is close to assembling his next dream team. (Think about it: Every manager-coach combo since Santini-Arnesen has been a pairing of circumstance. Comolli was never the first choice as SD. Jol was never meant to be manager. If AVB-Baldini happens, it's the first time in nearly a decade Levy has had his top-ish choices to run his club.)
Hopefully, this all means Levy has realized he isn't a football man and is letting the adults – sorry, the people he's hired to run his football club – handle the heavy lifting.
That would be enough for me. That would be just like a summer signing. Wake me on Sept. 1. Don't give me a weird look when I ask who that strange face is wearing our No. 9 shirt.
I guess, in other words, “Chill, Levy's got this.” And I can't believe I just typed that.