Ok, this is getting a little ridiculous.
Willian and possibly even Erik Lamela. It gets crazier when you start doing the maths and work out our net spend is a fraction of any potential incoming injection from Real Madrid (once gloomy Bale shifts at some point towards the closure of our spending spree). Nice PR too, softens the blow. Bale would probably struggle to get into the team if he did stay.
If there was ever a season to go out and destroy the transfer window, this season was it.
Appoint a coach (in Andre Villas-Boas) then back him in his second season with money the club have hoarded thanks to the lack of spending under Redknapp. There is a real belief, a mission statement, a blueprint in the manner in which we've gone out and bought players. Not unexpected when Franco Baldini was appointed for that very reason. To support AVB and to make sure we have the right standard of players to challenge.
Add to it the threat that Arsenal (for all their pre-summer promises to their supporters) we're about to open their own war chest, we could hardly have dithered, what with Chelsea and Manchester City powering ahead of everyone in terms of new acquisitions to go on top of the players they already have in their first team and in reserve. The Premier League is highly competitive, but it's still in a slight flux of transition at the very top. No point waiting to see what will happen. Might as well endeavour to make it happen.
I got laughed at last season for suggesting our mantra should be 'aim as high as possible, aim for the title'. I was reminded we should best be aiming to finish about Arsenal first before stretching our dreams so far that not even the Sandman can retain lucidity.
We should aspire to do as well as we can and not concern ourselves with comparisons that only seek to hold us back. I'm not foolish to suggest we can actually win the league. Christ, let's wait and see how long it takes for these players to all bed in and for us to work on and correct the problems we had last season. But how can anyone not tingle in their private area at the prospect of new Spurs kicking on (and kicking everyone) this new season?
Remember that 3-2 loss up at Eastlands. What if? What if Defoe had scored? It's easy to dismiss our credentials based on, well based on everything that has ever happened. But if there's no self belief, tangible belief, then there's no necessity for too much emotion either. Aim to finish as high as we possibly can. It's that simple. If you're going to attempt to do so, you have to have something to back it up. I think we do.
We can't compete with their (Chelsea/City) money. The way we're spending, we've probably not gone past £30M net so far. Turns out we're the ones with the war chest full of gold. It's all very cool and calculated and it's the only option for a club that aspires to compete and challenge.
Whatever Levy and Lewis have done to accommodate the potential for increased wages, it's working (although I'd hazard a guess it has to do with selling players that will not be involved - and we had a fair few on a lot of money). This is positive. It's intent. It has to be embraced. Go on, snog the pants off it.
Giddy much? Don't fret. Feet on ground. What was vital for me is the manner in which we've gone about our business with decisiveness. Get it all done early, long before that cluster of a final day when edging towards the deadline.
The players signed excite me. Can't ask for much more than that.
Willian, in terms of transfer targets, is for certain one that fits the reoccurring complaint on this blog that we need a creative spark in the side. A player than can do that something extra, that something special. Can start out wide (on the left) and drift into central positions to carve and create. He's another beast of a player, strong and technical - exactly the ilk of players our midfield is now made of - with that added missing ingredient of much needed flair and trickery. I've not seen him play week in and week out. Most of knowledge is footage/match reports/journalists/writers. Not going to admit I know everything about him when I don't. But he can play. And Spurs might just offer him the platform to truly amplify his abilities (as opposed to Anzhi).
He doesn't score too many goals so anyone thinking this is a direct replacement for Gareth Bale, you'll be disappointed. However, much like no one replaced Luka Modric and Bale spearheaded us, Willian can give us something different but return back something that has been missing. AVB will be all smiles as the side *is* beginning to shape up into the 433 he loves to play, with inverted inverted wingers/playmakers adding pace and imagination to compliment the brute force down the middle.
Summer 1: Sigurdsson. Vertonghen. Dembele. Lloris. Holtby.
Summer 2: Paulinho. Chadli. Soldado. Capoue. Willian.
I love how we get excited by media speculation when it favours us, but ignore it when it involves Bale moving.
If Erik Lamela also signs for Tottenham (Roma officials supposedly in London for talks), it almost makes a mockery of the concern I had when I argued (earlier in the summer) that we would struggle to 'replace' Gareth Bale. Lamela (as previously discussed) does score goals, can dribble like a show-off and has scintillating pace sensational potential. Fits that swaggering, flair type of player we love at the Lane. Opens up a wonderful word of switching tactically for AVB with selection. Gives us depth of quality. Practically making us hipster.
I've not fully committed myself to the emotive collapse of joy that Lamela would bless me with if he did sign...almost seems like too much to sign both of them. But then, Spurs have hardly held back this summer. The thing about Lamela is, he's box office. So much so, that considering his age, he might hold off and wait another year or two before leaving Rome.
If both sign - Bale must be off. If only one signs, then...I'm pretty sure he's still off.
Elsewhere, Conentrao is still being linked. Suggestions we're also remaining active in search for a centre-back. Then there's the protracted transfer of Alen Halilović (wouldn't join us until he's 18, but his father has now agreed a move to Spurs - although no confirmation) and also rumours that Bulgarian play-maker Todor Nedelev (20 years of age) is about to sign. Steady on now Spurs, this it too much to take in.
Proves how quickly we can move on from a situation that can feel a little demoralising and also proves how powerful perception is - when you know something new and fresh is replacing something considered irreplaceable. Story of our lives. Good strategy from Levy though, get all the business done, so much of it, it's hardly going to hurt half as bad as it might have if the inevitable with Madrid happens.
As great as Bale is, amazingly, we'll be stronger for all the activity this summer with him gone to La Liga if all targets are paraded at Hotspur Way before the start of September. Now if he stayed, then I will sprout wings and fly to the heavens playing a harp on a cloud for the rest of the season.
Feet on ground. Feet on ground.
I can see it now. Spend £100M, still lose 5-2 to Arsenal. Finish fifth.
Can we pay off the footballing Gods with the Bale money? I reckon they're waiting for a bribe. Although I would hope the past 18 years suffices as payment for a far brighter future.