So the other night I sat back on the sofa hopeful of a stress free offline few hours watching a bit of telly when social media imploded with the news with Lewis Holtby linked with a move back to Germany and Schalke. That's Lewis 'hasn't really had a a good run for Spurs aside from some tasty Europa League cameos but looked very decent for his former club when playing Champions League football' Holtby. Naturally, I couldn't turn away from it and immersed myself in the meltdown.
It got messy quickly.
Some claimed an astute bit of business by Daniel Levy. I guess when we're not winning silverware we can always look to balancing the books as a means to an end. Bill Nicholson would be proud. Then again, this is the harsh reality for a club with a 36k stadium and Levy's mantra has always been about purchasing players with a healthy sell-on potential. But this soon? What happened to having strength in depth? Or is he that unfancied? Does he simply not fit in because of the collection of midfielders we appear to have hoarded over the past two seasons? He never quite broke into Andre Villas-Boas side and hasn't done so for Tim Sherwood. Good points if they were both not flawed. He was recently injured and under AVB - nobody cemented a place with complete confidence. Cameos do not amount to consistency.
You've got to admit, this is pretty much standard Tottenham narrative. Agree a deal for a highly-rated youngster with an abundance of first team experience. Then pay a fee to sign him earlier than originally agreed. Play him out of position and in a more frantic role. Then play him in a number of midfield roles as if he was signed for his versatility and stagnate the probability of seeing him play to his strengths.
Holtby might in fact be unhappy that he isn't getting game time. He might want to move on. Which would be quite a shock considering his enthusiasm for all things Spurs. Then again, this isn't pantomime it's theatre. This being Tottenham it's opera with plentiful tragic scenes. If he knows deep down there is no possibility of breaking into the team then why shouldn't he flirt with a move? One that also matches up to the mantra Levy organically engineers. The law of averages is the essence of transfer deals. Footballers are commodities and buying in bulk means the odd fire sale keeps accountancy happy. Not every signing is destined for success, but I can't help thinking of all players - why get rid of someone (if it's our choice to do so) when we're striving for depth and quality of squad?
Some Spurs fans are downplaying Holtby's potential and development, rationalising the possible depature and yet happy to sing songs about loving Steffen Freund. The lack of personality in most modern footballers makes Holtby relatively attractive in terms of a identifiable connection. You want to love the players so you'll hardly going to go wrong with someone that appears to love the shirt he wears. Comparing him to O'Hara and Livermore is an absolute joke and just goes to show the detachment we have expectancy. Because he has heart he has no skill. Players are deemed expendable in a blink of an eye. In fact, it staggers me how few of our players are actually universally liked by the collective of our fanbase.
Walker, Townsend, Rose and Naughton routinely scapegoat material. Dawson isn't good enough. Others are dismissed for the long term for being periodically broken (Sandro, Kaboul). Dembele is jack of all trades, master of none. Lennon is apparently too inconsistent. Eriksen is no Modric. Vertonghen unhappy. Adebayor only plays for contract extensions and Soldado has already failed and should be shipped out. Dembele doesn't do enough. Paulinho is a refined Jenas. Lamela is a dud. And so on. Opposing fans call us deluded but I only see self-loathing. Them lot down the road think their entire squad is world class. Maybe it's good to be deluded every so often.
To once more connect the dots, at the end of the day, this isn't just about the football. The Levy profit klaxon is shooting a massive load at the grand margin of pound notes. Maybe my judgement and opinion is clouded by the fact that Holtby has character. However, I'm not naive enough to discount the football. We all knew that Freund had character also but was a God awful footballer - the reason he became cult. Holtby is quite obviously talented and has displayed the composure and control at international level (U21s) that we haven't seen enough of at Spurs.
If this club aspires to conquer the top four and reclaim Champions League football for only the second time, surely we're going to need that depth of quality to compete.
No? I don't know. Honestly, I'm not sure I should be caring that much any more. I can't control who we sign/sell. We've lost better players and we've survived.
I like Holtby. He's not played enough. He's not shown us enough. Maybe by the virtue of the other midfielders he'll never get the chance. If he left, you'd miss him more on Instagram than on the field.
I guess my only problem is this 'he aint good enough for Spurs innit' mentality. He's f**king perfect. Look around - we're not going to be signing the likes of Eden Hazard. To add to the drama, Napoli are linked with a move for Etienne Capoue. Are we looking to dismantle the rebuild? Remove the bricks from the wall and leave gaping holes for everyone to peer through whilst criticising the lack of structure?
I'm wondering what the plan in this transfer window is. I said 'plan'. When do we ever have a plan? Just make one up and hope Spurs follow it.
Doubt Sherwood will be able to influence too much in the way of players being sold. Considering he might not have a job past the summer. Players that will go now are the ones we can just about tag as fringe.
Best way to look at all of this - if you're unsure if you agree or disagree with Holtby leaving (if it happens, the story might be BS) - is to consider that some supporters want to recall Tom Carroll from his loan at QPR. I rate Carroll but he's unproven at the top level and considering that Nabil Bentaleb has a handful of games to his name and we should not lose ourselves in hype - how are either comparable to a player with more experience and arguably more talent? If Holtby was academy produced, how would you feel about him then? Bentaleb might actually be the real deal. So none of this will make sense for another season or two.
Come to think of it, maybe Bentaleb and others need players like Holtby to leave for them to have any chance of making a first team impact. Which means everyone is disposable if they don't fit the moment and do fit the transfer fee.
In conclusion our lack of impatience and the constant necessity for change runs parallel be it with players, managers or whatever you care to talk about. It's about the now, the present and it has to be decisive.