For Daniel Levy, the January window hasn’t open yet, and that may be the positive fans can draw from the lack of arrivals at Tottenham this month.
Lewis Holtby’s summer move from Schalke has been brought forward, and that’s naturally going to be a boost for Andre Villas-Boas and his squad. But while the German is not short of being able to make an impact for the remainder of the reason, the Tottenham manager will be hoping that his chairman will spring into life come sometime this Thursday and present him with a signing in the mould of Rafael van der Vaart.
And it’s not that Spurs are desperate for a midfielder – although a short-term replacement for the injured Sandro wouldn’t go amiss – but rather a striker who captures the imagination in the same manner that the Dutchman did during his time at White Hart Lane. Holtby isn’t that player yet, however it will be interesting to see how he works out in England. But Levy must surely be aware of the prize that’s sitting on the table and waiting to be snapped up. Champions League football is on the horizon and well within sight. Tottenham are looking a far better and more assured outfit this season than their north London rivals, and teams like Everton may not have that extra gear to push them into a top four spot.
As of now, Spurs are also without the spark that could turn a very big likelihood into something further down the meter towards a guarantee. Injuries may come into play and you really can’t bet for sure that Tottenham will be able to fend off any unexpected problems that may arise between now and May. But Levy really needs to make sure that the club have done all they can to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
What would have happened if all of Tottenham’s summer signings were done before the start of the season? The team weren’t playing badly, but it wasn’t enough to turn a loss into a draw or a point into three. What if by the end of the season a place in the top three of the league is lost because Spurs were one point shy?
The thing is it doesn’t even have to be a big signing whose name alone will inspire the crowd. Bringing in good players who are flying well under the radar may be the way Levy wants to go, and it may certainly be best if he’s not willing to spend big. Clint Dempsey has a few goals in recent games, but it should never have come down to him being the only senior striker available. He may provide goal numbers in double figure, but that’s not the point.
Jermaine Defoe has played well for the majority of the season but his injury remains a concern. Furthermore, how much faith can be placed in Emmanuel Adebayor? He’s always been a striker who works for himself, and now that he has the stability of a contract at Tottenham, it might be unwise to expect similar performances to that of last season.
At this point, it’s still too early to say whether Levy has done enough for Villas-Boas this January. He may even opt to look past the deadline on Thursday and towards the summer where he can strengthen with choices closer to the top of his list. If European football is not the priority (which seems doubtful) then Tottenham are well on course to overachieve on what might have been expected of the new manager this season. But if the top tier of European football next season is the ultimate goal, it’s imperative Levy strengthens this side now. It may still be a few years before Tottenham can spend in the same market as teams like Chelsea, which is why such an opportunity this season cannot be taken lightly.