Tottenham fans may well have woken up with a mixture of anger and self-doubt following their capitulation at the hands of West Ham yesterday. A shock for a side riding high after decent early season form, Spurs were taught a painful lesson by their cross-city rivals. Some have been quick to criticise, but for me all yesterday suggested was that Spurs are still very much a side in the developmental stage.
Far from the finished article, the AVB project is only starting to take shape and until people realise this there will be huge disappointments in store. Regardless of their summer spend there is still a need for the Premier League club to strengthen again in January, and early indications would suggest this is very much in the offing.
Many have been quick to highlight the wing-back area as a point of weakness, with both Rose and Walker largely lacking the experience necessary for a Premier League title tilt. Both are huge talents for the future and recognised as such by AVB, but Spurs would be shrewd to sure up both areas with a bit of experienced world-class talent in the mean-time.
The exile of Benoit Assou-Ekotto at QPR coupled with a recent injury to Danny Rose has seen the Spurs squad stretched to its maximum defensively and clearly come January this will be an area of transfer importance. AVB has already suggested that he wants two players to compete for each position, and this opens the door for a new left back in 2014.
Spurs have for a while now been keeping tabs on Everton’s Leighton Baines, and if reports in the Mail are to be believed then Tottenham will again come calling in January.
“Tottenham are ready to rival Manchester United’s bid to sign Everton left-back Leighton Baines in January.”
“Danny Rose is the current first-choice at White Hart Lane and although he is highly-rated by Villas-Boas the Spurs boss wants to bring in an experienced international to aid the club’s push for Champions League football.”
The suggestion is that the sale of Gareth Bale has meant that Spurs still have the necessary funds to do further business this coming January. With a left-back on the shopping list Spurs would do well to find someone better than Leighton Baines. Quality wing-backs are few and far between in the world game and in England we are blessed with two of the very best.
Baines could easily have mustered double the caps he has now had he not been playing in the era of Ashley Cole, but being understudy to the Chelsea-man hardly undermines the Englishman’s reputation. A confident footballer that offers Spurs the balance that they possibly lack at the moment. Kamikaze runs often look great on TV, but far too often the likes of Rose and Walker have left Spurs exposed defensively this season.
Baines is by no means a defensive minded player, in fact 5 goals last season in the Premier League would suggest quite the opposite, however unlike the current Spurs crop he has the strength of mind to know when to attack and when not to. Rarely exposed, Baines is an excellent tackler who reads the game well and offers cover to the players around him.
Spurs have signed a £26m frontman this summer and it has been incredibly frustrating to see him consistently feed off scraps. Baines has a majestic left foot and if he can offer the sort of service that he has done for Everton then Spurs will surely be on to a winner.
Levy has already taken a punt on a 28 year old in Roberto Soldado so who is to say he wont sanction a £15m move for this Kirkby star? Manchester United appear the other main threat to Spurs’ capture and considering their recent fall from grace a move south may well be the more enticing option for Baines. That said his reluctance to leave his northwestern base is touted as a potential stumbling block and his relationship with Moyes could well aid the deal.
Spurs though shouldn’t be intimidated by United, they are a club very much on the up with the financial power to match their ambition; the sky is the limit in the upcoming window.
The main bulk of deals were done this summer, but the evidence is clear enough that small further tweaks will be needed going forward. A deal for Baines in January in my opinion would be one of the final pieces in the Tottenham jigsaw and the kind of deal to further emphasise their Champions League pedigree.
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