It is perhaps all too all easy to accuse Tottenham of being a little slack this January. The Premier League club were always going to struggle to match the summer activities that saw them spend in excess of £100m for the first time, but have they actually let other clubs grab the initiative this month?
In January there always seems to be a compulsion to spend for the sake of it. Transfers naturally bring a feel good factor to the club and to its fans, but really when you sit down and take stock in the months that follow you often ask yourself, was it really worth it?
There is always this risk with a club like Spurs who do know how to flex their financial muscle and who always have an eye for a deal whatever the situation. Transfers need though to improve on what the club already has, and given the squad that Spurs have assembled this is no easy task.
It isn’t the finished article by any stretch of the imagination, but there is no need to panic with wholesale changes. If anything Spurs need to start dispensing with those that simply aren’t needed, something that will likely start this window as well. Selling the likes of Chadli and Capoue could be just as beneficial to a Champions League charge as bringing in someone new. Excessive competition for places doesn’t help anyone, and if anything could just stifle the momentum that players build up on the pitch. It is all about balance, and this is something Spurs are yet to achieve.
Fans yearn for big deals; many see it as a necessary for immediate success; but who is really to say that Marco Reus at £30m would be any better than a fit and firing Erik Lamela? We’ve all watched Bundesliga and Serie A, and it is easy to make judgements on players, but that doesn’t mean that anything is guaranteed. Adding players out of compulsion not only doesn’t make financial sense; it doesn’t make good footballing sense either.
It may upset a few people, but good business for Spurs this January would represent tying up a deal for a returning Dimitar Berbatov before the month is out. With Jermain Defoe on the way out, the need for a third striker is the most pressing, and one that few would disagree in saying that Berbatov would satisfy.
Looking at the squad as a whole there aren’t all that many weaknesses. If Sherwood can get everyone fit then it is a team to rival any and that without changes should be close to finishing in the top four. The deluded may say that the club should bust a gut for Luke Shaw to replace a less than convincing Rose, but £30m on an inexperienced youngster just isn’t rational footballing business in the eyes of Levy.
Aside from that though there is little of concern, in fact the more pressing thing for Sherwood is to get the most out of what he has already because with the likes of Lamela and Solado at full tilt, Spurs could be a serious handful for sides in the coming months.
Spending little this January isn’t an oversight by Spurs and neither is it showing a lack of ambition. Big January deals don’t guarantee success, and sometimes they can totally backfire if you look at Torres. It can go both ways, and for Spurs it is a totally unnecessary risk given the situation they find themselves in currently, on the cusp of the top four.
The May post mortem may look back to January as being pivotal, but for me it would be a pretty ignorant way at looking at things. Spurs have the squad to meet their targets, and given that I think the current window just shows prudence above anything else.