You hesitate to say that there is such a thing as ‘now or never’ for any club, partly because the concept of ‘never’ doesn’t really exist in football, but it is important to recognise opportunities. That is exactly what Spurs have this season, an opportunity. I’m not talking about the opportunity to break in to the top four and establish themselves as Champions League contenders, I’m talking about making that final, and harder, step to becoming one of the top English clubs. They’re in a position this year where you wouldn’t bet against them coming third, they could definitely achieve a second place finish and they could even win the league, something they haven’t done for fifty years. You would say that with their current squad the title seems optimistic, and I would agree, but what is the January transfer window for if not to improve your squad, to take it that extra mile and become a team that could turn opportunities into reality?
Their current crop of players is undoubtedly the best they have had in my generation and I have heard those older than me say that the squad is up there with the best they have ever had. However, their standing is far from guaranteed, as is their seasonal success. Redknapp has never been one to shy away from improving his squad and there should be no change this January. They are lucky enough to be in a position this season where not only have they acquired Emmanuel Adebayor on a season long loan but they also have Scott Parker in, arguably, the form of his life. These two players and Brad Friedel have been exceptional this year but that is not something Spurs fans can take for granted. Clearly Friedel is still playing well but he is now in his forties and cannot be expected to be as good next year; Adebayor will presumably be heading back to City next year unless Spurs are prepared to break their wage structure to a significant degree and with Parker’s advancing years and the injury problems that normally blight his season you could argue that the stage is set for Spurs this year. I’m not saying that they will be a lesser squad next year as I’m sure they will add players in the summer. However, whether they, or at least some of their players, will be playing as well is a different matter. Moreover you have to consider that next year you would expect Arsenal, Chelsea and United to all improve upon their current squads. This year is a huge opportunity for them. Redknapp has given Spurs the belief that they should be up there with the best, but you feel they still lack the belief to go on and win the title. Yet with a few choice signings, particularly with regards to support for Adebayor up front Harry can take his team to the next level.
It’s all very well building a brilliant team, but without trophies those players won’t stay at the club. Tottenham’s local rivals are testament to that and with rumours of Modric still being interested in a move away Redknapp will have to prove to the players already there that there is a reason to stay. Building a team is not just about buying players and playing well. If you want your team’s improvement to have any kind of longevity then success is a must. Even if they weren’t to win the league this year, with just a couple of signings Spurs could easily finish second and possibly have success in another competition like the FA Cup.
Like I said, nobody is claiming that it is now or never for Spurs, but perhaps this season does represent one of the best opportunities they could get for quite some time. A team may spend one year challenging for the title and think they are on the up and up but Liverpool’s dip from 2009 when they came second to 2010 and Arsenal’s dip from last year when they could have won the league to this year prove otherwise. Redknapp must recognise this and go all out this year. If that means spending in January then spend he must.
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