Tottenham’s stumble against Blackpool only served to highlight Spurs’ shortcomings. Against Blackpool Tottenham had 25 attempts on goal but all they could manage was a last minute deflected lollop. Roman Pavlyuchenko added to his goal tally for the season and this will only contribute to him feeling hard done by. But the fact is that he was given 90 minutes against Blackpool and did almost nothing to help his side win.
Tottenham may have conceded 2 goals in the first half, but one was a soft penalty and the other was a good Blackpool counter-attack. It was the attacking, not defensive issues that worried me. Despite having Crouch, Defoe and Pavlyuchenko, Tottenham still lack goals. The only way to address this is through the acquisition of a player that would guarantee you success in front of goal.
But this is not a problem that has developed overnight. Harry would have known this in October, so why did Levy not bring in a world class striker in January?
More than anything, I want Tottenham to finish in the top 4 and qualify for the Champions League again. They are one of the best teams to watch in Europe. But I don’t think they could have guaranteed this with the over-inflated signing of a striker during January, especially when you don’t know how he will adjust to the Premiership, or a new club. Just look at Fernando Torres.
Of the players who have come to the Premier League in the January window there have been some success stories; I think of Anelka, Hangeland, or Mascherano. But on the other hand there have been some famous flops, the ones that come to mind most glaringly are Ricardo Quaresma or Mauro Zarate, there are others. The point is that January signings seem to be pretty hit and miss on how well they perfrom in the first half season. Importantly, it is very rare for a player come from abroad and succeed. Of course there are exceptions (Arshavin) but I am talking of the trend here.
It is difficult to come into a new squad, half way through a season and make an impact. Furthermore, if players come from abroad they have to make all the extra changes that a new culture brings. Add all these factors, to the fact that the Premier League is entirely different to any other league in the world and you can see why players take time to adjust, especially in January. It is not as easy as saying, ‘bring in a top striker’. Where would you find one?
From within the Premier League? Well, Tottenham courted Carroll and Torres but could not compete with Chelsea and Liverpool in the transfer market, in fees or wages. But even if they could, Torres is out of form, luck and confidence and would not have helped Spurs to win at Blackpool. Nor would Andy Carroll, who is still injured.
That would mean the only option would have been to look abroad. But like I said, it is hit and miss. Why would you risk buying a player who can score loads of goals in Spain, but you have no idea how many he will score in England. Just look at Diego Forlan, who struggled at United but is on fire for Atletico Madrid. Other players like Adebayor and Drogba both took time to adjust to the Premier League. You cannot guarantee that anyone would make an impact as soon as they come to England, especially in January.
Looking at Torres, it seems that even as much as £50m cannot guarantee you success. And Torres has played in England for the last 4 years. How much would Tottenham need to spend to buy a top striker from abroad? How long would it be before they scored goals regularly?
I wish Tottenham had bought a world class striker in January, but I just don’t think it was within their means to do so. Furthermore, I don’t think anyone other than the very best players in Europe could guarantee them goals in the Premiership this season, these players would cost in excess of £60m at the moment.
The fact remains that a new striker is needed at White Hart Lane. But this January was not the time to bring one in. By the time a new striker has adjusted, the season might be over. In the summer, the prices might have come down, in January they were absurd. At the end of this season Tottenham can do sensible business, something they have done regularly in the last few years.
I admit that by then it might be too late. Without the lure of Champions League football it might be even harder to get a world class striker. But last summer was the time to spend, not this January.
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