What a transfer window it is turning out to be for North London. Arsenal look set to haemorrhage half of their team, with Gael Clichy gone and the futures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas still very much up in the air. Tottenham are looking to balance books after having failed to retain their grip on a top four position after their maiden season in the lucrative Champions League. This means cutting the wage bill and losing some of the less important members of the squad, with the likes of Alan Hutton, David Bentley and Giovani Dos Santos among those likely to be slashed from Tottenham’s squad.
Harry Redknapp has been told by his chairman Daniel Levy that until these cuts are made, transfer spending will be limited. Unfortunately for Tottenham fans, this has been seized upon by other clubs as a sign of financial frailty. And the sharks have started to circle.
The first bite came from Chelsea, whose £22 million bid for Croatian Luka Modric was laughed off by Redknapp. However, the offer from Spurs’ London rivals was taken a little bit more seriously by Modric, who saw potential in a move to a team that would be challenging for the title, playing in Europe’s premier club competition and who, under new management, were in the market for further high-quality assets to add to their already impressive squad.
And it is this last point that is the hardest to argue with. Redknapp has already confirmed it is his intention to win the league with Spurs, so the ambition is there. Similarly with the quest for Champions League football, Tottenham have had a taste of it, and now they are hungry for more. But it is only through real action in the transfer market that they will be able to convince Modric that these goals are more than pipe-dream fantasies.
Modric met with chairman Levy on Thursday, and the fact that he is unwilling to hand in a transfer request is positive news for Spurs fans. In addition to this he is only 1 year into a 6 year contract signed last summer, meaning he has very little room to manoeuvre a move for himself anyway. There are a small minority of supporters who see this as an opportunity to cash-in on the Croatian and reinvest in the squad, however their voices are drowned out by the large majority who are desperate to see Modric stay. And so far he remains at the club.
However, what is important now for Tottenham is that they reward his commitment by coming good on their promises. When looking at the squad, it seems that the main area where investment is needed and wanted is in the striking department. Frustration arose last season when the team, crammed with creative midfielders and wide-men to such an extent that the bootman had to wear dark glasses for fear of being blinded by the neon oranges and yellows, failed to put away the chances offered in key games. With Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko all flattering to deceive, the fans demand a new striker, perhaps a prolific finisher like Porto’s Falcao?
Centre back is another position that should worry Redknapp. After having so many defenders out with injury last season and the recent release of Jonathan Woodgate, the signing of a sturdy central defender is a necessity. With any luck the addition of Brad Friedel to the squad will give the team a more solid back line from which to build attacks, more than can be said for the often infuriating, occasionally brilliant Heurelho Gomes.
It is changes like these that will allow Spurs to push forward and prove to Modric that they are a team worth sticking around with, for at least another season at any rate. Whether this will be enough to placate the Croatian is a different story. Tottenham supporters will be hoping that Harry can quash mini-episode of player power before others, more fearfully Gareth Bale, start to consider their positions at the club.