When the subject of playing the ‘Tottenham way’ comes up the same names are always mentioned. Hoddle, Gazza, Ginola, Lennon – the breed of player who has a special place in the heart of Tottenham fans. They are the entertainers who play according to the history of the club. They have the skill, creativity and flair that keep the paying public entertained and have the ability to change a game with a little touch of class.
So when news that Joe Cole was to become a free agent, well, it just seemed to make sense. The fans would love him, the manager already loves him and Defoe and Bale, who have urged Levy to seal the deal, are just two of the players who love him. For a footballer who just wants to feel loved, he couldn’t ask for much more. He is, as John Terry verified, an Englishman who is one of the few who can ‘break down a defence’ and would get his wish of not having leave London if he opted to change blue to white. He’s even saying the right things. He has criticised English teams for playing too much ‘kick and rush’ football and for always looking to hit the front men too early, believing they should instead favour a more fluid passing approach. Music to my ears.
So Joe Cole is a good fit for Tottenham. But where does Joe Cole fit if he arrives?
On the basis that Cole does sign our squad will consist of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to midfield talent. Even presuming that the likes of Bentley, O’Hara and Jenas move onto pastures new it still raises the question of who should miss out when the starting XI is announced on game day.
Cole has the benefit of being a versatile player, so could play anywhere across the middle. But he has said that when he finds a new club he would prefer to adopt the central creative role which he began his career with at West Ham. So if Cole gets his way, our midfield four could read: Bale and Lennon on the flanks and Palacios and Cole in the middle, but what of Modric, Huddlestone, Kranjcar and new signing Sandro? Alternatively he could play on the left, but how could Bale be dropped after his explosion onto the scene last year? Moving Bale to left-back is an option, but a risky one considering that he has showed that his abilities in defence can be exposed by top sides. It’ll be tough to get a balance and keep everybody happy, and with the new squad regulations imposed by the FA a few more players could be shown the door.
With Champions League football beckoning, and the hope that a new set of fixtures will be added to the calendar, a deeper squad in terms of talent was going to be needed. But other than a new striker and maybe a defender, Tottenham don’t need a whole host of new players.
Cole would be a great addition to the squad if a deal can be done, there can be no doubt, both in terms of his ability and experience, but in place of whom? Over to you, Harry Redknapp.
Written By Karl Sears