Why Tottenham need to show caution in January


Harry: Cannot go gung-ho with selling players

Let’s face it, the majority of transfer rumours surrounding White Hart Lane are concerning the departures of a group of players: Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Alan Hutton and David Bentley. Their rumoured departures are repeated every day and the tenacity with which these are forced upon us make it seem much more likely that these departures will take place than the incoming signings rumoured now and again will.

Normally when a team is doing well and fighting for a European spot the focus is on who the club can bring in to make that final push for their target position; oddly that has not been the case with Spurs this year as, though some players have been linked, the onus seems to be on the players leaving. Whilst Harry Redknapp has his reasons to be getting rid of these players – his falling out with Bentley is one for example – he should be a little more careful in conducting his transfer activity in January because the current Spurs squad is not as strong as many now believe it to be.

It has now been noted that Spurs could be left short defensively when Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastian Bassong head off to the African Cup of Nations with Jonny Woodgate and Ledley King injured and that’s where the cautiousness must come in strongest; Redknapp should not be looking into selling Hutton unless he already has a deal secured for another defender for Hutton, unwanted though he may be, offers proven top flight cover. With Hutton around Harry can afford to switch Corluka into the middle and he still has a proven defence. If Hutton leaves before someone else comes in? Then Kyle Naughton, talent though he is, will probably have to be drafted in despite being unproven at the top level.

Then consider what happens if Keane and Pavlyuchenko leave; Spurs are left low on cover. Harry has been linked with a few strikers but none have stood out as signings that are particularly likely. Imagine if Defoe or Crouch gets injured or sent off, who comes on then? Well, a reserve presumably and Harry would have to move quickly to make a signing. Planning in advance would’ve allowed him to avoid such a problem and thus a focus on signing players rather than removing deadwood should be on Spurs’ agenda.

It’s been previously suggested that Spurs still have the outlook of a smaller club – perhaps that’s why departures are still seemingly more important than arrivals. Yes financially the club needs to sell to buy but Redknapp cannot afford his need to sell making him lose squad depth without a replacement wrapped up to arrival a day or so later, simply for a worst case scenario. The Premiership is an unforgiving league and the slightest squad change can make a big difference – Harry will have to think wisely before he races to sell his deadwood.