Wilson Palacios put Tottenham Hotspur supporters at ease today after telling the Daily Mirror,
“Truth is I’m very, very happy here. These last 12 months I’ve worked very hard with all my colleagues.
“My team-mates and everyone at the club have really helped me to settle in and hopefully we can go on to do big things.”
Whilst this does sound like a player contemplating a move, Tottenham fans will note that Palacios did not deny the comments printed in the Sun on 10 March. Palacios reportedly told the tabloid newspaper that Tottenham would hopefully be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Palacios was quoted as saying,
‘I am really happy at Tottenham but I will continue working for a future move to a bigger club.
‘I would love to play for Real Madrid. Today, many people respect me in England. That’s because of my hard-working attitude.’
Whilst it is unlikely that Real Madrid will come knocking for Palacios just yet, it is worrying for Spurs fans that there is already speculation surrounding the player. Palacios signed for the North Londoners in January 2009 for £12m on a four and a half year contract, and yet little over a year later, there are already murmurs of discontent surrounding Palacios.
Tottenham fans might well draw parallels between the press surrounding Wilson Palacios and the statements issued by Dimitar Berbatov and his agent Emil Dantchev shortly before his move from White Hart Lane to Manchester United.
In an interview with the Sun on 12 July 2007, Berbatov told journalists,
“With regards to the whole Manchester United business, I just have to say that I’m very happy at Spurs.
“Even more importantly, I recognise that Tottenham has given me everything in order to make my time in the Premier League a success and I feel stupendously grateful to them. So I’m happy where I am.”
However, six months later, Berbatov’s agent Dantchev told journalists,
“If a club that corresponds to Dimitar’s class and ambition comes in with an offer that suits his current club, he would like to be allowed to go”.
Sure enough, a year after declaring how ‘stupendously grateful’ he was to Spurs, Berbatov’s all too inevitable departure came to fruition. It is believed that Berbatov’s wish to play Champions League football was the main catalyst behind his decision to request a move. With Wilson Palacios now suggesting that Tottenham is merely a stepping stone, Tottenham fans would be forgiven for fearing the worst.
In essence, Tottenham must secure Champions League football if they are to keep their best players. The likes of Wilson Palacios, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale et al will all want to test themselves at some point in the near future, and if not, supporters will simply have to endure the speculation that will naturally occur as a result.
The likes of Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov have all departed the club over the years owing either to Tottenham’s lack of ambition of a failure to realize such ambition. Whilst Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid shows that nobody is immune from the threat of player poaching, Tottenham’s chances of holding on to their best players could significantly improve if they fulfil their potential this summer. If Tottenham miss out however, it could well be another uncomfortable transfer window this summer at White Hart Lane.
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