You can perhaps forgive Tottenham Hotspur fans if the notion of looking towards their club’s transfer plans this summer resembles a task too painful to currently comprehend.
Transfer silly season is of course one that those within the white half of London have always possessed a begrudging soft spot for. If the winds of transfer change are blown their way with a little too much force from the men within Fleet Street, then despite few being willing to admit it, you won’t find too many unwilling to sail within them.
This season however, the looming variable of Champions League football is one that hovers over the future plans with menace and with so much riding on their ability to achieve a top-four finish, the topical discussion about just who might be joining the club this summer has been put on ice.
Yet while you imagine the potential departure of Gareth Bale owes quite a lot to supporters’ reluctance to look past their crunch Premier League tie with Chelsea, it might not just be within those looking to leave the club, that you can proportion all of fans’ worries.
Because with Andre Villas-Boas’ squad now wearily, scraping through the campaign’s run-in, the painful gaps and lack of depth that seem to have been woefully exposed during Tottenham’s recent run suggest that their transfer plans might need to encompass an awful lot more than simply the feted addition of a top class striker.
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It’s easy to overplay the sort of wobbles that Spurs have been experiencing of late. Every side will experience a tough spell of form as the season progresses and unfortunately for Spurs, they seem to yet again have left it until the most important part of the season to endure theirs.
But it’s within quite how you chose to frame their recent run of form – one that’s seen their top four quest stutter with just the two wins in six – that you can gauge as to quite how much worry needs to be heaped on their potential summer blueprint.
Comparing Tottenham Hotspur’s season to a very impressive, yet eternally fragile house of cards might be veering on the brutally harsh. But judging by quite how exposed the club has been by the intermittent losses of both Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in recent games. And what’s more, it’s been an accident waiting to happen all season long.
Judging by the abject lack of anything regarding even a poor man’s replacement on the bench for either Bale or Lennon, there have been times this term where you’ve wondered whether the Spurs hierarchy have even contemplated the notion either of their feted duo might actually miss a few games this season.
And when you consider the corners that the club have already cut in regards to the lack of another striker this season, that seems an extremely bold shortcut indeed and the lack of astute cover is one that could ultimately have a determining effect upon Villas-Boas’ efforts to attain fourth-place.
But where does this leave Spurs at the end of the season?
If the club are going to qualify for the Champions League this season, while no one connected with the club will care much for how they’ve done it – simply as long as they do – it’s going to be by the skin of their teeth. Bar a huge change in fortunes, the odds are that Spurs are going to do the bare minimum to dine upon European football’s finest table.
Some have suggested that the lucrative financial reward will be enough to solve their striking woes and so much more.
Yet for starters, Spurs are in desperate need of at least one top-level striker and a quality left-back and if recent reports are to be believed, chairman Daniel Levy is already keen on cutting one corner already, by suggesting to Villas-Boas that Rose’s return is enough to counter-act the need to strengthen out on the left-hand side.
But the truth is, Tottenham’s woes sink far deeper than simply the superficial and until the club digs beneath their starting XI and attempts bolstering the squad as a whole, their league campaigns are always going to be ‘just the couple of injuries’ away from a serious wobble. As we’re finding out again, that simply isn’t good enough.
Defensively, the club simply doesn’t possess enough depth to cater for either the flailing Benoit Assou-Ekotto or the equally inconsistent Kyle Walker out on the adjacent side.
In midfield, while few could have predicted the speed of Scott Parker’s regression, the success of Mousa Dembele has dangerously cloaked the anemic lack of quality past his own eclectic set of gifts.
Attacking wise, while the trio of Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby are all capable, when Spurs have been desperate to replicate the pace and penetration that is so vital to their success, too often the trio have served to produce the same, ineffective answer to an all-too familiar problem.
Such an evaluation may be a harsh one considering Holtby’s on going integration into English football, the loss of Sandro and the questionable backing that Villas-Boas has received this term. And furthermore, had Spurs addressed all of the above, the odds are they’d be challenging for the title and not simply fourth spot.
No one’s asking Levy to shell out money he doesn’t have in bringing in expensive players simply to sit on the periphery. But Tottenham must start looking at the bigger picture squad-wise and that means adding more than simply shelling out for just the one marquee striker.