If you are reading this article, let me firstly congratulate you on surviving NYE 2015 and secondly wish you a glorious New Year – which is already starting to feel rather suspiciously exactly the same as the old one.
But the turn of 2016 can only mean one thing for Premier League clubs – we’re now officially into the January transfer window.
Although it hasn’t seen much action in recent seasons, something tells me this month will buck the trend. After all, we’re amid a Premier League campaign not quite like any other, where Leicester City are apparently title contenders and Chelsea are looking nervously over their shoulder at the relegation zone.
Tottenham Hotspur certainly have some matters to attend to, as they unexpectedly find themselves just four points away from the Premier League’s summit, both on the inward and outward fronts. With that in mind, here are FOUR transfer issues Spurs must address in January.
With the vast majority of their goal scoring hopes placed on sole senior striker Harry Kane, finding an understudy for the England international will surely be Tottenham Hotspur’s first port of call in January.
Nacer Chadli and Clinton N’Jie are capable of filling the void if necessary but another specialist centre-forward would unquestionably improve Spurs’ top four credentials – or perhaps even title credentials – for the second half of the season.
The obvious candidate is Saido Berahino, the young, home-grown, versatile and proficient forward who came close to joining the White Hart Lane ranks during the summer. He’s barely featured for West Brom this season after having his ‘head turned’ and the Hawthorns outfit resultantly seem more than happy to cash in.
But should yet another deal to sign the 22-year-old collapse, there are some alternatives to consider. QPR’s Charlie Austin could be available for a pittance with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, whilst Spurs have scouted Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi and Barcelona’s Sandro Ramirez extensively this season.
Federico Fazio and Andros Townsend have both slumped down the pecking order at White Hart Lane this season, seeing a collective 64 minutes’ worth of action in the Premier League, and Tottenham already reportedly have plans to offload the out-of-favour duo in January.
Having originally arrived for an £8million sum and since looked like anything but an £8million centre-back, the Lilywhites might not get much of their original investment back when letting the Argentina international leave.
Townsend, on the other hand, could fetch a decent sum. The tabloids are reporting that Daniel Levy wants £14million and although that seems like a rather lofty fee, considering he’s made just eight appearances across all competitions this season, young England internationals always cost more than the market average – especially during the January transfer window.
Tottenham have a bit of history when it comes to letting key players leave for huge sums in the January transfer window – most particularly Dimitar Berbatov’s big-money move to Manchester United back in 2008.
But edging their way into the Premier League title race, the Lilywhites must make sure they don’t allow their stellar names to be lured away midseason, specifically star goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and centre-back Jan Vertonghen.
Both were heavily linked with moves away during the summer and although the January window is generally less active than its summer counterpart, Europe’s major clubs could well come knocking once again.
Indeed, Lloris is easily one of the top goalkeepers in world football and the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG will certainly be keeping their eye on him, whilst Jan Vertoghen’s contract expires, rather worryingly, at the end of next season.
It remains to be seen if Spurs can hold onto them past the summer but the club must do everything they can to keep suitors at bay next month.
One of Mauricio Pochettino’s biggest mandates for taking the White Hart Lane job in summer 2014 was his unwavering faith in young players.
Indeed, Spurs have the youngest average squad age in the Premier League and the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Eric Dier, Harry Kane and Dele Alli have all flourished under the Argentine’s guidance during the last 18 months.
But we’re now edging upon the business end of the season and although cover in all positions is crucial, youngsters often end up getting overlooked in favour of their more experienced team-mates.
That could well be the case for Alex Pritchard and Joshua Onomah, who have been given a taste of first-team action on a few occasions this season but still seem some distance from becoming regulars in Pochettino’s match day squads.
It’s perhaps not essential either goes out on loan next month if Pochettino thinks they’ll get chances between now and May. But if the situation looks pessimistic on that front, both would only benefit from the experience of consistent game-time at another club until the end of the season.