Daniel Levy’s diligence in the transfer market is to be admired. His bravery too. £85million isn’t a license to be reckless; it’s not a bottomless pit, and much of the same hard work will be needed. But the income raised from the potential sale of Gareth Bale could be used to accelerate the club’s targets and bring renewed hope after what was, in fairness, a good season clouded with disappointment.
Would it sit well with Spurs if they knew clubs like AC Milan were in a similar boat? The Italian giants are not so powerful anymore, having to take a new approach to building through youth. The question for them is whether to sell Stephan El Shaarawy to help further fund the new era at the San Siro.
I’ve been over this before: Tottenham simply can’t afford to turn down a bid of £85 million. It may never come around again. It’s the closest thing the club have to winning the lottery (in a way) without actually landing an oil-rich billionaire. Wouldn’t Tottenham want to talk up their credentials as a club big enough to attract some very reputable stars? This Gareth Bale episode, like so many in the past, raises that old cliché of players never being bigger than a club. It can be difficult to make sense of at the time with heartbreak and emotion taking over. But for the most part, clubs don’t crumble after one sale – especially a club as well run as Tottenham.
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On many levels it makes sense to sell. The club are looking at plans for a new stadium, and local rivals Arsenal are evidence that spending can be hampered by the move to a new home. Spurs have a set of ideals in the market. They’ve made some mistakes, of course; in hindsight who would have permanently signed Emmanuel Adebayor? But there is so much that can be done with £85 million if the club know where to look.
The first port of call is to bring in a couple of new strikers, one of which needs to be something of a marquee name. I don’t think the idea that clubs will try to take advantage of Tottenham’s potential spending power is a universal one. Spanish clubs, for example, have little room to mess about in haggling, especially if very few selling options are open to them.
Roberto Soldado has a good chance this summer to put his name in the shop window with Spain at the Confederations Cup. Tottenham, despite not holding the golden ticket of Champions League football themselves, will be able to use that in their negotiations with the player, citing Valencia’s drop out of the top four – a position they held for three consecutive years. Soldado missed out narrowly in claiming the accolade as the top Spanish goal scorer in La Liga, missing out to Alvaro Negredo on the final day of the season after the Sevilla forward scored four.
But it’s not enough. Both Jermaine Defoe and Adebayor are likely to be on their way out of White Hart Lane this summer. Tottenham also want Christian Benteke, however Aston Villa will do all they can to counter the advances of stronger-placed clubs.
The thing is, Benteke is good but he’s not one in a million. Spurs are capable, both via backroom staff and Andre Villas, of unearthing a gem similar to that of the Belgian. I’m not just talking about a player of similar style, but rather the premise of picking up a bargain name who is capable of scoring in the Premier League. Looking abroad is most definitely an option. Yet looking closer to home may bring some rewards. How much of a future does Romelu Lukaku have at Chelsea now that Jose Mourinho has arrived – as well as Andre Schurrle and most likely another forward? It’s an option that Spurs can look to exploit.
Equally important is the club’s need for another addition to the midfield. Joao Moutinho wasn’t just a big name who could have comfortably replaced Luka Modric last season; he was also a prototype for what Villas-Boas needed in a creative or attacking midfielder. Tottenham, and the rest of Europe, have been beaten by the new money of Monaco. But like the case with the forwards, there are plenty of options available, even to a club without the draw of Champions League football.
Does it need to be a big name? If so and provided Borussia Dortmund can be beaten to the punch, Christian Eriksen would be a fine addition to the midfield. Is it about production and the desire for attractive football; can Mousa Dembele revert to the central midfield role permanently? Hiroshi Kiyotaki is doing very good things in the Bundesliga, while Borja Valero at Fiorentina is a far, far better player than his last stint in the Premier League with West Brom would suggest. Moreover, Erik Lamela, following his excellent season with Roma, would prove to be a good addition to the left side of attack.
Do Spurs need to splash the whole £85 million in one go? Far from it. This team, light a few quality names, were almost able to finish fourth last season. The new signings should help to bridge that gap. As for the rest of the cash: bank it. Save it for a rainy day, or better yet when another bargain or star name becomes available.
How could AVB best spend the potential transfer income this summer?
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