The previous post (Part 1) ended on a fairly open note. It was, however, incomplete. The possible sale of VdV, and purchase of Sigurdsson had been mentioned. However, the elephant in the room had not been mentioned. Or in this case, a couple of mastodons breathing down your necks – Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.
Without a doubt, they are two of the most talented players in Tottenham, and indeed in England. That they’re meant for bigger and better things can be said without a shadow of doubt. After having played in the Champions League once, it is probably a bit too much to ask of them to stay another season, and play in the Europa League. Especially when there are clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid, not to mention Chelsea, Manchester United, Man City and PSG out there, willing to pay exorbitant transfer fees, and even more obscene salaries to obtain the services of such players.
Assuming then, that they are lured away, what does that mean for Tottenham?
How will then a highly weakened squad compete with the big boys? Won’t Champions League be a far cry, and survival in the top 6 their biggest struggle? If that’s true, how much longer before they become that obscure team who once played Champions League?
Interestingly enough, it could actually work in their favour. Admittedly a rather optimistic view of the entire matter, which in turn is highly hypothetical, the sale of Bale and Modric would bring in huge amounts of money. More importantly though, it would give AVB the funds and the freedom to sign players that he wants.
For instance, who could replace Gareth Bale? Someone who is fast, plays on the wings, and has already played under AVB, with tremendous success. Someone whose willingness to make a move to Chelsea was heard for the first time only when AVB was the manager. Someone like.. Hulk?
The Modric replacement might be a tad more difficult to find. Such maturity, class and ingenuity are found in very few players. If Sigurdsson can prove he wasn’t a fluke and plays with the aplomb he did last season, there’s little stopping him from successfully picking up where Modric left off. Alan Dzagoev has performed more than admirably in the Euro, and Marco Reus has impressed at Dortmund, even picking up a goal for Germany against Greece. Cristian Eriksen has been a name on the big clubs’ lips for a couple of years now. Thiago from Barcelona and Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich are definitely names we are going to hear for the next few years, and remember for a much longer time.
Defensive holes need to be plugged, and even as club legend Ledley King steps away, an apt replacement needs to be found. A defender who is fast, intelligent, and possesses that ability to read the game. Someone who finds adjusting to the high line as easy as John Terry found it impossible. Jan Vertonghen has been constantly linked with the London club, although the deal has apparently hit a snag. Names like Chiellini, Criscito, and even Gerard Pique have oft been thrown, albeit not Tottenham’s way. Could AVB’s presence change that? Javi Martinez has been Bilbao’s heartbeat this season, and the same can be said of Mats Hummels of Dortmund. If the EPL is considered a bigger stage, and indeed in terms of money and names it’s definitely justifying the title, will any of the mentioned players consider a move?
Goalkeepers might be a problem for the club too. Although the American veteran has proved himself time and time again, it’s now getting hard to overlook Brad Friedel’s age. At 41, he’s on the wrong side of, well.. football’s retirement age. Only a handful have played past this age, and where VDS drew the line, Friedel seems determined to carry on fighting. The Brazilian Gomes has age on his side, but his eccentricity makes him a rather tough decision for the manager to make him the first choice keeper. Michel Vorm has been a talked about transfer target of late. There are bigger names, but will they fit the bill?
Strike options are also a pressing concern for Tottenham, but that’s nothing a well scouted investment or two can’t solve. A player in the mould of Didier Drogba, or at least an Emmanuel Adebayor would be a fine choice. Poachers with the finishing capability of Mario Gomez, Radamel Falcao or Robert Lewandowski would be apt transfer targets.
Granted, these are all big names, but for a club willing to move up and redefine itself, it seems like the way to go. Admittedly, plugging every single hole in one transfer window is not possible, nor is it advised. But with smart sales and smarter purchases, AVB could be on course for attaining the football glory that he did not quite get at Chelsea.
For Tottenham, again, all is probably not lost. But there’s a lot to be gained.
Note: Since the time of this article being written. Bale has signed a new four year deal with Tottenham.Published 28 Jun 2012, 21:02 IST