We take a look at the summer ahead for Spurs.
What do they need?
A striker!! Spurs’ failure to qualify for the Champions League in the previous two seasons can be largely put down to two things: a curse put on the club by former boss Martin Jol after his unceremonious sacking and Daniel Levy’s failure to open his wallet and sign a half-decent striker.
Arguably, the club are yet to adequately replace soave sulker Dimitar Berbatov, who left for Manchester United way back in August 2008 for £30m (and Fraiser f-ing Campbell).
Emmanuel Adebayor had a great season under Harry Redknapp but, predictably, the long-shinned Togolese has looked totally disinterested this term, while fans’ favourite Jermain “shift and shoot” Defoe will never be good enough for a Champions League chasing club.
A whole host of possible solutions have been mooted from bulldozer Christian Benteke to poacher David Villa. But with Gareth Bale likely to continue as a trequartista next season, Spurs need a goalscorer who can lead the line alone, and Spaniards Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado seem good fits.
Please nobody mention Leandro Damiao. Ever.
Spurs also desperately need a creative midfielder, with Atletico Mineiro’s Bernard Duarte a possibility, while a left-back and wing cover should also be on Andre Villas-Boas’ summer shopping list.
What’s the budget?
Despite Liverpool fans consistent bleating that Spurs have ‘spent way more money than us’, Tottenham’s net spend in recent seasons has been minimal, as chairman Daniel Levy begins hoarding funds for a new stadium. Not since the summer of 2008, when David Bentley arrived at White Hart Lane, have Spurs significantly been in the red. Given the disastrous fall from grace of ‘Bents’, Levy’s tough stance is understandable but critics of the chairman will argue increased spending would have ensured Champions League footy since the successful debut campaign in 2010/11.
Spurs fans expecting this summer to be dramatically different should not get their hopes up. Levy will likely demand Villas-Boas clears the decks before buying but with Arsenal, Chelsea, City and Liverpool all certain to strengthen this summer, the chairman should sanction one big deal to ensure Spurs remain competitive next term.
Budget will be dramatically different of course if Spurs succumb to Florentino Perez’s probing and sell Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £80m plus…
Who could leave?
Bents and William Gallas are already out the door and expect two of Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore to follow. For different reasons, the midfield trio simply don’t cut it at the top of the Premier League anymore, although one will likely be kept as backup for the Beast (Sandro Ranieri).
Similarly, one of Defoe and Adebayor will be sold if Spurs can finally land a much-needed new centre-forward and find a willing taker.
With Danny Rose set to return from a loan at Sunderland, Benoit Assou-Ekotto also faces an uncertain future, while forgotten man Heurelho ‘the Octopus’ Gomes will return to Brazil.
Quadruple player of the year Bale will only leave if Spurs receive an offer they can’t refuse from Perez (who is less Godfather more Spanish Dave Whelan) but the Welshman is happy in north London and willing to stay at least one more season.
Worst case scenario
Bale and AVB both leave.
The Portuguese has been linked with a move to PSG, who are expecting Carlo Ancelotti to depart for Real Madrid in the coming weeks.
The Parisiens have the cash to easily meet AVB’s £10m release-clause and is plenty to attract the 35-year-old across the Channel: Champions League footy, world class players, bags of cash, a Portuguese-speaking director of football and a bolshy domestic challenger in Monaco.
Villas-Boas has never stayed at a club more than one season and his departure would be a disaster for Spurs, who are on the verge of appointing Franco Baldini as technical director on Villas-Boas’ advice.
The young manager is just beginning to install his philosophy on the pitch and Spurs would be back to square one should he jump ship. Fortunately, AVB has indicated a willingness to stay at Spurs to finish what he has started so well.
Bale, meanwhile, has undoubtedly passed into the realm of player who can now be classed as irreplaceable. Spurs could buy plenty of replacements with £85m but, still unable to pay massive wages, they would unlikely fill the hole left by the Welshman.
Best case scenario
Bale signs a new deal, AVB stays, and Spurs land a world class striker and creative midfielder.
A new deal for the 23-year-old Wales international would give everyone at the club a boost, and hopefully stop Perez and the equally classless Zinedine Zidane from blabbing about the forward every time their within a mile radius of a microphone.
We’ve said this more times than Brad Friedel’s had hot dinners but a top class striker seems to be the only glaring hole in Tottenham’s squad, while a midfielder capable of breaking down the more stubborn of Premier League opponents is also crucial.
If Spurs can land both, there’s no reason why the club cannot build on the strong start made by AVB last season and push for serious honours next term,