The transfer window is turning in to one of the most marmite parts of modern day football. Opinion is split on the January window; Premier League managers usually view it, and the media hype that surrounds it, with distain. Fans opinions are mixed, as some fans seem to be sick of it, whilst others live off it like it is the air they need to breathe. I sum up my own thoughts on the window; if my team make a couple of good signings I love it, if not, I hate it – fickle, but honest.
I am a Spurs fan and over the past few January’s the transfer window has become one of my most hated times in the season.
I have actually started to dread January, not because Christmas is over and I have a severe dose of the January blues, but because it leaves me, as a fan, uncertain and disappointed that my team doesn’t seem to be trying to maximise its chances of success.
No doubt many Spurs fans will use the Groundhog Dog analogy to describe this January’s activity – it feels like we have been here before, we have. I don’t to bang on about it, because it has been done to death, but for the past three seasons, we have been looking for that top quality striker, a player that constantly scores goals and can play in any formation, a ‘complete’ world-class striker. Spurs haven’t had a striker like this since Jurgen Klinsmann, some would argue Dimitar Berbatov fits that category (not for me), but a real world-class striker that becomes indispensable. This type of striker is an endangered species in the football world and extremely hard to come by, unless you have an extremely large wallet.
Leandro Damiao is one striker that could have been that man for Spurs. He is no doubt a talent player; Damiao has great technical ability and is a good finisher, as well as having the physical characteristics of a striker capable of playing as a pair or on his own. Damiao is the type of player Spurs are looking for, but he is largely unproven.
Inter reportedly wanted close to £20million for the player, with Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, willing to pay only £13million. £20million doesn’t seem a lot in today’s market when you consider other options. Players like Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao and Robert Lewandowski are going to cost £30million+ and would they even sign for Spurs with the club’s Champions League status for next season still undecided. Sometimes making a signing in January is a great shout as you can steal a march on the competition if you leave it late and act swiftly…and we know Levy loves to leave it late.
The deal wasn’t all on the last day according to AVB, who has come to the defence of his chairman by saying “We’ve [Spurs] approached the clubs from the beginning” in reference to the pursuits of Lewis Holtby and Leandro Damiao. This slightly conflicts not only AVB’s previous comments on Holtby’s arrival not looking likely in January (even after Sandro injury), but mainly the information coming out of Schalke and Inter respectively for the first two weeks of January. In saying that, it is important to remember clubs have their own agenda when it comes to things like this and control the messages out of their clubs.
Levy has come in for some criticism, especially after previous mishaps – missing the signing of Joao Moutinho in the summer and previous poor January signings such Eidur Gudjohnsen and Louis Saha. You can see why fans are frustrated having seen Spurs command a top four place until the New Year, only for their form to dip, ultimately costing them a Champions League place. Spurs are not in as good a position as they were this time last season; third with a big gap between them and Chelsea.
This season has been a different tale, with Spurs failing to win the must win matches and have ridden their luck with the performance of other teams contributing to Spurs remaining in fourth place. Norwich in mid-week was a classic example of this. It seemed a game destined for a loss until Lewis Holtby came on and changed the game, lucky Holtby was around or it could have been like a few other games this season where Spurs have lacked the cutting edge – Stoke and Wigan at Home spring to mind.
If it wasn’t for the Holtby signing, a player in the mould of previous target Moutinho, that finds space and provides killer passes from central areas to unlock defences, Leandro Damiao would have been a more pressing issue. Lewis Holtby’s arrival means Clint Dempsey could be seen as a forward player as Holtby comes in as a number 10. This gave Levy the confidence to get the right deal for the club and stick to his guns over asking price. Levy is a good businessman – any business deals that are not painful and are easy to complete, are generally not good deals.
We will have to see how this season pans out before Levy is judged again on not digging deep enough in to his pocket to complete the Leandro Damiao signing. If Spurs don’t qualify for the Champions League, then fingers will be pointed – the lack of firepower has been obvious all season. Emmanuel Adebayor, who once claimed if all he does in a game is work hard the fans will appreciated him, has looked a shadow of last season. Clint Dempsey’s form has been poor and is no striker. Certain fans think it is time for Levy to go, but if you are sensible, you know he is a good man to have in charge. The bigger problem is we don’t have the financial clout to compete with the big boys on transfer fees or wages.
This season is a big one for Spurs; current players such as Gareth Bale must be retained if the team are to progress, new players will need to be recruited to push Spurs to the next level (especially a striker), and Champions League football is vital to achieve with a new stadium on the horizon, as well as the gap closing with Everton joining Chelsea and Arsen*l in the hunt for the Champions League places. Lets just hope we manage to score enough goals and it is not the fact we cannot change a game by introducing a striker that costs us again.
Big game against West Brom today, must win – COYS.