January Transfer Window: Five Possible Replacements for Tottenham's Sandro
Although Tottenham continued their impressive climb up the table with a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, it came at a heavy cost. Both Sandro and William Gallas tore their calf muscles in the game.
The loss of William Gallas shouldn't hurt Tottenham too much. Gallas has looked rather poor in the games he has played in, and his injury arrives at a time when Michael Dawson and Ledley King should both be approaching full match fitness.
Sebastian Bassong still makes for a capable enough fifth-choice center back, and with Christopher Samba rumors stronger than ever, I wouldn't be surprised to seem him at White Hart Lane before the end of January.
But Sandro is a different story. Technically speaking, Tottenham have three replacements for Sandro alongside Luka Modric: They are Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker.
But all of these players are much more central midfielders than they are defensive midfielders. Their tackling, as well as their ability to read and break up play, isn't on par with Sandro.
Furthermore, they themselves aren't in perfect health. Tom Huddlestone is still not expected to return until February, while Scott Parker and Jake Livermore have minor injuries which they should both return from in about a week.
Taking this all into account, it might be wise for Tottenham to recruit a defensive midfielder to compensate for the loss of Sandro. A Wilson Palacios-type player, back when he was at his best.
Here are five of the best current possible replacements on the market.
Carlos Casemiro rumors seem to blow hot and cold. One day he's one of the hottest properties in world football, the next day you can hardly find a single rumor on him.
And what Spurs fan would complain about stealing an Arsenal target?
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As with Carlos Casemiro, Yann M'Vila rumors have died down considerably since Arsenal were seemingly dead set on acquiring him earlier this season.
But he remains available, albeit for a not-so-small transfer fee of €20m. Tottenham have never really been linked with the Frenchman, but they could sneak into the bidding and make M'Vila their "special signing" for the winter.
Having already picked up 17 caps with France's national team, despite being only 21 years old, M'Vila has great upside and could become one of the world's best defensive midfielders in the near future.
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Cheik Tiote has continued to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League for Newcastle United this season after a very solid 2010-11 season.
And even though Cheik Tiote has himself said that he isn't thinking of moving anywhere in January (other than to Gabon and New Guinea with the rest of the Ivory Coast squad), Alan Pardew has admitted that anything is possible in the transfer window.
Cheik Tiote is signed onto an insanely long six-and-a-half year, which is sure to force any team interested to pay a rather high transfer fee, but Tiote's experience in the Premier League may be valuable enough to Harry Redknapp for him to consider making a deal.
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Jan Vertonghen has been somewhat of a fan favorite here at B/R. Practically every Tottenham rumors article I've made has a discussion of the benefits of acquiring Vertonghen located in it.
On this occasion, I'm all for bringing in Vertonghen. His ability to play as a center back or defensive midfielder is exactly what Tottenham need at present.
Currently, it seems that Arsenal and Newcastle are also pursuing the Ajax captain, but hopefully rumors of Tottenham leading the chase will prove true and Vertonghen will be a Tottenham player in January.
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What, didn't he just get done saying that Jake Livermore wasn't defensive enough?
At present, I don't believe he is, but in time, he certainly could be.
Harry Redknapp has developed a reputation of being a very anti-rotation manager. He finds a starting XI that he likes, and is willing to stick with that XI throughout a whole season if injuries permit.
What this means is that very little youth development ever occurs under Redknapp, at least since he's been Tottenham's manager.
Most of Tottenham's biggest prospects, like Andros Townsend, Harry Kane and Thomas Carroll, have been sent out on loan until the end of the season, since Redknapp no longer has the Europa League to give them experience.
But Livermore has remained because he is one of the few youngsters who Redknapp believes that he can groom now. And with Sandro out, the perfect opportunity exists for Livermore to pick up more playing time.
Normally, Livermore is buried on the bench behind Sandro, who normally is also on the bench while Scott Parker starts alongside Luka Modric.
Thus, had Sandro not gotten injured, Livermore would be Tottenham's second-choice center midfielder off the bench, meaning he'd see substitutes minutes every two or three games, if he was lucky.
Now, however, Livermore is the go-to guy if Redknapp wants to rest Parker, or wants to play with two defensive midfielders. This means that Livermore will get much more playing time and develop much faster than he otherwise would have, which could be a very good thing for Tottenham in the long run.
What do you think? Personally, even with Livermore as a great young option coming through, I'd love to see Vertonghen come into the team as a defensive midfielder who can also excel as a center back (which is currently his primary position).
And everyone knows Vertonghen can also play as a left back, which only adds to his versatility.
But if Vertonghen is ruled out as an acquisition, I think Livermore should prove an adequate substitution or replacement for Sandro until he returns, which I expect will occur late in March or early in April if he has indeed suffered a calf tear and not a strain.