Tottenham Hotspur Transfers: 3 Spurs Players on the Way Out This Summer
With the best part of three months of the 2012-13 Premier League campaign still to go, prospective summer transfer deals are not amongst the immediate priorities of clubs.
Yet, the season is at a stage where current events around the league are beginning to shape the direction teams will be heading in regards to the look of their respective squads. Especially those players whose futures may lie elsewhere.
A large part of what Tottenham Hotspur do in the transfer market depends on their finish to the season. But there are a few members of Andre Villas-Boas' squad who, for various reasons, are looking like they will be on their way out of North London this summer.
Tom Huddlestone experienced rotten luck just when things might have been truly coming together for him at Tottenham Hotspur.
Over the course of the 2009-10 season Huddlestone was playing some of his best football since joining the club in 2005. The six-foot-plus center midfielder was developing a robustness that had previous been lacking. Already a terrific passer of the ball, there was signs he was finding an accompanying defensive sturdiness to back it up.
Alongside Luka Modric, Huddlestone played his part in securing Tottenham Champions League qualification that year. The following season he started a little slowly, but then was cruelly denied the chance to push on when injury struck.
There would be intermittent periods of play for the next 18 months, but it felt like a crucial sense of momentum had been lost in his development. That feeling of an opportunity missed has only been enforced by his experiences in the Spurs team this season.
Huddlestone can still hit a beauty of a pass like few others can. But his ability to play a larger role than this has not much progressed since before. This is unsurprising considering the amount of football he missed and the lack of match time he is getting now.
For his sake, Huddlestone needs a fresh start. At 26, he is not going to develop into the all-round midfield star his potential once hinted at. But somewhere there is a team who could do with his eye for a pass.
Fulham were close to signing him in January before Spurs pulled out of the deal, and could still do with a creative midfielder of Huddlestone's type. Cottagers' boss (and former Spurs manager) Martin Jol might be the man to get the best out of him.
With William Gallas' contract expiring this summer, it is looking unlikely he will be offered an extension.
Villas-Boas recently talked about his plans to progress with only four central defenders (here, via The Guardian), speaking particularly highly of Michael Dawson who had been on the verge of being sold last summer.
With Jan Vertonghen, Steven Caulker and Younes Kaboul also at the club, Gallas is the one likely to make way.
Between the others, Tottenham have a solid range of attributes among them, covering the various bases required in the position. Although Gallas has his flaws, he is still a decent defender. What counts most against him is his age.
At 35 he is six years older than Dawson (and obviously even more for the others). Gallas does offer experience, but Spurs' other center backs are hardly lacking for it themselves.
With Kaboul still out, Villas-Boas will be glad to have Gallas around a little while longer. But come the summer, it will be time to move on.
Of the players mentioned in this list, Emmanuel Adebayor is the one with the biggest chance of earning a reprieve. Currently, Tottenham have only two experienced strikers, and a strong finish to the season from the Togo international would show the club why they spent £5 million to sign him on a permanent transfer last summer.
The problem is, Adebayor does not look like he is going to show that sort of form anytime soon. He has scored just three times this season. There were extenuating circumstances in the opening months (injury and fitness issues meant he didn't start for a while), but it has been difficult to excuse the struggles since.
There have been fleeting glimpses of his talent (a decent second half showing versus Lyon last week) and examples of the role he can still perform for his team (he got into good goalscoring positions against West Ham). But the baffling failure to back this up with genuine contributions to the team has left his future hanging in the balance.
One of the most significant measures of the difference between Adebayor now and the player that performed so effectively last season on loan is his assists tally. In addition to his 18 goals in 2011-12, he set up a further 12. This year he has not assisted a teammate once.
Admittedly, Tottenham have often lined up differently with several of the 28-year-old's starts having been as a lone striker. Inevitably that means periods of isolation, and a different sort of involvement to what you have with a partner upfront. Yet even with Jermain Defoe alongside him, Adebayor struggled to link up with him or others.
A story by Tom Collomosse in Thursday's edition of the London Evening Standard suggests Villas-Boas is about ready to call time on Adebayor's Tottenham stay. It might be a little too soon to say for sure, but if Adebayor does want to stay in North London he has got to start showing it soon.