If you rifled through the article Sam Tighe posted about Tottenham's willingness to part company with a player or six, some of the names would have come as little surprise if you watched the Spurs this season.
Scott Parker, for all of his industry, did not fit any of Andre Villas-Boas’ midfield archetypes; Tom Huddlestone still has the turning radius of a B-52 bomber; and as for Benoit Assou-Ekotto...well, who knows.
One name, however, stood out rather obdurately among the list: Andros Townsend.
Sure, no one outside of the development league has seen Iago Falque or Bongani Khumalo; Brad Friedel, dependable as he is, is a couple of months away from obtaining his AARP card; and Heurelho Gomes was out on loan and forgotten about.
Emmanuel Adebayor, meanwhile, was either a misled world-beater or capable of producing such displays as to make one yearn for the recently retired Mido again.
Townsend, on the other hand, was out on loan and actually proving to be quite useful.
Granted, that was for QPR, but his performances were among the best that the Hoops got all season.
For a player thrust into the wild ride of a relegation scrap for experience, it is a little shameful that his name is being flogged about as a possible trade chip.
Quite frankly, had Townsend still been in Tottenham colors late in the season, he might have even been the man to rescue Tottenham’s Champions League dream.
To wit, let us return to the scene of a particularly nasty moment of the season: the home loss to Fulham.
Personally, this is the moment where the Spurs were dealt a mortal wound in their push for the big time after they were sunk by the Cottagers 1-0 in a display that even Reading would have frowned upon.
After squeaking past Inter Milan—by sheer luck, more than anything—in the Europa League, White Hart Lane’s heroes turned to villains by rolling over for a Fulham side that should have been easy pickings.
Instead, because of back-to-back losses to Liverpool and Inter, AVB tried to shuffle the pack by introducing BAE into the attack and moving Jan Vertonghen to left back.
Vertonghen out wide was not an issue; BAE trying to be a winger was.
Meanwhile, in a different part of town, Townsend was proving to be one of the sole reasons QPR was even remotely interesting. The English winger seemed to be freed of the shackles restraining him during his appearances for the Spurs.
The day before Tottenham crashed to defeat, Townsend was flying about against Aston Villa, drawing the Hoops level but unable to paper over the many deficiencies that saw the London side drop to the Championship.
Townsend was in his best stretch of matches right when the Spurs needed a boost. His involvement might have been the difference between third, fourth and fifth place in the Premier League standings.
Yet, as it stands, AVB seems to not have an interest in him.
It is a rather troubling thought considering the erstwhile problem of a lack of depth at the wing positions.
With respect to Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby and Mousa Dembele, none of those players have anywhere near the required pace to really play the wing position that Tottenham thrives on.
Gareth Bale’s free-roaming position meant that often only one flank had the speed to create the desired effect needed on the break.
With Townsend’s emergence, the Spurs have the chance to fix that problem without actually having to spend money to do so.
It does create some selection difficulties, but any time either Bale or Aaron Lennon goes down, would it not be nice to plug an actual winger in?
The formation that Tottenham uses this season might change more into the 4-3-3 AVB really wants to use, but that formation still needs wingers.
Others in the list might not be missed, but shutting the door on a player who blossomed late into the year, even away from home, seems a little shortsighted when he might fix a hole that is dearly in need of filling.
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