Paulinho's Arrival Should Open the Exit Door for Tottenham's New Fringe Players
All seems to be good in Tottenham’s world for the moment.
The summer recruitment drive began in earnest when Corinthians waived goodbye to Paulinho as his departure from the club means Spurs have gained a potent central midfielder. The Brazilian proved to be quite the asset at the Confederations Cup and now will be plying his trade in a new shade of white this term.
While it represents the first incoming player at White Hart Lane, it should signal the beginning of exits from the club in short order.
In fairness, a good chunk of the players that needed to be moved off the books have already been released. William Gallas, David Bentley and John Bostock were the major names that departed back in June to little fanfare.
Now, the club must sort out the futures of Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker, Emmanuel Adebayor and Benoit Assou-Ekotto before much longer.
Huddlestone looks like the first to move on with Sunderland looking to add to Paulo di Canio’s overhaul at the Stadium of Light. It will be sad to see the big fella go, with his solid passing and hammerblow shots no longer careening around the pitch at White Hart Lane.
However, with Paulinho’s arrival, Huddlestone falls deeper into the quagmire of the bench as his skill set does not match any of the three midfield spots in Andre Villas-Boas’ 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 systems. A move might also reignite a chance for him to make a push for the England squad in the upcoming World Cup.
The same might be said for Parker, who will be watching his direct replacement take hold for Spurs soon. Parker’s terrier-like approach to the game is one that inspires those around him.
But box-to-box midfield types have to be effective going forward as well as defensively. Parker may have been as dogged in defense as any player in Lilywhite kits but his ability to drive the offense forward has waned over the last year.
The inability to spark the offense on the counter or drive it in possession means that Parker is likely to find himself on the outside looking in more often than not.
Assou-Ekotto has never necessarily been the consummate all-in man for the club he plays for. It was his fabled interview in the Guardian that rankled many noses with his blunt assessment of why many play the game.
His performances up to this past term had hints of the exciting and the erratic but that did not seem to please AVB. That the boss would turn to right-back Kyle Naughton to fill in on the left should tell anyone who watched all they needed to know about Assou-Ekotto’s place in the squad.
Perhaps the most disappointing—though anyone who has watched his history will not have been surprised—was Adebayor, who was one of the club’s key performers two campaigns ago.
The loss of Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric combined with a new manager and Bale’s free role meant that Adebayor was required to hold up play in a way that was far different from the previous year. Instead of pinging passes with van der Vaart, Adebayor was expected to hold and distribute the ball, not necessarily the Togo man’s strong suit.
The fact that his transfer took so long to complete should have sent red flags up immediately. The forward has rarely looked settled in a second term after his departure from Arsenal.
His lack of interest in matches against clubs he does not hold personal vendettas against is something that cannot happen from the next forward that replaces him.
The Sun is one of the first—though surely not the last—to actually link Parker, Assou-Ekotto and Adebayor to different clubs after Metro’s report that they were on the market. Regardless of their destination, it is soon drawing time for the vacation plans to become house-hunting plans instead.
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