When Steven Caulker was transferred to Cardiff Thursday of this week, Tottenham fans might have been scratching their heads. After all, Jan Vertonghen’s injury meant that it was likely the England defender would be needed for the opener against Crystal Palace in two weeks’ time.
Step forward to Saturday’s friendly against Monaco. Spurs launched a defensive line of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose on the wings, with Jake Livermore and Zeki Fryers in the middle of the defense.
Laugh now because unless a few bodies get healthy, it is entirely possible that this may be the same line that appears in the opener.
Vertonghen will be a match-day decision, while Michael Dawson did not make the trip due to injury according to Metro. Younes Kaboul, the other central defender, has yet to make an appearance after his season-long injury layoff. Even if he were ready to start the season, how effective the French defender could be on return is up for debate.
If Dawson’s injury is serious and Kaboul is not ready to make the leap back into the squad, Tottenham will likely have to splash unwanted cash out on two defenders. Whether or not Spurs believed they had the signing of Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches in the bag, the club has shot itself in the foot by not waiting until it was actually a done deal.
The Caulker deal may be one of the most underrated deals made so far in this transfer window. Cardiff might have gotten themselves an excellent defender, while Tottenham might have offloaded a player too soon to reap the benefit of his play. That they did so without the proper cover might be the kind of mistake that, like last term, costs them points right out of the box.
Deuce Let Loose to Seattle
Caulker was the first player out the White Hart Lane door but was not the only man to hit the dusty trail.
Clint Dempsey will exit only a year after his arrival, as Seattle Sounders managed to land the player for just a spot under £6 million, according to ESPNFC. As odd as the timing seems, it makes plenty of sense on several levels.
First off, Spurs will get back just about what they paid for the American in the first place, and for a 30-year-old forward, that had to make chairman Daniel Levy smile a bit. Dempsey’s playing time is also likely to increase as the Texan would have to burrow past newly acquired Nacer Chadli for time on the wing.
It sure does not hurt Dempsey that the Sounders are signing him to a four-year, $32 million contract. That’s the biggest single contract ever offered in MLS, one that eclipses Thierry Henry and David Beckham’s base salary deals.
While some are questioning the move—Jeff Carlisle of ESPNFC chief among them—the move is probably the best for both parties. The only loser in the deal is NBC Sports, who is now left to wonder if anyone they bother to use as an advertising marker is actually going to play in the Premier League this term.
AVB Drops the Mic
For the first time in nearly a week, there was a little bit of fire in Andre Villas-Boas' voice when the discussion after the Monaco match turned to Gareth Bale.
Unlike after the match in Hong Kong, where AVB had to play defense and was less-than-committal in answering questions from the press, the Spurs’ head coach was rather peeved by the whole affair. Instead of ducking any questions, AVB went on the offensive.
While I’m sure that the Portuguese boss and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti get along fine under normal circumstances, these particular days hardly count as "normal."
Via Sky Sports:
When asked if he felt Ancelotti was in the wrong, Villas-Boas said: I think so, in my opinion.
Carlo is a person I appreciate a lot and we have great respect for each other, but bearing in mind this situation they have decided to make it public.
Normally in situations like this it is scrutinised by the Football Association with lots of care and attention. We have seen lots of people speak about a player that is not theirs and we are due some respect.
The Spurs boss also said that the only communication was that Bale was not for sale, trumpeting a similar line to early last week. While not a hellfire and brimstone speech by any accord, it is rare for AVB to take such a strong stance on a topic—outside of questions relating to Chelsea, anyway.
Given what AVB had just watched at the Stade Louis II, there might have been some frustration still bottled up from the match itself. As the situation with the Welshman lingers on, it would not be surprising if more and more pushback were to follow.
Tottenham have been fairly nice on the subject but two weeks until the 2013-14 season kicks off is no time to be guessing whether a player will or will not be on the pitch. There is likely to be sharper tongues involved between the boss and players if the situation does not end soon.