What Tottenham Should be Doing in January Transfer Window
Tottenham Hotspur only need to target one position during the January transfer window: left-back.
It's a testament to the club's management in constructing an almost complete team.
Chairman Daniel Levy, technical director Franco Baldini and manager Andre Villas-Boas need a world-class left-back if they want Spurs to contend for the Premier League title.
Let's break down Tottenham's current left-back situation.
Kyle Naughton, who performs his best at right-back, is not a left-back. Left attacking midfielders Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nacer Chadli are right-footed, as is Naughton.
To play an inverted left-back and left attacking midfielder means Villas-Boas has no natural width on the left wing.
Zeki Fryers is only known for two things: calling out former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and being involved in a connivingly genius Levy transfer. Fryers hasn't accomplished anything of note and he doesn't have a body of work to suggest he can thrive at the highest level.
What about Benoit Assou-Ekotto?
Villas-Boas has spent his entire footballing career studying the sport. Assou-Ekotto has spent most of his footballing life avoiding any meaningful look at the beautiful game.
Hello every 0ne!!!!! b strong at work and thînk positif!!!! Even if u hâte ur boss LoL— Benoit Assou-Ekotto (@AssouEkotto) November 7, 2012
My last text is not about my boss lolol. Is for all my followers!!! :-)— Benoit Assou-Ekotto (@AssouEkotto) November 7, 2012
While Assou-Ekotto says he had no personal problem with Villas-Boas, the disconnect between the two was enough of a reason for Spurs management to send the Cameroonian left-back on loan to Queens Park Rangers, where he reunited with former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.
"I liked working with him [Redknapp], he has a cool attitude," Assou-Ekotto said, via David Hytner at The Guardian. "With AVB, it's more tactical."
Villas-Boas can use Jan Vertonghen, who started at left-back during Belgium's 2-1 win over Croatia, but he's a world-class centre-back, not a fill-in left-back.
If you're wondering why Vertonghen is playing left-back for Belgium, it's because their manager, Marc Wilmots, has gone down the Diego Maradona road of thinking by fielding four centre-backs.
How well did Vertonghen play? Bad.
Not only did he routinely turn the ball over, he couldn't stop marauding Croatian wing-back Sime Vrsaljko sending in 12 crosses.
Thankfully for Vertonghen, only one of Vrsaljko's crosses was accurate.
This leaves Villas-Boas with Danny Rose, who was solid on loan at Sunderland last season, though has no competition to push him.
Here are three left-backs Spurs should target in January.
3. Fabio Coentrao, Real Madrid, Age: 25
Underappreciated and a whipping boy for frustrated Madridistas, Coentrao was never going to live up to his €30 million transfer fee.
During Real Madrid's 3-2 win over Levante, he made Jordi Xumetra look elite, summing up Coentrao's up-and-down tenure with Real.
Him being Portuguese is ideal for Villas-Boas but Los Blancos will inflate Coentrao's transfer stock, which may lead Levy to sink the deal.
2. Ben Davies, Swansea City, Age: 20
He broke into the Swansea starting XI last season because of Neil Taylor's knee giving way.
Davies took advantage and has become one of the most promising left-backs in Europe.
There's a lot of hype surrounding Southampton's 18-year-old Luke Shaw, but he isn't a better player right now than Davies.
OK, Shaw has higher upside but that means nothing when Tottenham are in a win-now mentality.
Even though the Saints won't sell Shaw, especially with the club being ranked ahead of Spurs, imagine a scenario where Levy has to choose between Shaw and Davies.
The logical move would be Davies.
|Tackles Per Game||2.6||1.4|
|Tackle Success %||94||71|
|Interceptions Per Game||2.1||1.2|
1. Oliver Sorg, Freiburg, Age: 23
Sorg freakishly loves one-on-one situations in both halves of the field.
He makes 93 percent of his tackles and averages more dribbles per game (1.9) than West Ham United's Ravel Morrison (1.5), who started in his own half when he scored an amazing solo goal against Spurs.
Throw the statistics out the window when you watch Sorg and he's easily the most identifiable player.
He is always doing something whether it's running past several opposing players or putting in another tackle. This guy is two-footed, he can play right-back, left-back and has the skillset to play in midfield.
Everyone can talk about Baines, but he's going to be substantially more expensive than Sorg.
There is hardly any hype surrounding Sorg, which means Tottenham can sign him at a low transfer fee.
Sorg is a Levy-type move and could potentially be Steffen Freund cheap, who was signed for £750,000 from Borussia Dortmund in 1998 and went on to become a Spurs great.
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