Franco Baldini and Andre Villas-Boas: the two men charged with assessing Tottenham's potential needs in the January transfer market.
The Premier League season has not even reached November yet and some of us are already thinking about the January transfer window.
Here on Bleacher Report, Laura Greene and Allan Jiang have both given their respective takes on Tottenham Hotspur's potential needs in the post-Christmas sales. Each agreed that the need for an additional left-back is required, while Greene explored the possibility of the club bringing in another forward.
The situation in regards to the latter has changed somewhat since then.
Roberto Soldado has scored twice in two Premier League games having not previously struck since August. The appearance of Emmanuel Adebayor on the Tottenham bench for last week's Europa League meeting with Sheriff Tiraspol has at least given a little credence to the idea of him again featuring for the club.
At left-back, Jan Vertonghen has been deputizing in the league for the injured Danny Rose. Spurs have further cover in Zeki Fryers and Kyle Naughton, but the former's inexperience and his older teammate's lack of a left foot have understandably left supporters questioning if there is not a better option elsewhere.
With manager Andre Villas-Boas' (at least current) preference for deploying a lone striker, he has more than enough numbers wise in the position. A quality left-back to compete with Rose and allow Vertonghen to play in his preferred central defensive role is a little more urgent, but not a desperate need for the manager.
Overall, Spurs' squad has plenty of depth and some enviable talent among it. But Villas-Boas and technical director Franco Baldini will still be contemplating what moves—if any—they can make to ensure their team reaches its main target of a top four finish this season.
Should the North London club find themselves trailing any of their rivals to any substantial degree, could they be tempted into pursuing a big-name, big-money move to try and lift their fortunes?
A lot of football will be played before then of course, and right now Villas-Boas will largely be content with the form of those he has already brought in.
Do Tottenham need to make a big move in the January transfer window?
Paulinho and Soldado have settled in especially well. Vlad Chiriches had responded encouragingly to his first-team opportunities too. Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela have found things a little harder in a crowded squad and a new league, but there have been enough glimpses of their quality to hint at future contributions.
Incorporating so many new players into the squad is challenging though, with Villas-Boas implementing what has essentially been a trial-and-error approach working out what works best for a side that was already in decent shape. With less substantial changes to their teams, this season's bright starters Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have been able to rely a little heavier on core players already at the club.
Even with their own considerable spending this past summer, Spurs made enough back in transfer sales that—coupled with the club's relatively healthy financial state—they could feasibly make a big move come January.
For fear of further upsetting the burgeoning sense of cohesion and understanding in the squad though, it is something they should avoid unless they pinpoint a realistic acquisition who could genuinely take the team forward.
That is placing a lot of stock in the squad having enough about it to succeed this year. But you do not spend the kind of money Spurs did and not then back the reasoning behind that expenditure.
Adjustments might be required here and there, but they have to be sensible and in tune with the kind of mid-season changes that are normal parts of a long season.
Dipping into the transfer kitty for tens of millions is only worth it for a player the quality of a Mesut Ozil or Daniel Sturridge, two individuals who were always likely to improve Liverpool and Arsenal as they have.
Baldini and Villas-Boas would not be doing their jobs if they were not looking for such opportunities in the transfer market. However the primary focus for the latter is continuing the solid work he is already doing improving his players and assembling them as a highly competitive unit capable of challenging for the biggest prizes.
Tottenham have enough within their ranks that is not beyond the realms of possibility.