Spurs May Come to Regret Their Quiet January Transfer Window

Nick MillerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2014

Tottenham's manager Tim Sherwood gestures from the touch line as he watches his team during the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Unlike previous years, when the last hours of the transfer window brought frantic action at Tottenham, White Hart Lane was a quiet place this January.

Nobody has arrived and several players have left. Most of those departures were youngsters leaving on loan that will have little immediate impact on Tim Sherwood's first team, but a couple of the exits are significant.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

The only piece of business done on deadline day was to loan Lewis Holtby out to Fulham, while the sale of Jermain Defoe to Toronto was confirmed, with Defoe due to leave London at the end of February.
Of course, none of this was a surprise, despite late links to Liverpool target Yevhen Konoplyanka, as reported by The Daily Telegraph, among others.

Tim Sherwood had always maintained that he would not be active in the transfer window, indeed confirming on Friday that he was perfectly content with the players at his disposal. He was quoted as saying by Sky Sports:

I've said from day one that we've got a lot of players at the club, and I've not changed my opinions just because it's deadline day.

I know it's hectic out there, I know the fans will be out there and they'll want another 10 signings, but believe me it's not always the correct way to go about it - just to buy players and throw them at a manager.

In some respects it's an admirable stance and fits with Sherwood's policy of preferring to trust players he knows, as shown by his continued selection of Nabil Bentaleb, with whom he worked in the Tottenham youth system.

The club spent plenty of money in the summer, which didn't do them a great deal of good, so keeping their transfer powder dry might look like a shrewd move.

However, the January business done—or not, as the case may be—leaves Spurs troublingly light in some key areas, most crucially up front. Defoe might not have been a particularly consistent or reliable presence in the Spurs side, but after his departure, Sherwood only has two senior specialist strikers at his disposal in Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado.

The former has been impressive since his return to the team but has a history of inconsistency, while Soldado's struggles since his summer move from Valencia have been well-documented.

It's doubly curious that the Spurs have not only failed to add a striker but are losing one as well when Sherwood has often favoured a 4-4-2 system. Perhaps Sherwood will place similar faith in youngster Harry Kane as he has in Bentaleb, but the 20-year-old forward only has two senior goals to his name—if anything happens to either Adebayor or Soldado, or even if their form collapses, Kane will be their only option.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Sherwood has reverted to something closer to a 4-2-3-1 system in recent games, but even then, with the departure of Holtby, he has lost another option to play behind a striker. That is not the end of the world, given he already has Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela who can play there, but it adds to the impression that Tottenham's squad has been weakened, rather than strengthened this month.

Sherwood's inaction in the transfer window might seem sensible to him, but he may come to regret it later in the season.