Spurs Dither As Huntelaar Looks Elsewhere

Vince BaileyContributor IJuly 21, 2009

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21:  Klaas Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid in action during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on April 21,  2009 in Madrid Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Tottenham look set to miss out on Dutch striker Klass Jan-Huntelaar as he remains on course for an £18 million move to Stuttgart.  It was widely reported that he was keen to hold out for a move to the Premier League, with a fee and personal terms having been agreed between Real Madrid and the Bundesliga side over a week ago. 

In any case, Spurs appear to have left it too late and with the Champions League deadline for new signings just a few days away it is unlikely that an eleventh hour move could come to fruition. 

Harry Redknapp is a known bargain hunter.  A reputation respectfully afforded him after many years spent scouring the lower divisions of English football for promising starlets and, more recently, the free transfer market, a graveyard from which he has resurrected a number of careers in seemingly terminal decline. 

Equally Daniel Levy (Tottenham Hotspur chairman) is known to be a prodigious negotiator, refusing to retreat from his £30 million asking price for Dimitar Berbatov while securing a cool £10 million net for what was essentially a six-month loan deal to Liverpool for the services of Robbie Keane. 

Surely a match made in heaven, particularly for a club not blessed with the luxury of Arab oil wealth or a Russian oligarch?

Of course stringent negotiation has its own price.  Berbatov's transfer to Manchester United ticked all of the boxes financially but left little time for the club to replace the talismanic, if reluctant, forward. 

Furthermore, with the greatest of respect to West Ham and Portsmouth, bargain hunting should not be considered a pre-requisite when employing a manager at a club that professes an ambition to dine at football's top table.

Ultimately, Tottenham must evaluate the extent of their ambition to challenge for a place in the Champions League. 

Levy and co may balk at the prospect of paying top dollar for players unproven in the Premier League but this conservatism could prove to be a false economy within twelve months.  Man City have a transfer kitty that could make Real Madrid blush, if only they could persuade some galacticos to take the plunge and move to Eastlands. 

More importantly though, Arsenal, the team most vulnerable to challenge from the second-tier of English football, are at their lowest ebb for several years and appear more concerned with servicing the club's debts than strengthening their squad.

If Tottenham continue to dither in the transfer market then the gulf in class between themselves and the top four is only likely to grow.  How difficult will it be 12 months from now to keep the likes of Modric, Lennon and Woodgate after another season of mediocrity? 

It may be stretching the point to imply that a marquee signing, such as Huntelaar, will be enough to secure a top four finish next season. 

However, unrest is increasingly pervading a fan base all too used to false dawns, and frustrated with the lack of pro-activity in the transfer market this summer. It may be the least they can do to placate the dissidents.