July 1, 2008 and the transfer window slides invitingly open. The majority of the column inches in recent weeks—whilst interspersed with speculation, deliberation and down right fibs—are taken up with Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential move to the second best league in the world.
While the tabloids are salivating over the potential twists and turns this story takes over the coming months, I, in all honesty couldn’t give a monkey’s.
Where he is playing his football next year is no skin off my rosy nose and quite frankly seeing his irksome grin in every paper and news broadcast every minute of every day is making me sick. I have my own concerns and that is of course with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
No one is quite sure how the coffers of the North London club are being so readily replenished but it seems Spurs are intent on gate crashing the top four next season by doing what most other successful clubs have done—throwing money at it.
While Spurs have an unpleasant history of useless and expensive signings, the signals these days seem to suggest that lessons are beginning to be learnt (the jury is still out on Darren Bent, I don’t care what anyone else thinks!).
If however yours truly was given the keys to the Lillywhite vaults for an afternoon of unadulterated, football squandering—say £30m?—there are a few names that leap to mind.
Firstly, Lucas Podolski. This guy is class. While as it stands Dimitar Berbatov still lays claim to the number 9 shirt at White Hart Lane, the young German would be a fantastic replacement should Dimi leave. Like his Bulgarian counterpart Podolski scores goals and he creates goals. Unlike the sulky Balkan, he is lightening fast and works damned hard for the team. He doesn’t quite have the touch that Berbatov possess but very few strikers do.
What Podolski can offer, is ability, effort and ruthless German/Polish efficiency both home and away. His current club Bayern Munich don’t seem as keen and with new manager and former Spurs legend Jurgen Klinsmann holding the striker’s reigns, he may be inclined to let his man go and experience life at the Lane, just like he did. Friends in high places indeed. £12m would be a snip.
In midfield I am wrangling over two players. My first choice would be Marcos Senna of Villareal, however, as his side have just pipped Barcelona to second place in La Liga and have Champions League football to boast of, he may not be so keen to come.
Still my second choice, another Spaniard, may be easier to coax. David Albelda is younger than Senna and has had some contractual difficulties with his current side Valencia. Whilst Ronald Koeman was in charge at the Mestella, Albelda seemed destined to leave. His pleas for desertion have fallen quiet of late but a bid of £5m for the tough tackling 30 year old would see that right.
With Juande Ramos in charge and European football on offer, all be it the Uefa Cup, Spurs could be a great place for him to make his mark again.
If I were to pick the team of the Euro’s right now, there is only one player I would put in the left back spot. Russia’s Yuri Zhirkov. His performances have been solid and dependable and at 24, he plays a lot like Ashley Cole did when he was that age.
He is currently plying his trade at CSKA Moscow and surely a bid of around £8m would be enough to secure his signature. The going rate for quality full backs these days should lie between £5m (Bacary Sagna) and £8m (Alan Hutton).
The £15m Chelsea shelled out for ex-Porto defender Jose Bosingwa is over inflated and ridiculous. These championships have shown that Zhirkov is a better player and more value for money than the new Blues right back.
So there you have it. Three quality additions and some change from my £30m. A good days shopping I think.
Now what to spend that change on?