Four Summer Transfer Targets for Tottenham?
After a successful season at White Hart Lane that has seen Tottenham secure a record point total, manager Harry Redknapp will relish the prospect of not having to wheel and deal this summer.
If Tottenham does hold on to fourth position in the face of intense pressure from the expensively assembled Manchester City squad, Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy is likely to hand his manager a considerable transfer pot to ensure that the the club establishes itself as a regular participant in the Champions League and a contender for the Premier League title.
If the team loses its concentration in Manchester and City secures three points at Upton Park on Sunday, the budget will be relatively modest, the transfer targets less exclusive.
There will be several positions that the London club will look to strengthen—the team is weak at left-back, lacks a world-class striker, and often fails to retain possession in central midfield.
Here, I look at players who may be on Tottenham's radar over the summer, starting with the players with the highest profile and value, who may only be lured by Champions League football.
There will be many other clubs waving bank notes at these players, and Tottenham must be decisive and act swiftly if they are to take a step forward in their recruitment drive.
No 1: The Wing Wizard Angel Di Maria
22 year-old Argentine Angel Di Maria is hot property right now.
The pacy youngster is set to stand out at the World Cup, even among a string of other world-class players in Maradona's Argentina squad.
Such has been the level of his performances this season in a Benfica shirt.
"Angel has the quality to be a worldwide superstar within the next two years," says Coach Maradona.
Benfica was quick to recognize the player's potential, and has attempted to ward off potential suitors by inserting a minimum €40 million release fee in his contract.
Yet, they would be ill-advised to keep hold of the player if the right club were to make the right noises and offer the Portuguese club the right deal.
Spurs would unlikely spend this sort of money on a player who is still at a developmental stage in his career. But Chairman Levy has a nose for a hard bargain, and will have noticed the huge impact winger Cristiano Ronaldo had on the Premier League.
If the chairman could offer Di Maria Champions League football for an ambitious Premier League team based in London on a lucrative salary, and Di Maria can find €25 million appealing (which might be raised through the sale of Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley), then perhaps the trade could be possible.
He may well snap up the next big thing and propel his club forward at an alarming rate.
Not only would the purchase enable Spurs to employ Luka Modric in a more influential role in central midfield, but it would also provide Redknapp with more options in attack (since Di Maria is capable of playing as a striker, in the hole, and on the wing).
No 2: Premier League Outcast Diego Forlan
Man Utd fans, look away now!
While it is true that Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan was often ridiculed during his Premier League career, it is also true that the Uruguayan striker won the Pichichi Trophy (aka La Liga Golden Boot award) at both Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.
In fact, with 195 goals from 410 matches in his professional career, Forlan's record is enviable for many Premier League forwards.
In the right environment and with the right supporting cast, Forlan has all the skills, strength and finishing ability to fire Tottenham to more success, and may well be keen to banish the memory of 10 goals in 61 games for the Red Devils.
By the time next season rolls around, Forlan will be 31 years old, which may reduce his transfer value significantly. If Spurs offers his Spanish club €20 million or suggests a part swap deal involving either Jermain Defoe or Roman Pavlyuchenko, then Forlan could have the last laugh, in turn leading Tottenham into a new era of success.
Any transfer deal may need to be wrapped up, however, before Forlan makes a mockery of England's defense in the June World Cup Group encounter.
No 3: Harry's Protege—Joe Cole
29-year-old Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole may have been injured for a large part of this season and may be on the radar of Liverpool after infuriating Russian billionaire Roman Abrahmovic with supposedly extortionate wage demands.
With Chelsea looking to seal a deserved league title on Sunday, French winger Florent Malouda appears to have ousted Cole from his wide berth with a series of energetic, mature and productive displays.
Cole is looking for a move away from Stamford Bridge, and although Spurs will not offer the wages he is purportedly after, the former Hammer would be foolish not to consider a return to playing under manager Harry Redknapp, under whom he made his name as a Premier League superstar.
Available on a Bosman free transfer this summer, Tottenham's chairman may be persuaded by Redknapp to break the club's sensible wage structure as a sound investment for a player who still has the ability to change and control matches and the charisma to become an important first-team member.
No 4: Behind Bale, Antonio Lopez Guerrero
Although Lopez is perhaps not the big name that many Spurs fans may be hoping for, the Spanish international left-back is reliable in defense, at the peak of his career and has considerable Champions League and international experience.
Although current left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, he has on several occasions let down his teammates with his aimless passing and rash challenges in and around the box.
Lopez is perhaps the low-profile, consummate professional Spurs needs to back up Gareth Bale and allow the Welshman to do what he does best—attack opposition full-backs with pace and create chances for the strikers.
A bid of €10 million should be enough to seal the deal.