Hope For Spurs if Lessons Are Learnt
Back in 2005-06 when Tottenham narrowly missed out on Champions League football, the essence of the side was markedly different to the Tottenham side that now find themselves rooted to the foot of the Premier League table.
Back then Martin Jol was in charge of the first team and his fervent belief was that a successful Spurs team required a strong, young British core to drive the side.
The Spurs board, however, failed to believe Jol could take Spurs to the promised land of the top four and set about luring Seville's Juande Ramos to White Hart Lane, behind the Dutchman's back.
The whole unsavoury episode concluded with Jol—along with the rest of the world—knowing he had been sacked before the UEFA Cup tie with Getafe in October 2007, his last game in charge.
Ramos arrived with a heady reputation and appeared to have brought with him the midas touch that brought Seville consecutive UEFA Cups, especially when Tottenham defeated Chelsea to lift the Carling Cup in February of this year.
A slew of big name summer signings followed, including Luka Modric, Gio Dos Santos and David Bentley. Expectations were high for the forthcoming season.
Instead, disaster has greeted Spurs. The failure to adequately replace Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane, and Dimitar Berbatov has certainly hit Spurs hard. Bent isn't up to leading the line, Campbell is too inexperienced to be relied upon and Pavlyuchenko is not in the same league as Berbatov.
On top of this, the Spurs coaching staff apparently feel Bent and Pavlyuchenko cannot play together.
Since it was utterly obvious to all parties that Berbatov would leave North London this summer, surely it would have been wiser to conclude a deal with Manchester United earlier, for less money, so as to allow time for proper replacements to be found. Instead Tottenham have squeezed a couple of extra million out of United and left their attacking line worryingly threadbare.
However, possibly Tottenham's biggest error of the past few seasons is the failure to properly replace Michael Carrick. Spurs lack a true holding midfielder, and whilst Didier Zokora has been assigned the task, he simply isn't the bedrock the Tottenham midfield need to allow Bentley, Modric, Dos Santos et al to flourish.
Someone of the Christian Poulsen or Didi Hamman ilk is urgently needed.
Daniel Levy and Damien Comolli have come in for some deserved criticism recently, yet the players brought in this summer are clearly superior to previous Comolli forays into the transfer market (Younes Kaboul, Kevin Prince Boateng anyone?).
Given one or two carefully selected signings up front and in midfield there is no reason why Spurs cannot get back on track. After all, they do have a ferociously talented squad and a manager who knows what it takes to win.
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