Tottenham Transfer Rumors: 5 Players Tottenham Should Sell Before Next Season

Mohamed Al-HendyCorrespondent IJune 22, 2011

Tottenham Transfer Rumors: 5 Players Tottenham Should Sell Before Next Season

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    The 2011-2012 summer transfer window has not been a quiet one for Tottenham.

    They've been linked with nearly every decent striker on the planet, and have been in negotiations with Internacional for some time now to bring 21-year-old Leandro Damiao to White Hart Lane.

    They've had to deal with big offers from Manchester United and Chelsea unsettling Luka Modric, but seem set to appease him for at least one more year with an improved contract.

    And although the Joe Cole rumors have faded a bit since early June, it still looks like a transfer that Redknapp is keen on completing—the same goes for Scott Parker.

    However, before Harry Redknapp and Tottenham add any more players to the squad, they need to sell some.

    The squad has too many players playing in certain positions (particularly in the midfield), and unless Harry Redknapp wants to deal with player complaints and tension in the locker room all season long, he'll need to sell off players who don't figure into his plans for the coming season.

    With that in mind, here are the five players who should not be in Redknapp's plans for next year, and thus should be sold off as soon as possible. 

Sebastian Bassong

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    Yes, I know what some of you are wondering: Why Bassong? He's only 24, a regular starter for his national team and he generally performs well when he plays. Why would we want to sell him?

    But the bold phrase above is where the problem lies: He doesn't play much anymore, and he has come out and made his unhappiness with his current situation known to Redknapp.

    Bassong wants to go back to the days when he was a first-choice center back at the club, like in 2009-10 when Woodgate's long-term injury and Ledley King's usual injury problems allowed him to make 38 appearances and start 35 games for the club.

    Unfortunately for Bassong, Redknapp has greatly improved Tottenham's selection of center backs since the 2009-10 season. Woodgate has left the club; in his place has come the experienced William Gallas, who was very impressive in his first season with Tottenham.

    Younes Kaboul has been hugely impressive as well on his return to Tottenham, and just recently scored on his debut for the French national team. Michael Dawson has established himself as Tottenham's best center back over this past season, earning himself four England caps in the process, and Ledley King, despite his ever-present injury problems, remains a great center back when fit.

    It's unlikely that Tottenham would have a problem keeping Bassong as a backup player in case of injuries, especially since he can play as a left back as well, but it seems that that isn't an acceptable option for Bassong, who told The Guardian:

    "For a bit I felt lost because I haven't faced this situation before in my career. I feel that I have gone backwards, like I have gone from heaven to hell.

    I am a guy who simply has to play. I would never just sit there and take the money. I am reaching an age where, if I don't play week in, week out, and if I don't feel real trust in me, then I can't stay, no matter which club it is."

    Even though Bassong is set for talks with Harry Redknapp over his future, it's unlikely that anything will change.

    And with five other center backs in the squad, that may not be a bad thing. Rather than try to keep an unhappy player in the squad unnecessarily, Tottenham should thank him for his services, sell him for a decent transfer fee and move on.

David Bentley

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    From early on in his career, David Bentley looked like he had the potential to be great. Called up by Wenger to the Arsenal first-team squad at the age of only 16, Bentley drew comparisons to many greats of the game.

    Indeed, many Arsenal fans thought he had the skills to step into Dennis Bergkamp's shoes once he retired, and many others thought he'd step into David Beckham's shoes at the international level for England.

    And despite some personal struggles early on, he looked on track to fulfill his potential, even if he had to leave Arsenal to do it.

    He signed on loan first, then permanently for Blackburn Rovers in January 2006. In his first game since making his move to Rovers permanently, he scored a hat trick in a 4-3 win over Manchester United, making history as the first player to ever score three goals in one game against United (Dirk Kuyt would match this achievement for Liverpool in the 2010-2011 season).

    He would go on to have three excellent seasons with Blackburn Rovers, before being sold to Tottenham Hotspur for 15 million pounds plus bonuses on July 31st, 2008.

    And that's when it started to go downhill for Bentley. Despite flashes of brilliance, Bentley was unable to replicate the form he showed at Blackburn and was replaced in the lineup by Aaron Lennon in his second season with the club.

    In the 2010-2011 season, his career plummeted further as he moved on loan to Birmingham City; even here he could neither establish himself in the starting lineup nor find the form that made him a great player once upon a time.

    Now back with the Tottenham squad following his return from Birmingham City, Bentley is an unwanted man. There is even more competition on the right wing than when he left, with Lennon and Pienaar the main candidates for the position, and Kranjcar and Van Der Vaart capable of playing there too.

    At 26, it's too early for David Bentley to pack it up and call his career a failure. As the saying goes, "Form is temporary, class is permanent." Surely, for at least three seasons at Blackburn, Bentley showed that he indeed has class. Where it has gone, and where he will find it, is another question; but it definitely will not be at Tottenham.

    (I want to note that I just read this article dedicated to the subject of David Bentley. While there are many similarities between that article and this one, none of the information in this article was pulled from there; all work and analysis here has been done using nothing more than factual sources and my own thoughts.)

Robbie Keane

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    I remember when I first started being a Tottenham fan—Robbie Keane was my favorite player. In fact, it might be fair to say that Robbie Keane is the reason I became a Tottenham fan in the first place.

    There was just something about him that made me like him. He was honest, consistent and a captain (when Ledley King wasn't playing) who led by example. He was never one to talk in the media very much, and you always knew when you saw his name on the team sheet that he was going to give the game his all for 90 minutes and do his best to help Tottenham win. 

    I won't go on and on about how wonderful of a player Robbie Keane has been for Tottenham, as the writer of this article has already done a great job with that, but the point is that Robbie Keane is as classy as they come. Tottenham will struggle to find a player who even comes close to having as much class as Keane.

    Yet, there is no denying that Keane's time at Tottenham is up.

    Strikers are not judged by their class, they are judged by their production, and in that department Keane was very poor this season. After returning from a loan at Celtic in which it seemed he had found his goal-scoring form of seasons past, Keane was given the opportunity to stake his claim for a spot in the striker rotation at Tottenham early on in the season.

    Yet, in two starts and three substitute appearances in Tottenham's first 10 games, Keane failed to show that he had regained the qualities needed for a top-class EPL striker, simply confirming what Redknapp already thought to be true: that Keane just couldn't be trusted to be a reliable scoring option, either off the bench or as a starter.

    Redknapp kept Keane around just in case Tottenham went through an injury crisis and needed his services—but when Van Der Vaart arrived and gave Redknapp the option to play with a second striker and one real striker/forward up front, Keane's usefulness expired and he was shipped off to West Ham.

    Unfortunately, even with a change of scenery, Keane continued to struggle; he was only able to contribute two goals in nine games.

    With Tottenham likely to continue playing with one forward and Van Der Vaart as a second striker, there's no way that Keane will be able to leapfrog Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Crouch and whomever Tottenham decide to sign, for any playing time next year.

    Even if Tottenham decide to play with two strikers, the same still holds true; Keane is just too far down the pecking order.

    Keane is only 30 years old and continues to bag goals for Ireland, so there's no reason why he can't continue his career for a (short) while longer with another club. If he doesn't leave Tottenham, however, he will experience nothing but frustration and a long season of sitting in the stands. 

Wilson Palacios

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    It may be harsh to say that the man who made 43 appearances for Tottenham in 2009-10, and 26 appearances in 2010-11, is no longer needed and doesn't figure into Harry Redknapp's plans for next season, but unfortunately that is the case.

    Wilson Palacios, after two and a half seasons at Tottenham, looks to be on his way out.

    To be fair to Palacios, it's not really his fault. Many reports have claimed that a drop in form and performance were to blame for his sudden drop from Tottenham's starting lineup and rotation. But the truth is that from the moment Tottenham signed Sandro from Internacional, it was only a matter of time before the Brazilian international adjusted to the English game and claimed his spot in the starting lineup.

    Seeing as Sandro plays the same role as Palacios for Tottenham, and does it better, Palacios was always going to lose his starting spot, the only question was how long it would take.

    If Palacios' only competition for a spot alongside Luka Modric in the center of midfield was Sandro, he probably would have been asked to stay as injury cover and a rotation option; but unfortunately for Palacios, Tottenham's central midfield spots are very congested.

    Tom Huddlestone was limited to only 14 appearances for Tottenham this season due to injuries, but remains a top option for Tottenham when fit. The same goes for Jermaine Jenas, although he too looks to be heading out, with rumors linking him with QPR, Fulham, Hamburg, and Fenerbahce.

    And then, of course, when Tottenham complete their signing of Scott Parker, he too will jump ahead of Wilson Palacios in the pecking order.

    Luckily for Palacios, an excellent escape option seems to have presented itself in the form of a 12 million pound switch to Napoli.

    The transfer would be a win-win for both Palacios and Tottenham; Palacios would be moving to a club getting better and better each season in the Champions League, while Tottenham would recoup the transfer fee they paid to sign him from Wigan.

Peter Crouch

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    The final player I think Tottenham must work to sell is Peter Crouch. I know what some of you are thinking: Are you kidding? Why would we sell the striker who started the most games for us last season, and scored seven goals for us in the Champions League?

    But slow down and take a closer look at Crouch's numbers. Crouch scored an abysmal four goals in 34 games, and if you take away his brace against Stoke City, that leaves him with two goals in 33 matches. Considering Tottenham played with only one striker towards the end of the season, that is just awful, no matter which way you look at it.

    Even in the Champions League, Crouch had one game (vs Young Boys) where he was amazing and scored three goals; otherwise he did little more than tap the ball in to score his goals.

    Still, some Crouch lovers will argue that what Crouch lacks in goals, he makes up for with knock-down headers that turn into assists; indeed, he recorded 10 assists in his 34 league games last season.

    But that isn't what Tottenham need up front. That type of play (where Spurs cross the ball to hope for a headed goal or knocked-down assist) may work against weaker teams with weak defenses in the EPL, but against the big teams and Champions League, Tottenham need a striker who can make his presence felt and be a difference maker.

    Last season, Crouch either failed to do this, or did it in the wrong way—i.e., scoring an own-goal vs Man City to officially knock Tottenham out of the race for the Top Four, or getting himself sent off vs Real Madrid 15 minutes into the game to effectively knock Tottenham out of the Champions League before they even got to put up a fight.

    The last argument that Crouch lovers might make is that Pavlyuchenko or Defoe deserve to go instead of Crouch. But both strikers offer more going into the next season than Crouch does.

    Defoe, despite a rough season spent dealing with various injuries, scored the same number of league goals as Crouch did with roughly half as many minutes. He deserves at least another half of a season to see if he can shake off his injuries and return to being the Defoe of 2009-10.

    Pavlyuchenko, despite being third-choice striker for most of the season, had a solid goal return of 10 goals in 1,571 league minutes, giving him an average of one goal per 157 minutes (or more than one goal every two games).

    He also demonstrated that he has the ability to be an excellent super-sub for Tottenham, scoring on three occasions as a sub, the last occasion being the last match of season in which his brace won the game for Tottenham and relegated Birmingham City.

    Assuming that Tottenham are able to pick up a capable striker in the transfer market, Crouch should go into the 2011-12 season as Tottenham's fourth-choice striker. Rather than have him rot on the bench and lose value, Tottenham should take advantage of interest from clubs like Sunderland and sell him while his value is high. 

Honorable Mentions

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    The five players mentioned thus far in this slideshow are the players that Tottenham should work to sell first; they are most deserving of getting sold. However, below are four other players in Tottenham's squad who may (somewhat undeservedly) also end up finding themselves at new clubs by the start of the 2011-12 EPL season.

    As mentioned already, Jermaine Jenas is being tracked by Fenerbahce, Hamburg, QPR and Fulham. If any of these clubs is able to offer a decent amount of cash for the England international, Redknapp just might be convinced to let Jenas go.

    Over the last couple of seasons, Jenas has seen his role diminish from a starter in the center of midfield to a rotation/backup player. A move to a new club could reinvigorate Jenas' career.

    Giovani Dos Santos has struggled to get regular playing time and find his best form since leaving Barcelona in 2007-08. Last season, however, he scored five goals and recorded two assists in a very impressive loan spell at Racing Santander.

    The result is that the attacking midfielder is now wanted by Sevilla, and with no room for Dos Santos in Tottenham's squad, a transfer to Sevilla might be the best solution for both Tottenham and Dos Santos.

    Alan Hutton had an up-and-down season with Spurs in 2010-11. He started out behind Corluka, but was able to take his spot after a Man of the Match substitute performance vs Wolves in the 5th week of the league. He kept this spot until the 24th week of fixtures in the EPL, but afterwards only made one more start and substitute appearance in the remaining 14 games in the league.

    With a plethora of options at right back, including Corluka, Kaboul, Naughton, and Walker, it looks like Hutton's days at Tottenham are numbered. He has interest from Aston Villa, Sunderland, and Fulham however, so finding a new home shouldn't be too hard.

    Finally, Niko Kranjcar has always been a great player for Tottenham—but stuck behind Gareth Bale on the wings and Luka Modric in the middle of the pitch, Kranjcar managed to play only 381 minutes last season.

    With interest from Celtic, Dynamo Kiev and Fulham, it shouldn't be very hard for Tottenham to agree to a deal and make a profit on the 2.5 million pounds they spent on this player. The only question that remains is if Redknapp values Kranjcar as an important backup on the wings and in the middle of the park, or if he sees him as expendable with Joe Cole and Scott Parker expected to eventually join the squad.

    So, what do you think of the picks? Agree? Disagree? Is there anyone you think I might have missed who should be on this list, or someone who you think shouldn't be on this list? Let me know by leaving a comment below in the comment box. I look forward to hearing from you.