Tottenham Transfer Talk: 5 Players They'll Be Aiming for in January Window
The transfer window shut last week until January. Supporters everywhere were left to discuss the results of their club's shopping while managers were either breathing a sigh of relief at keeping their best players or feeling a tad regretful about the deal that slipped through their fingers. In the case of Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, he might be feeling both.
Spurs persevered and held onto creative linchpin Luka Modric, but a late move for Gary Cahill that would have strengthened the club's defence never materialised. Scott Parker did arrive, while Spurs fans probably knew more about a rumoured deal for Kaka than the Real Madrid player ever did.
Redknapp is now left with the task of getting on with the football itself, and attempting to get some points on the board from a run of fixtures that doesn't get any easier, including a visit to Wolves next followed by another test against in-form Liverpool side.
Regardless of what the next few months bring, there are still a few areas that will likely need addressing post-Christmas. Tottenham will also likely have learnt from last year the importance of changing things up before a degree of complacency sets in. It is better to have just a little headache in January trying to freshen things up rather than suffer a migraine later when form falls apart.
Here are five players Spurs might look to bring in for 2012.
Gary Cahill's stock as one of the Premier League's best centre-backs is rising fast. His good performances for Bolton over the past couple of seasons saw both Tottenham and Arsenal register interest in him late on in the transfer window while his solid international display against Bulgaria for England saw him draw plaudits from many observers. Another assured display against Wales may well see him take the place of Rio Ferdinand for the foreseeable future.
Realistically, Spurs may have missed their best chance of signing Cahill. Should he maintain his decent form with Bolton, the panicky need for a mid-season defensive reinforcement might see several clubs move for the (currently) out-of-contract player. If they sense some encouragement for a bid from either Bolton or the player himself, Tottenham could well be one of those clubs.
Harry Redknapp will be hoping his team improve defensively long before then so as not to make bringing in a replacement a necessity. Even if that proves to be the case, Cahill will still remain a tempting prospect.
Cahill perhaps offers the best short-term solution of a long-term replacement for Ledley King. While not as good as King at his best, Cahill will need little time in bedding into a Premier League defence, is reliable and showing increasing signs of becoming a big-game defender.
Spurs will hope King might have some years left in him, but it is as good a time as any to begin thinking ahead.
A proposed Tottenham move for Internacional forward Leandro Damião has been a regular fixture of the gossip columns for around a year without anything coming of it. Speculation late in the transfer window just closed suggested they were back in for him but nothing came of it.
As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire, and having been linked with him for so long it would seem Damiao is a Spurs target. With them being linked with Internacional in a club partnership it would be fair to assume they might have first option on him, and the two clubs have done business before, with midfielder Sandro moving to England last year.
Redknapp's willingness to let both Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch leave, with only Emmanuel Adebayor coming in, suggests he is happy with just the three natural strikers at the club. With Rafael van der Vaart, Niko Kranjcar and possibly Giovanni Dos Santos, there is of course the option of playing an attacking midfielder behind a solitary striker.
If Spurs rate Damiao as highly as they seemingly do, it would make sense to try and get the Brazilian striker in before any other European club might in January. While the hope is Tottenham's front-line will end the dry spell that has plagued 2011 so far, the arrival of a talented young Brazilian would if nothing else stop them from getting complacent.
AC Milan's late bid for Lassana Diarra came up empty so the Real Madrid midfielder will likely again be on the market in January.
Despite the departures of Wilson Palacios and Jermaine Jenas, the Tottenham midfield is one area that remains brimming with quality. Scott Parker joins Sandro in ideally providing another player capable of winning the ball and offering an extra-layer of defensive steel. A focused Luka Modric reads the game defensively as well as he does moving forward too, while Kranjcar, Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone all offer other options.
On paper it looks like there is not a need for Diarra, but that might not prevent Redknapp from moving for his former player if their is a good deal on the table. Coming as it does after the hectic Christmas period, the transfer window does offer an opportunity to bring in an extra pair of legs should needs must. As Tottenham's early-season midfield injury-crisis showed, they will always come in handy.
If Luka Modric Leaves...Marko Marin
Luka Modric will remain at Tottenham at least until January. However, if Chelsea are still struggling for creativity and come calling again, the type of bid that tempted Liverpool in letting go Fernando Torres last year might do the same for Spurs.
If Modric would go it would likely be in excess of £40 million considering Spurs reportedly turned that sum down in the last week of August, and Redknapp would undoubtedly be keen to spend some of that on a replacement for his Croatian playmaker.
One man to keep an out for then would be Werder Bremen's similarly small and skillful creative spark, Marko Marin.
In the face of reported interest from Spurs and Liverpool this past summer, the German international said he was happy to remain at Bremen and continue to improve his game. An admirable attitude from the young attacking midfielder. However, he also was quoted by the Press Association as saying "if the club receives an offer and decides to sell me, that is another situation."
Bremen certainly would not be keen to let Marin go, but if Spurs' interest this past summer was genuine then he might be a player they would be willing to spend big money on bringing to the Premier League.
He is certainly an attractive prospect. While not as defensively inclined as Modric can be, he has similar ball control and an ability to both buy time and attack defenders with his dribbling. Marin is also a great passer of the ball and arguably possesses greater goal instinct too.
Cover at Left-Back
This is a position certainly to keep an eye on.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto has become one of Tottenham's best and most consistent performers at left-back. But should he suffer a long-term injury or severely lose form it will be interesting to see what Redknapp has in mind.
There is of course Gareth Bale, a player who was signed for this position and who's resurgence came when deputising for Assou-Ekotto there in early 2010. But with each passing game out at left-wing the possibility of him moving back seems more and more removed. If he gets back to his form of 2010 too, Redknapp won't be keen to lose his impact in attack.
The Spurs manager has looked to some of his younger players for cover there. While Andros Townsend didn't look entirely comfortable against Hearts, Danny Rose put in some solid displays there late last season. However, he has yet to be tested in the position for more than a run of a few games and might not be the long-term alternative to Assou-Ekotto there.
If there is not a name that immediately springs to mind to bring in as cover, well then that is also a reminder that part of the excitement of the transfer window is the mystery of a move that might just come out of nowhere. Spurs have had a few like that in the past, we will have to see what 2012 brings.