Tottenham fans hoping to see a string of new signings in January will be sorely disappointed. Whilst the current squad has been achieving more this season than any in recent years, it is always hard to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of a transfer window.
Rumours abound daily in the papers long before the window opens and get multiplied intensely when clubs can actually get their chequebooks out. Most rumours are pie in the sky, but the chance of some being true usually sends football fans into a form of hysteria. Spurs have moved early to silence the distractions by warning they are not looking to spend come the January sales.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting, chairman Daniel Levy had some sobering news for those intoxicated at the chance of a new striker or left-back. He said: “We do not envisage being very active in the transfer window, but will take note of opportunities that arise. That is with the proviso that we do not envisage any net spending.” Whilst not completely ruling out any new faces, Levy’s words make it clear that Spurs will only spend what they can recoup by selling players. He added that any sales would be “no disruption to the core team” which suggests that no regulars will be on their way out. This would then beg the question of who could Spurs get that would excite the fans with the money received for a fringe player or two?
Aside from strong links to young Brazilian midfielder Sandro, the majority of recent rumours have involved players heading for the exit door. The suggestion that Robbie Keane is set to move to Celtic – previously dismissed in this very column as far-fetched – has resurfaced, seemingly only because Keane has found himself on the bench since missing out on the 9-1 mauling of Wigan. Having previously discussed the lack of credibility of this particular story, there need be nothing more added other than it is still a load of rubbish. More credible are the rumours that Roman Pavlyuchenko could be on his way, as even Harry Redknapp’s missus is more likely to get a start up front for Spurs than the Russian. Of course, her husband has previously heralded her as better than Darren Bent, one of the top scorers in the Premier League, so she might be worth a punt.
Another interesting newspaper claim this week is that Pavlyuchenko’s potential destination could be Anfield, with Ryan Babel making the move from Liverpool in exchange. It seems an unlikely tale at first glance, but the Lilywhites do lack a natural left winger and have failed in the past to net Martin Petrov. The best options currently in the squad for the left flank are the Croatian pair of Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar, both natural right-footers and not best described as wingers. Both are more consistent players than Babel and so Redknapp will probably stick to what he has got on this occasion. Besides, the Dutch flyer seems to have a habit of voicing his frustrations publicly, and the last thing Redknapp needs is a disruptive influence in the camp when the club are looking to move forward with a united front.
Levy has big plans for the club, both on and off the field. On the football side of things, he is aiming to break in to the Champions League places and believes keeping hold of their best players is key to achieving this goal. He declared: “Having a settled squad gives us the best chance for consistency. We are striving for top-level displays, including the ability to take on and beat the so-called top-four teams.” Off the pitch, Levy is focussing on achieving planning permission for the proposed new Spurs stadium, and is appealing for help from supporters to smooth their application with Haringey Council. He told the shareholders: “I would urge you to write and support the application. These are exciting times, and the stadium would be a possible venue for the World Cup, but we must not rest on our laurels.”
Focus will now turn to the weekend match with Wolverhampton Wanderers. One player who could be back in contention for the game is Modric, who completed 70 minutes in a friendly with Grays Athletic for the reserves in midweek. It was the first major injury of the Croat playmaker’s career and he has been anxiously awaiting the chance to get back out on the pitch in a Spurs shirt. He enthused: “I can’t wait to play again. The last three months have been hard but that’s behind me now and I feel happy and relieved. I will take it step by step and I’ll have to see now when the manager decides to put me back in the squad.”