Tottenham transfer focus - Are Spurs' goalkeeping targets good enough?
For a club which appears to have a striking issue, Tottenham are being linked with a series of goalkeepers, another now being Roma's Maarten Stekelenburg. He follows on the heels of Hugo Lloris and Julio Cesar.
Spurs currently have Bard Friedel, Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes. Friedel is reliable, consistent but ageing. While the 41-year-old American has one year left on his contract, it is perhaps more than conceivable he could be Spurs' No 1 for another season. Cuducini could leave but is adequate back-up, while Gomes looks set to stay. Arguably brilliant and erratic in turns, perhaps under a new manager his confidence can be rebuilt.
Talk has been made at Spurs of challenging for the title. Obviously the White Hart Lane outfit need to look at their striking options, but it is understandable that if serious, Spurs look at the 'keeping options. The strongest teams are built from the back with an impenetrable wall in goal, like a Petr Cech, Edwin van der Sar or Joe Hart. Do any of the rumoured targets suggest this role will be filled?
Stekelenburg has had a poor season at Roma, who only finished 7th in Serie A. With the Dutchman in goal, they conceded 40 goals in 29 matches, Stekelenburg making only 81 saves. The fact that Roma may be willing to sell him after only one season could suggest a team willing to cut their losses on the keeper.
Inter Milan have bought the Udinese stopper Samir Handanovic as a replacement for Julio Cesar, who himself conceded 43 goals in 33 matches and made only 85 saves. Inter would appear to want Cesar off their books, not just because they have invested in his replacement, but also due to his high salary.
Lloris at least is a slight improvement statistically, conceding 48 goals in 36 matches but making 99 saves in Ligue 1. However, any potential transfer is dragging on and recent quotes by Lloris looking to challenge Paris St Germain suggest the Lyon man is not moving anywhere.
Arguably, none of the trio linked are that much of an improvement on the current Spurs trio, let alone would prove to be the type of keeper to build a title challenge on. Both Tim Krul and Michel Vorm would compare favourably to the prospective trio, as would any one of a host of young German keepers - Sven Ulreich, Bernd Leno and in particular Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Spurs could opt for the impressive Jack Butland, perhaps initially as a back-up to Friedel, but the young keeper has shown for Team GB in the Olympics that he would appear to have a massive future.
The old idea that keepers come to their peak in their 30s could be something of a fallacy. Iker Casillas, Hart and David de Gea are just some examples of class keepers at a young age, along with Ulreich, ter Stegen, Butland and possibly others. Spurs could arguably aim for a lot better than the current trio they are linked with.
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