Tottenham transfer focus - Levy needs to strike right balance for Spurs
Thirteen days to their first match and Tottenham still only have one experienced striker on their books. In this area at least, Daniel Levy's transfer plans have not gone according to plan. Everything looked different a few weeks ago. Within the space of a week, Gareth Bale had signed a contract extension, André Villas-Boas was named manager and Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdssen were signed. There was a momentum and Spurs fans were hotly anticipating more signings to swiftly follow, in particular Emmanuel Adebayor.
Fast forward four weeks, Emmanuel Adebayor has still not signed, and if anything looks no nearer to doing so. Alternative target Salomon Rondon has signed for Rubin Kazan and Santiago Cazorla has joined rivals Arsenal. Now Spurs are being linked with a striker that has been rumoured to be coming/not coming to White Hart Lane since at least the January transfer window. So why the apparent inability to sign a striker?
Levy has been rightly praised for the way that Spurs are run financially, as the club in comparison to many others is healthy in this respect. This is reflected in transfer dealings. Levy is a notoriously tough negotiator. Ask Everton, who have just bought Steven Pienaar back 18 months after they sold him, for £1.5m more and in between have paid Spurs a loan fee. Levy seems also not to pay more - both in transfer fee and salary - than a player is believed to be worth. Of course, Spurs have missed out on targets, but have not been forced to pay over the odds for their arrivals.
The Adebayor situation is an unfortunate one, but perhaps one that is a product of the ridiculously high salaries some clubs have paid to sign or keep players. Somewhere in the salary negotiations, transfer fees, signing on fees and golden handshakes, the truth is buried, but it would seem reasonable - given his history - that Levy is standing firm over salary. In some ways he has to, as Spurs have a wage structure that cannot or should not be broken for one player, leading to unrest amongst others.
Whilst it may be prudent for Spurs to look elsewhere at other targets, at some point Levy might just have to bite the bullet and compromise - whether on salary or transfer fee. Not necessarily regarding Adebayor, but maybe with Leandro Damiao or another target. The cost to Spurs in fees or salaries will be more than offset by failure to qualify for the Champions League. Good strikers are a premium and the race for the top four may be tight. Can Spurs afford to start the season without at least one more forward? In the summer of 2008, Dimitar Berbatov was sold at the end of the transfer window leaving Juande Ramos without a main striker. Spurs collapsed, and it would be unreasonable to put the new manager in a similar situation. To challenge for the top four and the title can Spurs wait for another striker?
There should be other targets and other negotiations, but Levy needs to strike the right balance between tough negotiating and what is good for the team.
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