Tottenham Club Focus – What to do with Sandro?

Tottenham are a club with strength in depth in many positions, but perhaps the strongest area of the field is in the centre. With British bulldog Scott Parker partnering the highly-rated artist Luka Modric, they have a first-choice pairing that matches most, if not all of their Premier League opponents. In reserve names like Tom Huddlestone, Niko Kranjcar, Steven Pienaar, and Jake Livermore add great quality. But perhaps the most talented of reserves at present is the Brazilian, Sandro.

Signing for Spurs in August 2010 from Internacional, for a fee thought to be around 10m Euros, the Brazilian quickly settled. Thanks in part to injuries to Huddlestone, Sandro was drafted in to play in a number of high-profile games, none more-so than the victorious double-header in the Champions League knock-out stages against Milan, won 1-0 on aggregate, where the midfielder won plaudits far and wide. Italian giants Inter were strongly linked with a move for the player, and in March Sandro admitted that he would be interested in moving to the Nerazzurri. As it turned out, Spurs refused to listen to offers, and he signed a new deal in September keeping him at the club until 2016.

There is a problem however, for all involved. If Sandro is to continue his success with Spurs, he needs to play, consistently, as there seems little doubt that another club the size of Tottenham, or bigger, would be able to offer him first-team football. In fact they only need to look at the ongoing success of former Spur Kevin-Prince Boateng at Milan to see one who got away because his potential was not realised. But with the Spurs dream combination of Parker and Modric in midfield, it seems there would be a need to either shoe-horn the Brazilian into the side out of position, or hope he doesn’t mind playing second fiddle, participating in cup games and coming off the bench in Premier League ties.

In three league games this season since his return from injury a month ago, Sandro started one game (Wigan), played 26 minutes against Arsenal, and was an unused sub against Blackburn. That game he did start saw Modric playing on the right of midfield, a role that the player is unlikely to be happy with all season, given it was a struggle to get him to play at all this term for Spurs. Added to that the return to fitness of Aaron Lennon, and this option looks less likely still.

This is of course a good problem for Harry Redknapp: The signing of Parker has been an excellent one so far, with the club winning five from six, and being unbeaten with the former West Ham man in the side. In short, the answer is not to drop Parker. But with a couple of years seemingly needed before the position as defensive midfielder is next up for grabs, will Sandro be willing to stay that long playing second fiddle, in order for Tottenham to benefit long-term from his undoubted talent. At 22-years-old he has the time, for the sake of the Premier League, let’s hope he has the patience.

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