Tottenham Club Focus – Is King size decision actually straightforward?

If as perhaps anticipated, Tottenham Hotspur finish in the top three of the English Premier League then there should be an expectation of a busy summer in the transfer market. Whoever may be the manager, Spurs will be looking to strengthen and fine tune the squad ahead of Champions League football and a potential title challenge next season.

One of the key areas of focus should be at centre back. The summer will see the contract expire of Ryan Nelsen with an extension open to question. William Gallas is a potential departure, who in an interview with French TV station TF1 in January hinted at a move to Qatar or the MLS. With 18 months left on Gallas’ contract, Spurs may wish to recoup some funds on the Frenchman.

A lack of first team opportunites has seen Sebastien Bassong and utility cover, Vedran Corluka loaned out in January, a situation that may see both look for a permanent move at the end of the season. There also may be doubt over the future of Bongani Khumalo who appears to have failed to make an impression at Spurs or on loan spells, such as at Reading. Whilst Spurs have taken some steps to address the situation with the signing of Brazilian U-20 captain, Bruno Uvini, this may be more a signing for the future. Spurs, prior to any summer recruitment would be limited in the position with Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson and returning loanee Steven Caulker as the main centre backs. The situation to be resolved is that of Ledley King.

That increasing rarity – a one club player – the Spurs captain’s contract expires in the summer. King has suffered from a chronic knee problem which has limited his appearances for years. Consequently, before the start of the season it was indicated that King would have to play in 20 matches to be offered a new contract. However, this has been disparaged by Redknapp who stated: “I’d always give him a contract — it wouldn’t be a question.”

Redknapp though may not be at White Hart Lane come the summer. King himself, in an interview with Sky Sports said that he was focusing on the league position; “I’ve left it between my agent and the chairman and I have not heard anything at the moment. I’m just keeping my head down and playing as many games as I can and at the end of the season we will see where that is.”

Redknapp knows that King will only be available for so many matches because of his knee, when fit though his influence is perhaps immeasurable. Ledley King has played in 15 league games for Spurs this season. In those Spurs have dropped only nine points. King doesn’t attempt too many tackles; arguably he does not have to. His positioning and reading of the game means he can anticipate the play. His 89 clearances and 15 interceptions this season may bear this out. Perhaps King’s biggest contribution at Spurs is his leadership and calmness at the back. Would Michael Dawson and now Younes Kaboul have become quality players without the guidance of Ledley King alongside them? Would their perhaps more robust defensive style be as effective without King to seemingly glide across the pitch to cover them?

Whilst Spurs may recruit at the position, King’s ability and influence may be vital during the season when challenging on different fronts and where injuries and suspensions will take their toll. Can Spurs afford not to offer him a new contract? A club legend and fans favourite, many may hope Spurs will.

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