December 19 2013 Latest news:
By Chris Miller
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Tottenham blogger Chris Miller identifies the remaining holes in Spurs’ squad.
Andre Villas-Boas has been backed - finally, some might say. The signings of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Étienne Capoue represent the biggest summer outlay for Spurs since 2008/09, when the likes of Luka Modric, David Bentley, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Vedran Corluka, Heurelho Gomes and Giovani Dos Santos joined the club.
The key difference though is that that spree was financed in part by the sale of Dimitar Berbatov. This time round, so far, the club’s prized asset has not been sold.
Arguably the vital signing has been Franco Baldini - appointed as technical director. It surely cannot be a coincidence that Baldini arrived at the same time as Spurs seemed to develop a coherent transfer strategy. By that I mean that we seem to have identified players for now (i.e. players at an age and level of experience who will fit straight into the first-team squad) and have gone out and got them - David Villa aside.
Much will depend on whether Bale stays or goes of course but, with or without him, this Spurs squad is probably the strongest in more than 20 years. There appears to be good cover in most areas, including up front where we have previously been thin on the ground - particularly last season.
Ironically, the one area we could be leaving ourselves short is centre-back, where we were well stocked last season.
The sale of Steven Caulker was met by raised eyebrows from many Spurs fans; whilst we got a good price for the academy graduate, he was seen by most as a competent defender with time on his side to improve.
Already capped by England, and with two seasons of Premier League experience, he seemed perfectly placed to spend another season as a ‘rotation option’, with plenty of games to go around.
He will surely be replaced, and was presumably sold because Villas-Boas saw a weakness - perhaps the fact that he can be slightly slow on the turn, which is not ideal when playing a high line.
The other area of the squad where we might look to improve is at left-back. With Benoit Assou-Ekotto seemingly out of favour, Danny Rose is our new first choice. Whilst he is greatly improved after his loan spell at Sunderland last season, he is still, I think, the weakest player in our first XI, and the rumours linking us with Coentrão suggest that Villas-Boas agrees.
The 25-year old Portuguese international is a far more polished attacking threat, and has plenty of experience of playing at the highest level and of winning honours.
Should Bale leave - and the saga rumbles on - a natural replacement will presumably be sought for him too. With Willian seemingly on the way and strong linkes with Erik Lamela as well, it seems that the club recognise the need to plan for life after Bale, even if our Welsh wizard does not leave this summer.
Both are creative players who can run with the ball and commit players, something we would most certainly lack without last season’s Player of the Year.
Follow me on Twitter @WindyCOYS