Tottenham’s deadline-day drama - the unexpected surprises
Transfer deadline day is never dull at White Hart Lane, and this summer was no exception
Transfer deadline day is rarely a quiet affair at White Hart Lane and Spurs once again made a late dash for signatures on Friday, but the surprises were not limited to those on the move. Fulham’s Clint Dempsey followed Mousa Dembele across London for �6million, and he was joined by France international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in a �11.6m move to become Spurs’ fourth first-team goalkeeper.
Going the other way, Rafael van der Vaart left for Hamburg, Giovanni Dos Santos went to Mallorca and Danny Rose and Harry Kane were sent on season-long loans to Sunderland and Norwich. However, two expected departures had their stay at Spurs unexpectedly prolonged.
Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone both appeared to be heading for the exit, after QPR tabled a bid for the defender, and the midfielder – who was sent-off against Norwich on Saturday – was linked with a move to Stoke.
But an injury to Younes Kaboul that is expected to sideline him for three to four months appears to have extended Dawson’s spell at Spurs, despite the centre-back struggling to establish himself this season behind the France international, William Gallas, Jan Vertonghen and Steven Caulker.
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“[Kaboul] had to have an operation on his patella tendon” revealed Andre Villas-Boas. “He had continuously damaged the patella tendon during all of this last three months and we’ve decided that conservative treatment wouldn’t take him any further.”
Similarly, Huddlestone was retained after Spurs failed in their attempts to bring in a direct replacement for Luka Modric, who left for Real Madrid for �33m in August.
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Two names who had been mooted were Porto’s skilful Joao Moutinho, whose playing style bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Modric, and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian Willian.
But Villas-Boas was forced to concede that neither player would move to Tottenham – this summer at least. The Spurs manager claimed that both clubs were ‘difficult to deal with’ as negotiations broke down.
With the departure of such an integral figure in Spurs’ midfield, the Lilywhites could be expected to lack the extra dimension that he provided, but Villas-Boas believes that the versatility of his players – in particular that of new signing Dembele – will mask the gap.
“It depends on how we put the squad together, bearing in mind a possible change to a 4-3-3 system. We have to take that into account,” said the Spurs boss.
“We are at this moment playing with a No10 behind a striker. We’re happy with Mousa’s versatility and depending on what happens we might be looking for further additions.”
The Belgium international instantly proved his worth on Saturday, coming off the bench against Norwich to put Spurs ahead with a well taken left-footed drive.
“Mousa is obviously a player of great versatility, a player who can play in various positions. He played in those different positions at Fulham, and with tremendous success in all of them, both on the channels, through the middle, behind the striker.
“He’s a player with tremendous skills and talent, and we feel that it’s a good grab for us at this moment – a creative player, and I think we’ve done one of the good deals in the market.”
However, despite having a relative dearth of options in Modric’s vacant position, Spurs now have an embarrassment of riches between the sticks.
The arrival of 25-year-old France international Lloris from Lyon represents the long term vision of the club, but a starting place is far from assured after the 41-year-old Brad Friedel yet again refused to let age be a barrier to ability, with another impressive performance against Norwich on Saturday.
Villas-Boas is fully aware that he faces a challenge pleasing four goalkeepers – including Carlo Cudicini and the often forgotten Heurelho Gomes. “Obviously the squad is extremely big, and we’ve spoken about the players that we had to speak with regarding their future,” said the manager.
“We also don’t want to leave them in an uncomfortable position where you can’t meet the amount of time that players are expecting, and their own expectations.”