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06.02.2013

Everyone can now draw a deep breath after the final day's trading in the January transfer window.

And for once, it as a quiet day's work on the surface of things for Tottenham.  Where Daniel Levy usually works until the last few seconds, this time, his work was over fairly early, with a deal for Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao unable to be brokered with hsi club pulling the plug hours before the deadline. You get the feeling that the player might not particularly want to join Spurs or that his club are looking for a massive pay-day from a club who are willing to cough up a huge transfer fee.  Well, so much for our "special arrangement" with Internacional !!  Having paid a fair price for Sandro, it seems now we are expected to put ourselves in hock for anyone else that they have who is a decent player.  The Brazilian club have to take a hard look at their policy on selling players, as by pricing themselves out of the market, they might find that European clubs look elsewhere.  With Russian clubs throwing money around like it is going out of fashion (Anzhi signing Willian from Shakthar for 34 million for example), the other clubs who used to spend big are diminishing as Financial Fair Play edges closer are examining their spending and cutting their cloth accordingly. 

Spurs have therefore made an astute signing and one which looks excellent value for money, with the move to bring Lewis Holtby to White Hart lane at the end of his contract and then spending out an estimated 1.5 million to bring him over now.  A highly rated player in Germany, where he was born and has chosen to play for the national team, Holtby was chased by a number of teams.  It is a sign of the standing of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe (at least) that despite not winning trophies, there is something happening at the club that will attract players.  That might not apply to those who have an eye on the sign, but perhaps they are not the type we want to attract.

One who some may may feel falls into that category may be on his way out of the club come the summer.  Emmanuel Adebayor has been very disappointing this season, after playing and scoring very well last season.  His contributions have been hampered by injury, but when he has played there is little of the urgency and he does not seem to be fully committed to the cause.  It has been rumoured that the first season he has anywhere is that of a top player, but after that there is a lack of consistency when teams expect it.

Some top players may get complacent when they earn big money.  The hunger to win things and achieve their aims might lose focus when there is no necessity to strive for things.  Some players are driven on by personal or professional pride, some because they realise they are privileged and some because it is all they know.  But when player close their edge, then they are not much use to their clubs.  We see those who are happy to sit on the bench week in, week out, just picking up their pay packet.  So, full credit to Jack Butland for not wanting to take that route and choosing Stoke City (and no I don't think too much of their set-up) to allow him to get some first team football when he joins his club next season.  You only have to look at what happened to players like Shaun Wright-Phillips, Scott Parker and Steve Sidwell when they joined Chelsea.

For Spurs the lack of a striker signing took a turn for the worse when Jermain Defoe limped off at West Brom.  Adebayor might be back for the Newcastle game after Togo got knocked out of the African Cup of Nations, but with Bale scoring freely in his free role, there must be a temptation for AVB to play him up front, or even play without a traditional front man, a la Barca.  It is not the done thing in England, as the Head Coach said, but then needs must and with Dempsey and Sigurdsson neither out and out scorers, they might be able to chip in by playing behind a forward third 'striker'.  With Lennon, Dembele and Parker behind them ... or with Sigurdsson as the nominal left sided midfielder, it looks a solid enough formation and might provide opponents with a different sort of problem in not knowing where the main threat is coming from.

With transfer deadline day containing a couple of contentious deals, George Boyd failed to be signed by Nottingham Forest because the Peterborough United player's eye test was inconclusive, while Peter Odemwingie made the short-sighted move of driving down to West London to sign for QPR without permission from his club.  Jermaine Jenas did join QPR and Andros Townsend went the same way on loan, while goalkeepers Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes went to LA Galaxy on a permanent deal and to Hoffenheim on loan. 

We have had a tough time in England with refereeing controversy whether it be for two footed tackles or for spitting, but they get a lot of big decisions right without those ones being highlighted by the media.  I think that Clattenburg, for all his past misdemeanours with our team, is turning into one of the better refs and his spotting of the spitting at WBA was an observant piece of work and went a long way to our final result in that game.  So, referees can influence games for the good ... both in terms of results and in the good of the game itself.

The late equaliser against Man U at the Lane was a fine moment.  Not just because we got a well deserved point from the match, but also because it caused Alex Ferguson to blow a fuse.  Raging over not being awarded a penalty, perhaps he forgot that he wasn't at Old Trafford !!  The stat came out while the snow fell that our last penalty at WHL was Rafa van der Vaart's against Arsenal on 20th April 2011.  SO it appears that we are not blessed with "homer" referees and maybe I should take back the comments about the match official I have just made.  Coming on top of "stealing" Zeki Fryers from under Ferguson's beetroot nose via Standard Liege sneakily, it came as a coup de gras to see us go two league games unbeaten by his side ... for a change.

Unfortunately, the Leeds game saw Spurs fail to turn up and an exit to a lower league club is not something  we have been used to for a while, but in this instance, it may prove a blessing and especially if it reduces the number of games we play while others around us are still involved in the competition.  It would be nice to win silverware, but at the moment, AVB's priority, I am confident, will be to avoid the drop off in form that happened last year after Christmas.  That may happen if we are shorn of strikers, but Adebayor's return may help and if not a youngster might have to step up to the mark.

With so much going on at Spurs, it is sometimes difficult to know what might happen next.  I just want to know why AVB is trying to get the highly paid Spurs subs to buy something out of the Argos showroom catalogue just before they go out onto the pitch.

Keep the faith.


MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
AND THE SPURS GO MARCHING ON.

BRUCE CASTLE

 

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