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08.08.2013

So, the lack of spending on a striker in the January transfer window might have been responsible for our failure to secure a Champions League place come the end of last season.  More likely it was the defensive mix-ups and lack of concentration that cost us goals at the back.

For all the hoo-ha about where we went wrong, as soon as we knew we could not qualify, Spurs should have been seeking players to ensure that this did not happen in the coming season. While Paulinho looks a good addition to the squad, we had to wait until Franco Baldini was appointed before signings started to be sealed.  With the fee for Roberto Soldado being a club record, perhaps there is some indication that the hierarchy now realise that you have to speculate to accumulate.  The failure to get CL football brings the added difficulty in bringing in the very top level players.  The two mentioned above are probably of Champions League quality, while Nacer Chadli has experience in the competition and his versatility, combined with the ability to play in midfield or at the back means Etienne Capoue would be a versatile squad member is his deal goes through.

Of course, we are missing Steven Caulker, who surprisingly left for Cardiff City for 8.5 million.  Good business if he was not going to be part of our future plans.  Steven was fast-tracked through the youth ranks and was ear-marked to take over form Ledley King, but I am not sure that was working out.  He had a fine spell on loan at Swansea City and will have to live with that as a Cardiff player, but he might have wanted first team football regularly with the World Cup coming up next summer ... if England qualify.  He did seem to have moments when he failed to communicate with fellow defenders and goalkeeper last season, while he lost his man, allowing a few goals in, but he was still young and like many before him, he might have been impatient for a place in the starting XI.  Perhaps he should have looked at some of them and seen where they had ended up.

There was also a move 'home' for Clint Dempsey, who joined Seattle Sounders thanks to the MLS shelling out 6 million - a US record.  On top of that he will earn a reported 5.2 million a year (more than Beckham did), so for him, it was a dream move.  But what will it do to his game ?  Again, with the World Cup in Brazil coming, he needed to be playing and dropping behind Soldado, he might have seen the writing on the wall and jumped ship.  We didn't lose anything in terms of money with him leaving, but he did have the ability to come on and score match changing goals.  But business is business and the cash he brought in will no doubt be used to bring in someone else.

The targets have been disappearing and a lot of quality has been bought by other Premier League teams, PSG and Monaco.  We managed to go down 2-5 to Monaco in a friendly, but the team we put out was not our first choice eleven, while the French side almost was.  Having had Vertonghen injured in the stupid decision to play on a waterlogged pitch and Dawson picking up a leg injury in training, the cause wasn't helped by Defoe having to go off in the 10th minute.  We ended up with virtually a Spurs XI playing the second richest club in France.  However, there were a couple of brief moments of salvation with youngsters Harry Kane and Andros Townsend scoring very different goals to gain some small measure of satisfaction from a display that saw the makeshift Tottenham defence torn to shreds.

As it was, it didn't matter, but Spurs have only won one of their pre-season games (v South China 6-0).  Winning becomes a habit and losing can do too, but with the last warm up this Saturday against Espanyol, it is the last chance for a 'competitive' match before the start of the season.  Something resembling the first choice team might feature, but don't bank on it.  AVB will have to work with what he has got and can't really plan for who he would like, as the Gareth Bale transfer soap opera drags on into it's second season.  It seems like everyone is having their say on what the outcome will be or what he should do.

Harry Redknapp has put his two-penneth worth in (not that anyone cares what he says anymore), Chris Coleman, Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid's players, Real Madrid's chairman and manager, Arsene Wenger, Ian Rush, Gary Lineker and Alan Sugar.  It seems the only two people who we haven't heard from are Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale himself.  Quotes have been carefully leaked out from his camp, we know his mum and dad have met Daniel Levy and that Bale is 'disappointed' in AVB for saying he is not for sale.  But the Welshman is yet to come out and say anything himself.

Stories claim he doesn't want to taint his special relationship with the Spurs fans, but if it was that special why would he want to leave.  While Bale wants his "once in a lifetime" move to Real ( Zidane), Spurs have a dream too and that is to qualify for the Champions League and with Bale in the side, that would be much more achievable.  Quite often when players claim the failure to secure Champions League football is the reason they want to move on, it is lost on them that they were part of the reason it didn't happen.  I am not saying Bale didn't do his bit, but look at the loyalty that the club have shown him.  Sticking by him when he was injured regularly after he joined THFC and then nursing him through injuries, so that he became a stronger and more resilient individual.  Not getting phased into putting him out to grass after his long run of being in the losing side at the club when he first got a run in the first team. And allowing him to be at the birth of his first child when we were due to face Chelsea at home ... a game we lost 2-4 in October.  For such understanding what do we get ?  He wants out at the first senorina who lifts her skirt to him and while I am pleased that he is conducting himself in a more civilised way than Luis Suarez (not really a surprise), Spurs are being shown as little respect in some ways.  Gareth Bale signed a new deal last season and was happy to do so, but now he is treading the same path as Luka Modric in more ways than one.

I just want to hear what he has to say.  Let him tell us he wants to leave.

If that is the case, then wish him well as he had given us two and a half scintillating seasons of football and allow Daniel Levy to screw as much money (with added players) that he can.  He can't make Bale stay ... just make the best of a bas situation.  And if Real want our best player, then let's take their best young player along with enough cash to buy a few top players.  Not that we will get all the money in one go, as we are still waiting for some of the Modric deal.

It is hard to see how this whole transfer merry go round works if teams are buying players on the never never.  It does make a mockery of Financial Fair Play, when the money is more fantasy league than fair play.  "Get On With The Game" FIFA's slogan says, but is it a virtual one, played with virtual money and virtually no loyalty from players.  The likes of Ledley King and Steven Gerrard will be dinosaurs, as players run up lists of clubs longer than their shopping lists to spend all their astronomical salary on. 

We will stay and watch the ones who wear the white shirt this season knowing full well that if they are not good enough to get Tottenham into the Champions League, then they will move on to another club who is in it.  Maybe with all the money we get from Bale, we will be watching our team play in the Gareth Bale Memorial Stadium.  Video screens will show his goals and we will marvel at them, thinking of the good old days of last season.

But we know that players will come and players will go, so it should be no surprise and nothing to get worked up about.  Whatever the truth of the stories about PSG offering AVB a lorry-load of cash to be their manager, the fact that he is at Spurs shows a degree of loyalty and if Bale is so smitten with the Portuguese Head Coach, maybe he should look at the way he carries himself a little closer.  He does not whinge about injuries, referee's decisions, other team's players and is a credit to the club.

With him at the helm, we could go far ... but how much will it take to prise him away if he does well next season ?

And so it goes on ...

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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