Monday, 13 August 2012

Adebayor's signing will ease Transfer Window fears

I have received confirmation from a source close to the club that tomorrow there will be transfer activity at Tottenham. As anybody who has followed me on Twitter or read my blog, I'm not the type to write unfounded gossip so I have faith that this is a real likelihood.

With all the negotiating that has been going on between Spurs and Man City over the summer all signs point to the signing being Adebayor. What rules out the likes of Moutinho, Damiao, Remy and Lloris, amongst others, is two things; 1) Deals with foreign clubs regarding major signings very rarely slip under the radar of the media and barely a concrete peep has been heard with the above names and 2) Any of the above transfers would be dependant on the transfer money from the Modric sale. Because of the cost of improving the stadium, all purchases will be dependent on sales most likely.

With Adebayor, unlike the others who will come no cheaper than £14 million, the Togolose striker will come fairly cheap at a cut price deal of around £4 million with Mancini keen to rid of the wantaway striker. Wages have been an issue but the two clubs and player appear to have finally agreed a deal that suits all parties after months of uncertainty.

Many of us Spurs fans have been disappointed by the slow procedure of attaining a striker this transfer window and I'm sure quite a few were worrying that we'd be going into our opening game with Defoe and Kane to choose from, but if the signing of Adebayor does come to fruition tomorrow, the club will be in a great position heading in to the opening game.

Of course Ade has missed pre-season training at Spurs and may be slightly short of match practice, but unlike the other striking options mooted he comes into the squad with a good understanding of the style of play and last season formed a particularly strong partnership with Gareth Bale.

Like I said it's a source I trust and one that I have witnessed get the majority of transfer stories correct, so it looks like Adebayor will once again be pulling on the Lilywhite jersey. Does this excite you Spurs fans or are you still feeling apprehensive?

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Two Strikers needed, but who?

Only a fool would struggle to see that we are currently a bit light on strikers at this moment in time. With the release of Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor returning to City after his successful loan spell, we are left with just Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and Souleymane Coulibaly as options to lead the line.

Ultimately it is too soon for Kane and Coulibaly to be expected to step up with both still teenagers and developing their games and Defoe is not of the standard required for a first team aiming for a top four finish. But what are the realistic options available? In my opinion it must surely come down to two of the following three strikers.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Love him or loathe him, the Togolese striker was a vital component of the Spurs machine that excelled through the majority of last season. With 17 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League, Ade contribution to the cause was just short of a goal a game.

The problem with signing Adebayor is the financial aspect. A transfer fee of £6 million has been agreed, with City desperate to get him off their wage bill. Unfortunately the wage demands are proving the main stumbling block with Adebayor prepared to take a wage cut, providing Man City donate the amount he's dropping down in wages to the various charities he supports across Africa.

At 28 years of age, Adebayor should be at the peak of his career and it was certainly evident at times last season. Premier league experience makes his signing a very attractive proposition. We now have to wait to see who will back down first, City or Adebayor. This one could go right to the end of the Summer window.

Leandro Damiao

The Brazilian that we seem to have been linked with for every transfer window over the last two and a half years. Leandro has been playing in the Olympics over the last few weeks and currently lies in second place in the goal scoring charts having picked up two more goals in Brazil's 3-2 quarter final win over Honduras. The first goal of that game showed superb reactions to pounce on a loose ball and the second fantastic technique to tuck the ball away.

The problem with Damiao is that he is unproven in a major European League and it has been a 50/50 gamble for British sides purchasing South American stars previously. For every Sandro there's a Kleberson. For every Hernandez there's a Boselli. What differentiates Leandro from the Kleberson's and the Boselli's however is his confidence. Some would have struggled leading the Brazil line alongside the astronomically rated Neymar but Leandro has looked every bit as good as his Samba counterpart. At 6'2 the Brazilian has all the attributes to head the attack for Spurs.

A £20 million price tag appears to be desired for the striker and Daniel Levy is unlikely to want to pay such a large fee (Let's not forget it would break our transfer record). If we are able to get the player for an agreed fee, wages should be a lot cheaper than Adebayor and at just 23 years of age Leandro has bags of potential.

Giovanni Dos Santos

Not strictly a new signing like the above two, Dos Santos has been with the club for 4 years now having signed under Juande Ramos but has struggled to make an impact. The Mexican has famously fallen out with Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp for an alleged lack of professionalism towards training but us Spurs fans have never really been able to see what Dos Santos can do in a Lilywhite shirt.

Performances for Mexico have shown the talent that the youngster has and he has already attained over 40 international caps, a very commendable achievement for a player just 23 years old. Appearances have been limited to the Europa League for Spurs with impressive performances in some games, but anonymous displays in others.

With just one year on his contract, it is time for the club to make a decision on the Mexican's future. Whether we keep him or not, he is definitely too good a player to let slip out of grasp without a single penny changing hands. With a new manager heralding new beginnings he could be an exciting wildcard choice for the 2012/13 season.

As Spurs fans we are all aware of the tight purse strings our chairman Mr Levy keeps so the likelihood is that two will go through, we just have to wait and see which two. If your asking me I'd have to prioritise:

1) Adebayor
2) Damiao
3) Gio

But that's just me. What do other Spurs fans think?

Follow me on Twitter: @Cjipps

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

What have we learnt from our American tour?

Well a lot, I think it's fair to say.

Let's start with the new boys Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson. In Vertonghen there has been clear signs of quality, although it is clear to see he still needs time to adapt to the squad. His mistake against New York Red Bulls, giving away a clear penalty showed rustiness but better the mistakes are ironed out early in pre-season than during the domestic campaign.

Sigurdsson on the other hand seems to have bedded in like a duck to water, hitting the ground running. Looking assured and composed his performances have filled this Spurs fan with confidence going into the new season. The goal he scored against the Red Bulls last night took exquisite skill and that flair will definitely improve the squad. Players can disappear from games, but even when Gylfi does he always seems capable of producing a moment of class as he did with his cross for Gareth Bale's goal against LA Galaxy in the first game.

Another noticeable thing is that AVB is doing what Redknapp seemed scared to do and is offering the young players a chance to stake a claim for the first team squad. Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Tom Carroll in particular have all been afforded valuable playing time and Carroll in particular has impressed with his passing range. Whether these players will continue to get their chance to stake a claim when the season begins, it remains to be seen. However for the first time in a long while it seems our academy is finally producing players capable of competing at the very least.

One thing that has been evident from the three match tour is that we have missed the midfield trio of Scott Parker, Sandro and Luka Modric. With Parker out for the beginning of the season it would have been nice to see Sandro in action but the Olympics have put that ideal to bed. With the absence of the forceful ball winner in the midfield we have looked a bit lightweight at times, none more so than against LA Galaxy. This means more pressure on the defence something that probably isn't helping with them only just getting used to the new high line system.

Love him or loathe him, Modric was a key cog in the free-flowing machine that produced such silky attacking football over the last three years, and his influence has been missed out in the States. If we are able to replace him with Moutinho or Sahin, players able to take control of a game, then it's happy days for all concerned. Should he go and we don't replace, don't be surprised if we become a less cohesive passing unit.

Nevertheless I trust AVB to be working on any faults we currently have in our team. Early indications are that he has learnt to deviate from the specific tactics he would follow so rigorously at Chelsea, seemingly without a Plan cB. There has been a gradual improvement in the performances of the team as the tour's gone on, looking like a much better side against the Red Bulls than we did against the Galaxy where we were lucky to come out with a draw realistically.

Finally the absence of a top class striker is worrying. Harry Kane has shown in glimpses the talent he possesses but it is far too soon to throw him in at the deep end. With a free scoring hit an up top, with supply from Sigurdsson, Van Der Vaart and Bale, the team can only thrive in the attacking third.

Lessons most definitely have been learned from my point of view. Now it's time for AVB to prove all the critics wrong and improve on the little mistakes to take us to the level the players we currently have are capable of playing at.

On a side note I must say a fond farewell to the departing Steven Pienaar. The South African struggled to recreate his Everton form in a Lilywhite shirt but remained a consummate pro until the end. I'm sure you'll agree after the comments made on Twitter last night regarding the end of his Spurs journey:

"All the best to AVB and the team for the new season

Just a shame didn't workout for me at the club but will cherish every second I spend at Spurs was a great experience thank you guys"

Best of luck for the future Steven and make sure to get one over on the thuggish Charlie Adam in the Merseyside derby!

Follow me on Twitter: @Cjipps