Tottenham Hotspur were the little engine that almost could last season, seeing the Champions League spot slip right out from under them with Chelsea’s charismatic and some say improbable win in the big tourney last year. How will they reload their squad for the coming season? A lot depends on whom they might loose (this is where you hear that coughing noise that sounds suspiciously like “MODRIC!”) so let’s take a look at their big moves so far.
Sigurdsson’s stock set to rise?
The first player on his way to North London this summer was Gylfi Sigurdsson. Having turned down a move to rejoin Brendan Rogers at Liverpool, under whom Gylffi flourished while on loan at Swansea last season, Sigurdsson was the first of Spurs new manager Andre Villas-Boas summer signings. Sigurdsson would later put down the move to White Hart Lane as a chance for more success than Liverpool might have, making no friends in Merseyside.
On the field, his spot in the Spurs formation is an interesting question, as Sigurdsson is regarded as best slotted behind a loan striker. Spurs seemed content to play with just one up front last season, but formations and tactics with new managers are always a question mark, and AVB’s ideas about the “ongoing project” of his clubs are well documented. Still, the prospect of Adebayor up front with Bale wide and Gylfi in the middle is an appetizing one, likely to produce goals and assists for all those involved. We’ll have to see if AVB is as excited about the idea as we are.
Sigurdsson has looked good in Spurs preseason friendlies in the U.S., scoring the winner against New York Red Bulls and gelling well with teammate Garth Bale on more than one occasion. Waiting to see if Modric finds the door at Spurs (which he almost certainly will, eventually) might be prudent, and at £9mil in the fantasy game, Sigurdsson isn’t exactly cheap, but the Spurs midfield is likely to be much more dynamic under the new boss than the old.
Parker likely to miss opener
The additional news this week that Scott Parker is set to miss a good portion of the early season while recovering from surgery just means that Gylffi is much more likely to be nailed on ,despite playing a somewhat different role than the Englishman with the best hair in football. However the midfield shakes out, playing time looks a certainty for Sigurdsson, so get in there while you can.
Vertonghen the scoring center half
Spurs other major acquisition so far during the summer window is 25 year old former Ajax center back Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen is valued at £6.5mil, and faces stiff competition in the middle of the Tottenham back line, especially in light of the retirement of Captain Ledley King and Ryan Nelsen’s move to QPR. One can assume that the wingbacks, Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker (each £6.5mil) are nailed on, but that still leaves the likes of William Gallas (£5mil), Younes Caboul (£5.5mil), Steven Caulker (£5mil) and Michael Dawson (£5mil) fighting it out for the two spots in the middle of the line.
However, Vertonghen is a gifted scorer in the center-back position, with a nose for goal and lots of skill in set pieces. His 8 goals last season led him to be named Dutch player of the year in 2011/12 and went a long way towards helping Ajax win the Eredivisie last season. Vertonghen has been a target for Spurs since ‘Arry’s day, and will be glad to have the matter settled at last. Will his calm eye for the game help create break-away chances of the kind AVB is so fond?
I suppose only time will tell, but Tottenham’s soft early schedule, after a pitched first week battle with Newcastle that is, could lead to positive fantasy returns foe Jan.
Other than that, this off season has been more about who Spurs lost than who the brought in. The numbers at White Hart lane are fewer than at the end of last year, with the aforementioned Captain’s retirement, along with the losses of Nico Kranjcar and Verdan Corluka. There have been rumors swirling about Tottenham all season, and not just about their want away Croatian midfielder. The Emmanuel Adebayor deal STILL isn’t permanent either, so it remains to be seen if Spurs will make further moves in the market to add attacking threat. One can only assume the eventual sale of Modric will add cash to the coffers and players to the pitch, but only time will tell.