In a season that has rapidly tailed off, for Spurs and for this blog, perhaps now is the time to put down some thoughts about next season.
Last night’s was a game against a team headed for the stratosphere. Good luck to them, or at least to their fans. For the next couple of years they get to live the dream, before becoming just another oil rich set of supporters with a sense of entitlement. Soon they will yawn at the carling cup. Second will be below their level. The Champions League group stages becomes a chore to be endured. You can see it already – their celebrations last night lacking the wild-eyed delirium of ours last year. Passion dulled by expectation. I’m not knocking them. It’s human nature and my own feelings about qualifying (or not) for the Europa Cup would no doubt seem similarly curmudgeonly to a Stoke City fan. But the CL has got into my system and I’d rather go cold turkey than be placed on the Europa methadone program. At least I can still gorge upon a feast of metaphor. Over the last couple of years there’s been a seismic shift in the way the Champions League spots are contested. This summer is going to be all about whether we can stay in the mix once the plates stop moving.
So what should our transfer strategy be? Football is a simple game, a wise man once said. Or to put it another way, just get on the pitch and fucking run about.
How much more can there be to say about something so obvious? It’s getting painfully difficult to find new insight about our failings. I reckon our strikers aren’t up to much.
The problem with seeing football as a simple game, as Harry does, is that in the end its quite simple. The team with the better players generally wins. Looking at the league now, it’s hard to argue that the order of the top 7 (and perhaps 8 the way Stoke are playing at the moment) doesn’t reflect this completely accurately. We were better than Liverpool. Now they are better than us. Why? Because goals win you games, and we have scored less than West Brom this season.
We were linked with Carroll and Suarez and it’s now clear that either would have been a great signing for us. We missed a trick, and a rival stole a march. The knock on effect of Torres’ sale to Chelsea inflated the price but last summer, before Liverpool came sniffing, we probably had the buying power necessary to bag at least one of them. Not that a mostly injured Carroll would have made much of a difference this season, but more of one than a mostly fit Defoe.
How deep into our pockets will we dig, and for who? That’s clearly the key question this summer. It has to be strikers first, right? Otherwise we have a Wenger like blind-spot going on here. Seems to me there are four types of frontmen we can go for.
The big guns
There are the strikers we covet along with most of Europe. Cavani. Rossi. Aguero. Lukaku. Some others I’ve forgotten. Some will be snapped up by bigger fish, but some won’t. Those leftovers will have something to prove and will want to increase their reputation at a team like Tottenham, a team crying out for a 20 a season man. These guys still represent a risk, to varying degrees. A big rebrovutation does not guarantee a big return. Some are clearly not at their peak yet (Lukaku is 12, for example). Some may just be flavour of the month. The Belgian Franny Jeffers. The Michael Ricketts of the Mezzogiorno. But none represent a bigger risk than another summer trying to make Joe Cole your marquee signing.
The one-more-contract crew
The established marksmen looking for an ego-saving big team to make up for the fact that the even bigger team no longer wants him. Let’s call him Dimitar Drogba. I have no shame. If either of those muppets wants to take a huge two year contract to improve my team, I will live with it. Just as we’ve managed to do with Gallas. Of the two, Drogba would be my preference. Politics plays as much of a role in team selection as performances at Chelsea, and I reckon Drogba still has another year or two in him. All of this depends on so many factors of course. Perhaps his ego doesn’t let him play for a team slightly lower in the pecking order. Perhaps he wants to be top drog at Marseille or Juve instead. Perhaps all those insults about his father being a rapist have put Berba off – how very over-sensitive of him. Milito might be a possibility as well, depending on how his disappointing season at Inter has been viewed. Forlan too. I have one criterion here – if available, do they improve the team? Adebayor is probably a big gun rather than a one more contractor, but the same holds true for him. In fact, I’d love to see it just to put an end to the debate about whether the obviously racist song about him is racist or not.
part II follows VERY soon…