Mr. C wants to keep Dimitar Berbatov, do Tottenham?
If Tottenham has learned anything from the recent defections of Frank Arnesen and the likes of Sol Campbell it is that money talks. Despite how we wish players and other club officials have the club firmly at heart; the real truth is that the bank balance dictates their movements in the Premiership.
When I look back the 20 odd years I have been following Tottenham there has only been two players who have turned down the fortunes they would have received elsewhere to show loyalty to our great club. Gary Mabbutt; a man who turned down the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid in the late 80s and our own Ledley King; a man with 12months left on his contract and a queue of suitors chose to sign a new 5 yr deal rather than do a Campbell-esque free transfer at the end of his contract with Arsenal and Chelsea sniffing about.
There are many fans who think it is a disgrace the sums of money that footballers earn, but I for one have nothing against it as long as the club is generating the necessary revenue to pay for it. Much larger sums of money are paid to the best bankers and investors in the world and the tabloids don’t get on their backs. The players earn the success so why should they get paid peanuts why the fat cats at the top of the club pocket the proceeds? The wealth should be distributed accordingly.
Tottenham have a strict wage structure at the cub which is very admirable and it has kept up in good stead since the days of Paul Bobroffâ€™s shocking running of the finances in the late 80s. But you have to ask the question whether it may now be time to open the purse strings a little. I might be wrong but I believe Tottenham are just about the only club in the top 15 rich list who have never played in the Champions League, a stat that shows more than just how well the club is run but the incredible potential should we prefer to jump rather than dip our toes in the water.
The reason for my concern at this moment is the future of Dimitar Berbatov who, along with Jurgen Klinsmann, is the best striker I have seen down at the lane in the last 20 years. Here is a player who oozes class and is faultless in every department and is one of the few world class players in the premiership who wouldnâ€™t fail to get into starting line up in the world. My fear is that given our poor season and the failure to secure Champions League football (where he made the final at his previous club) whether Dimitar would be willing to spend another season with club that has so much potential, despite our crap coach. Would he really turn down interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United and cups and glory? Ignoring six figures a week? Is their more to Dimitar than just money?
He seems to be willing to give us another season, but how do we convince Dimitar next year that we are the club where he can fulfill his ambitions?
These are all questions that will arise in the summer as the press love unsettling our club with constant speculation about ins and outs. How will the club hold up better under such speculation than we did with Michael Carrick-to-Manchester United? Or are they going to make a conscious effort in the transfer market and make a statement of intent? The same concern for Berbatov also apply to that in the futures of Lennon and Dawson.
Despite saying it every year, this is the most important summer in Tottenhamâ€™s recent history and if the board want us to be serious contenders to the big four then this is our chance to do it. Martin Jol has talked about needing a Thierry Henry superstar who can take the club to the top and it looks like we have our man. It is time Levy and co. stopped boasting about record profits and start looking at ways to make us compete with the elite and that has to start with scrapping the wage structure â€“ Dawson getting Â£20k a week why Rio gets Â£130k? Henry getting Â£120k a week while Berbatov gets Â£35k? Iâ€™m not for a minute suggesting everybody should get a massive pay rise but if we want to keep, and attract, top players then we need to be on an equal playing field. Selling a player of Berbatovâ€™s quality in the summer would send out a signal to the rest of the football world that we are a selling club and have no intention of competing with Europeâ€™s elite.
Throwing money around doesnâ€™t always guarantee success, but I would rather try and fail than not give our current squad of players the opportunity to realise its potential. We are probably realistically 3 or 4 players short of being a top 4 outfit and, with a better coach, could challenge for the title.
But until the tight fisted Levy decides to open up the clubs coffers, I fear we will always be the also-rans we have become in the last 20yrs.