What exactly is needed at White Hart Lane?
Tottenham tickets available from Tixdaq.com
Tottenham Hotspur have had a staggering rise in fortunes this season.
Of course, last year they qualified for the UEFA Champions League, but who would have expected such a comprehensive defeat of European cup holders Inter Milan at White Hart Lane on their way to finishing top of Group A?
They now meet Internazionale’s city rivals AC Milan in the last 16, and no one will be underestimating them this time.
Though many expected them to struggle to match last season’s fine campaign due to their multiple focuses, Spurs have managed their domestic and European commitments well.
With Manchester United, Man City and Arsenal looking near certainties to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, the fight for 4th place looks between Tottenham and last season’s league and cup double winners Chelsea.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp remains convinced that his side are still in the title race, but Manchester United’s ten point lead looks an enormous obstacle to overcome – and they have a game in hand too.
If Tottenham are to continue their progression though, they need to retain their place amongst the European elite by achieving Champions League qualification again, but it will not be easy.
Perhaps some reinforcements will aid their challenge – and South Africa defender Bongani Khumalo has joined their ranks from Supersport United for around £1.5m, while midfielder Steven Pienaar has joined from Everton for just under double that fee.
It is up front though where Tottenham most clearly need a top calibre player – both their top goalscorers of Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart are midfielders, while third highest Roman Pavlyuchenko is thought to be considering a move away from White Hart Lane.
Peter Crouch has been prolific in the UEFA Champions League, with 6 goals in the competition, but has just one Premier League goal to his name – though he has provided eight assists.
Here are ten potential transfer targets as reported elsewhere in the press.
1. Andy Carroll
Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll is quite clearly not for sale. His manager has said that on multiple occasions.
However, that does not stop rumours from circulating, and the 6’5″ forward has been linked with a move to White Hart Lane on dozens of occasions recently.
Carroll himself is on holiday in Dubai as he recovers from injury, and so little progress is likely to be made on a deal, but one cannot help but think Newcastle owner Mike Ashley would consider an enormous bid.
While Carroll has been mightily impressive this season, scoring 11 goals and assisting 6 in 19 Premier League appearances, the £30m figure suggested by the press seems a tad over the top for a player with no European experience.
Still, if Tottenham want to push for Europe, and can generate funds with player sales such as Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko, perhaps the gamble would be worth it.
2. Giuseppe Rossi
Giuseppe Rossi is having a great season for Villarreal, and has scored 19 goals in all competitions so far – third of those who ply their trade in Spain behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The diminutive Italian’s tricky play for his club has won him plenty of admirers, and his fantastic partnership with the Brazilian Nilmar up front has helped Villarreal soar to third place in La Liga behind Real Madrid and Barcelona – whilst also being arguably the most exciting to watch (to those tired of watching Barcelona steamroll opposition).
Manchester United have a first option deal on Rossi should he be sold, but with their surplus of strikers would be unlikely to take that up.
Could Tottenham steal in?
3. Emmanuel Adebayor
Rumours of Emmanuel Adebayor moving to White Hart Lane are surely just traditional press mischief, but they have been abound because of the striker’s inability to force his way into the Manchester City team and his pedigree at the top level.
The Daily Mirror and the Sun have both penned stories of a possible move, but there is one rather large obstacle in the way.
Adebayor played for Arsenal, and it is highly unlikely that he would be welcomed with open arms by the fans.
Though he is likely to be available on loan this January, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp would be foolish to risk squad morale and supporter relations by picking him up.
4. Lisandro Lopez
Lisandro Lopez of Olympique Lyonnais would be an excellent player for Tottenham Hotspur.
Though the Argentine forward is just 5’8″, he possesses great strength and is a brilliant link player.
With Spurs’ midfielders excellent at bombing forward, Lopez could make a terrific asset to their build up play – much as Robin Van Persie does for Arsenal.
Having transferred to Lyon for €24m in 2009 though, the 27 year-old would not come cheap.
5. Karim Benzema
Were Gonzalo Higuain not injured for the long term for Real Madrid, the immediate future of Karim Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu would be in serious doubt.
Instead, the club have been plunged into a forward crisis, and Benzema is needed – primarily because there are no other options.
The fans haven’t exactly warmed to him – and he has only managed 10 league goals in his season and a half at Real Madrid, but on his day he is an absolutely fantastic striker with touch, finishing, strength and movement.
Spurs would do well to secure the signature of Benzema in the summer, but they are certain not to be the only club interested.
6. Taye Taiwo
Benoit Assou-Ekotto is a polarising figure for Spurs fans.
Some deem him useless; others believe him underrated.
While Assou-Ekotto isn’t the greatest defensively, that could be argued of either full back and could perhaps be more an indictment of Tottenham’s gung ho approach than his own failings.
In addition, the partnership he has struck up with Gareth Bale on the left is also of great use to Harry Redknapp, but competition for places could do no harm.
With Liverpool seemingly turning to Stephen Warnock to solve their left back woes, Spurs have edged to the front of the queue in the race to sign Marseille defender Taye Taiwo.
The left back is out of contract in the summer, but there are plenty of clubs willing to pay the £3m or so to secure his signature early.
The trouble for Tottenham though is that he is cup-tied in the UEFA Champions League though.
Another player in a contract dispute with his club is Real Madrid centre back Pepe.
The Portugal international has been linked with almost every top club around Europe due to his reluctance to sign a new deal at the Santiago Bernabeu, but his reasons for refusing are understandable.
When Pepe signed for Real Madrid, he gave up a substantial amount of his wages to sign in 2007 to help push the move through. He is now one of the lowest paid players at the club – wages of £29,000 per week are around 15% of that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s £190,000 – and though defenders tend to earn less generally than attackers, Pepe is entitled to feel undervalued as a fellow first team regular.
Real Madrid may well opt to sell the player in the summer, and if Tottenham could qualify for the UEFA Champions League again, he may well consider a move to White Hart Lane.
8. Glen Johnson
Both the Daily Express and Daily Mirror ran stories of a Glen Johnson transfer to Tottenham Hotspur recently – however unlikely it seems.
The Liverpool right back has tended to play under Kenny Dalglish on the opposite side, and though the club’s fans have urged both he and Roy Hodgson to try him on the right wing (it worked for Gareth Bale), it has shown no sign of materialising.
Perhaps this is just a case of a player being linked with a club because of playing under their manager in the past – Harry Redknapp was manager when Johnson was at both West Ham United and Portsmouth.
If there is any interest though, following it up would not come cheap.
9. Mark Van Bommel
Wilson Palacios has been unable to perform to his full potential this season after an encouraging start to his Tottenham career, and with Jermaine Jenas hardly convincing either, a move for Mark Van Bommel has been suggested by the Daily Mirror.
Van Bommel would certainly add some steel to the Tottenham midfield with his no-nonsense style (as witnessed by Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final), and is likely to be available from Bayern Munich for a small fee, with his contract up in the summer.
He has expressed interest in a move to England, and the prospect of a link up with fellow Netherlands star Rafael Van Der Vaart could seal the deal.
10. Lassana Diarra
Another former Arsenal player on this list, Real Madrid’s midfield enforcer would not attract the same vitriol that Adebayor would from Spurs fans.
After all, he only played a total of 13 matches for the Gunners before departing for Portsmouth, where he played under Harry Redknapp, but it is a telling statistic that Diarra has more caps for France (28) than league appearances for the three English clubs he played for: Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth.
Could he finally settle down at White Hart Lane?
He is certainly surplus to requirements at the Santiago Bernabeu, and his ability to fill in at right back if required would enable Redknapp to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Fancy a flutter? Join Sportingbet and get a free bet worth up to £50! There are countless markets to bet on including which team will win, the first goalscorer, the correct score or even the time of the last goal. You can also try your hand at an accumulator and try to win big from a small stake. So visit Sportingbet.com and register now to put your money where your mouth is.