The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer and you can pretty much assume that the Premiership is back in full swing. Now is the time when any manager’s squad is put to the test. With over two months still to go until the re-opening of the transfer window, it is essential teams star players steer well clear of any injuries in order to help boost their teams league position.
Whether they are fighting for the title, or simply to stay in the league, much is made of every clubs prospects of survival of glory in the build up to the gruelling Christmas run. However, after only seven games, it is evident that Tottenham are facing somewhat of a mini-injury crisis, especially in defence.
And it is here where Spurs desperately need strengthening. At the moment, Harry Redknapp has his choice of five centre-backs to start in two spots in the back four. Any manager would love the abundance of talent available to the Spurs boss but, unfortunately, this isn’t the case for Redknapp, especially with three of the five currently sidelined with injury.
Michael Dawson, Ledley King and William Gallas would, when fully fit, in or around the starting XI but with the trio suffering from achilles, groin and calf problems, respectively, it is going to be around mid-November before at least one is available for selection once more. This leaves Sebastien Bassong and Younes Kaboul as the only fit recognised centre-backs at Spurs and while the latter is more than capable of starting from the off, the former isn’t of the same ilk as his four competitors.
As much as it pains me to say it, due to his performances at the back when Spurs reached the top four almost 18 months ago, Bassong no longer looks cut out for a team that are hoping to make the transition from a good team to a great one. It is looking more and more likely that the Cameroon international will be on his way out of White Hart Lane come January and with that in mind, it is essential that Redknapp moves quickly in order to secure his top defensive target when the transfer window re-opens in just over two months time.
Gary Cahill was heavily linked with a move to Spurs in the summer, and in fact came close to move to the North London side at the end of August only for both Spurs and Bolton Wanderers fail to agree a fee. Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand and Christopher Samba of Blackburn Rovers have also been mooted as potential incomers but, with Redknapp praising Cahill in recent weeks, the 25-year-old former Aston Villa the most likely to top the Spurs managers’ wish list.
In the midfield, Spurs are heavily packed with the necessary talent to compete with any team in the Premiership. With the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Scott Parker, amongst others in the middle of the park, you would be hard pressed to find a team with a more talented trio of players in the league. Meanwhile, up top, Spurs are looking a little lightweight on the front-line.
The signing of Emmanuel Adebayor appeased many and his arrival has boosted the North London side while his presence alone has reaped the rewards for partner Jermain Defoe, who looks to have found his form once-more alongside the Togo man. Yet, without those two, first-choice back-up, Roman Pavlyuchenko, isn’t exactly a player of the necessary calibre Spurs need if they are to push forward from perennial top four contenders to regulars. The Russian often looks lazy and cumbersome when called upon by Redknapp and despite a superbly struck free-kick against Rubin Kazan; his ‘shoot-on-sight’ policy isn’t as effective as Defoe’s.
Redknapp has admitted he won’t look to sell the Russian in the summer but if the right offer he comes in, it will be considered. With that in mind, two players spring to mind as to who can replace the 29-year-old; Leandro Damiao and Seydou Doumbia. The former, a Brazilian sensation currently raising eyebrows across Europe and the latter, an Ivory Coast international with an impressive goal-scoring record for CSKA Moscow, and a player who has welcomed links with a move to White Hart Lane.
Spurs appear as favourites for the duo and if one, or at a push, both, could sign it would be a massive signal of intent by the club about the lengths they are willing to go in order secure their status as a top four club. It will be interesting to see how things develop, on the transfer front, in the run-up to the transfer window but with a defender and a striker desperately needed at White Hart Lane, fans of the club can expect a flurry of activity during the 31 days of January.