Tis the season to be jolly and with Tottenham flying high in the Premiership, you would be hard pressed to find a happy Spurs fans. Third place in the Premiership and looking more and more like a team that deserves to be playing at the top with each passing week. Harry Redknapp, however, recently admitted he could well be looking to add to the squad in January, should the right player, a special player, become available. But, just who could that player be?
Carlos Tevez – Wants out of Manchester City, everyone associated with the club, fans included, don’t want him at the Etihad stadium, Harry Redknapp is a confirmed admirer of the Argentine and Spurs have the Champions League ambition to match his own individual ones. Match made in heaven? Thank again. There is a reason why Roberto Mancini doesn’t want him at the club anymore and it all stems back from his refusal to warm-up during City’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich back in September.
Undoubtedly oozing quality, probably what the scar is for, (I know, it was from a dog attack when he was younger, sorry Carlos!) it is his mental capabilities that reeks to high heaven. In a week which should have been celebrated as the Citizens embarked on their maiden Champions League in fact made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
But, if anyone is to get a player on the straight and narrow, it’s our Harry. He appears to have William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor, after their respective indifferent histories, sorted out, attitude-wise. Yet, a number of fans are on the fence regarding his potential signing. Don’t get me wrong, he is an exceptional talent and the addition of the 27-year-old will no doubt improve Tottenham, potentially firing them to the title.
However, his egotistical approach to the game has got fans worried of any potential deal that will bring him to White Hart Lane and who can blame them? The prospective fall-out between players due to his mannerisms could well prove detrimental to any possible success that is surely looming on the horizon. On top of that, his wages would absolutely smash the budget set aside by Daniel Levy that currently stands at around £75k, although that could rise to £100k over the next few months, but that still wouldn’t be enough to match his weekly earnings the striker currently earns with City.
On top of that, he has his heart set on a return to his native Argentina and insists he is not going to return to England during his career, all but ruling out any move. And with AC Milan, Juventus and Paris St. Germain all interested in bringing the player to their respective clubs in January, chances that Spurs are going to be at the front of the queue for his signature are pretty much slim-to-none.
Didier Drogba – Even though he is seemingly past his peek, Drogba can still do a job at the very highest level. Despite a long-term injury just weeks after the season started, the Ivorian was thrust back into the starting XI, at the expense of Fernando Torres but we’ll get to him later on, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Again re-affirming himself as Chelsea’s ideal target man, it is no surprise that the Blues recent up-turn in form has coincided with his return to the first-team. However, at 33-years-old, time certainly isn’t on Drogba’s side. And it his age which is preventing the Blues from offering a two-year extension to his current deal, a contract offer which the former Marseille hit-man is hankering for, rather than a one-year one which the West Londoners have offered.
With former team-mate Nicholas Anelka now shooting off to China in the New Year, potential suitors Shanghai Shenhua have emerged as a prospective destination for the Ivory Coast star. Should he follow the Frenchman to the far-east, it will surely see the end of the powerful front-man, who can still cut it at the highest level.
A return to the Stade Velodrome has been mooted while big spending Anzhi Makhachkala are interested in taking him to Russia. However, like Tevez, Redknapp is a confirmed fan of the burly striker and should he be available, would love to bring him to White Hart Lane. A move would be similar to the signature of William Gallas last summer and if he can perform at Spurs, chances are a longer deal could be offered.
However, whether Chelsea would be willing to negotiate with the North Londoners is a different matter altogether. Meanwhile, again like Tevez, money would be a further issue with Drogba commanding a large weekly wage at Stamford Bridge. But, if he can be convinced to take a wage-cut to prolong his stay in the Premiership then by all means, Redknapp and Levy should go all out to take him to North London. Not exactly a special signing as such, but a necessary one if an extended stay in the top four, or even at the summit, is to be achieved.
Leandro Damiao – The Brazilian Emile Heskey, as he was touted on the World Soccer website, Leandro has been touted as one of the stars of the future and is expected to make a big money move sooner rather than later. Came close to leaving Internacional over the summer before signing a five-year contract with the former Copa Libertadores champions.
Now a recognised member of the national side, his fee has surely skyrocketed in the last six months. On top of that, pre-season goals against Barcelona and AC Milan has attracted interest from the European giants. However, Spurs remain head of the queue in any potential deal courtesy of the commercial relationship between the two sides, ensuring any offer placed for the 22-year-old that is accepted by Inter can be matched by the club, should they take up the option.
He has shown exceptional maturity from a player so young and his goals-to-game ratio of 52 in 86, in all competitions, is an exceptional return for any striker. Yet, many are of the opinion that Spurs had their chance to secure his signature over the summer, but failed to stump up the reported £15m asking price that Inter had slapped on the youngsters head.
As such, a number of Europe’s biggest, and richest, clubs have become interested in bringing Leandro to their respective clubs, limiting Redknapp’s chances of bringing the Brazilian to White Hart Lane. However, the aforementioned partnership has left fans with some hope that a transfer could be possible next month. He is a perfect target; young and with sell-on value and could well prove a revelation due to his physical attributes.
Fernando Torres – 2008 was the year of Torres. Winning the European Championships against Zee Germans on the back of a hugely successful debut campaign with Liverpool, scoring 33 in 46 for the Reds. Fast forward four-years, and a mere six months from the time Spain begin their defence of the trophy they picked up four years ago in Austria and Switzerland and things couldn’t be more different for El Niño.
Desperately short of confidence, the 27-year-old is but a shadow of his former-self and isn’t showing any signs of replicating his past form. A £50m move just over 12 months ago wouldn’t have helped is, already, rock-bottom morale and the pressure of a big-money transfer has clearly affected his performances with just five goals to his name since arriving at Stamford Bridge.
Those five goals have come in 35 appearances, so it isn’t as though Torres isn’t getting his chance to prove the doubters wrong with the Blues. The pressure of becoming the most expensive transfer in British history has evidently got the better of him and it is hardly surprising that speculation is rife linking the Spaniard with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the New Year.
A player down on his confidence is where Redknapp works his wonders and it was hardy shocking to see the club linked with a move for the aptly titled ‘£50m flop’. He is the type of down-in-the-dumps player that the former Portsmouth boss loves getting his hand on before turning around his career and making him a star again and you can be damned sure Redknapp would work his man management magic on the former Atletico Madrid captain.
However, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has insisted he won’t be for sale during January for any price for the sole purpose that Anelka is leaving for China while Drogba and Saloman Kalou will departing next month for the African Cup of Nations. Unless they bring in a new striker next month, it is hardly unlikely Torres will be leaving until the summer at the earliest and even then, a return to Spain is the most likely scenario.
Wesley Sneijder – A massive long-shot but the rumours are there. With Inter Milan not enjoying an especially impressive campaign as of late, Sneijder must be regretting the day he opted to remain with the former Champions League winners rather than seal a switch to Manchester United over the summer.
Seriously hot property after a fantastic World Cup, the Dutchman looked more than likely to leave the San Siro especially with Jose Mourinho upping and leaving for Real Madrid 18 months ago. Nevertheless, he dug in his heels in and has remained faithful to the Serie A giants despite the ongoing turmoil’s on the pitch and the radical changes in management off it.
Again linked with a move for United next month, especially with the Red Devils set to be without Anderson and Darren Fletcher for a substantial period of time, a move to England could well be on the cards. Yet, chances are slim that it won’t be to Tottenham. Redknapp doesn’t need him in the starting XI, not with Rafael Van der Vaart at his disposal. Furthermore, his astronomical wages will expectedly scupper any potential deal that Spurs may have planned to bring him to White Hart Lane.
Out of all the players mentioned, the most likely incomer of the list would be Drogba. With his contract expiring in six months time and the delay in signing a new deal could signal a bidding war for his signature.