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Breaking off the deadwood

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Tottenham Hotspur are going through somewhat of rejuvenation. The club sacked Harry Redknapp last month before appoint Andre Villas-Boas as head coach, which was quickly followed up by the acquisition of Gylfi Sigurdsson. On top of that, Gareth Bale and Steven Caulker both signed fresh long-term deals, whilst Jan Vertonghen is expected to join the revolution very soon.

The so-called ‘Spurs exodus’ that was mooted following Redknapp’s departure has been all but quashed, with many excited about the positive changes currently occurring at White Hart Lane. Nevertheless, with a raft of signings expected to be announced over the coming weeks, the transfer and wage budget will need to be reinforced to help cover the costs.

Villas-Boas has already overseen the departure of Ben Alnwick, who has since moved to Barnsley, and he is expected to be the first out of the revolving door at the club. Others need to follow suit, despite reports suggesting the 34-year-old is willing to give a number of the fringe players a chance. Regardless of the possible investment, it is important to cut down the squad numbers and, in essence, trim the fat from of the current crop at White Hart Lane.

David Bentley

Having arrived early on in the Juande Ramos era, big things were expected of David Bentley. Two years at Blackburn Rovers saw the midfielder’s stock rise significantly, with interest high in the England international. As such, Spurs forked out around £15m on the 27-year-old, with a further £2m to follow depending on appearances.

As a self confessed Spurs fan, the move was a perfect fit for both the player and the club. However, four years later and it is clear to see it never worked out for Bentley, despite making 62 appearances in all competitions. He failed to really settle at White Hart Lane, with his style of player often slowing down attacks, with Spurs opting for a quick, fluid, attacking game plan.

As it was, Bentley secured loan moves to Birmingham City and West Ham United, respectively, with his time at the latter cut short due to a knee injury. A summer exit is expected, for the good of both the player and the club. It’s evident the former Arsenal trainee needs a move away from the club in order to kick-start his stalling career, with his approach unlikely to fit in with Villas-Boas’ tactical approach.

Sebastien Bassong

Joined from Newcastle United at the beginning of Redknapp’s first full season in charge of Spurs, despite interest from Arsenal and Manchester City, Sebastien Bassong was considered a wise investment by the club. Short of defensive options, the 25-year-old made the move from the Magpies, who had been relegated to the Championship the season prior to his move.

His first season at White Hart Lane was considered a success, having scored on his debut in the 2-1 win over Liverpool in the year Spurs made it to the Champions League. The France-born Cameroon international went on to make 38 appearances throughout the campaign and was firmly instilled in the first-choice centre-back pairing with Michael Dawson.

However, following his first year at the club, Bassong has found first-team opportunities hard to come by, falling down the pecking order behind Younes Kaboul, William Gallas and Ledley King. He spent the second half of last season on-loan with Wolves, with a lack of confidence and form painstakingly evident for all to see. With Caulker returning from a loan spell with Swansea City and Vertonghen expected to join, he is expected to depart the club this summer, with a return to France mooted.

Heurelho Gomes

Like Bentley, Gomes arrived in the summer of 2008 as part of the Ramos era. Nicknamed ‘The Octopus’ during his spell at PSV Eindhoven due to his exceptional reflexes and shot stopping capabilities, his efforts for the Eredivisie outfit that saw Spurs knocked out of the UEFA Cup in 2008 saw fans salivating at the prospect of the Brazilian arriving at White Hart Lane.

Nevertheless, his initial outings with the North London side were riddled with mistakes. Ridiculed due to a number of erratic performances during his early life at White Hart Lane, his confidence took a major blow, forcing Redknapp to bring in Carlo Cudicini in January 2009. The move gave the Brazilian the kick he needed to push on.

Her turned his performances around, with his display in the 2-1 win over Arsenal one his best in a Spurs shirt. However, Redknapp didn’t trust the 31-year-old, with Gomes making just a handful of cup appearances. The arrival of Brad Friedel appeared to signal the end of his time in North London and with reports suggesting Hugo Lloris and Jack Butland have been approached as possible arrivals, a summer exit is expected.

Giovani Dos Santos

Giovani Dos Santos was another to arrive as part of the ‘Ramos Revolution’ in 2008 and was perhaps the player fans, perhaps, were most excited about. Many were shocked when it was revealed Barcelona were willing to sell the Mexican ace for so cheap, especially as he was dubbed the ‘new Ronaldinho’.

However, it was soon clear to see why the Catalan giants were willing to sell the 23-year-old. Dos Santos failed to settle in England early on, with reports suggesting he was more interested in the London nightlife than attempting to break into the first-team. Redknapp was unhappy with his contribution that saw the winger undertake loan spells with Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander.

In a similar situation to Bentley, it remains to be seen whether Villas-Boas will give Dos Santos a chance to prove his worth. Has been expected to leave during the last two transfer windows, the youngster is set to depart this summer following a lack of first-team action. Remarkably, the 23-year-old has mustered just 336 minutes of Premier League football during his four years in England, courtesy of Spurs Stat Man.

Jermaine Jenas

Jermaine Jenas is a very enigmatic individual. The 29-year-old has spent the past seven years on the books with Spurs following his move from Newcastle United. A big reputation followed, but it took time for the midfielder to really settle into his new surroundings. Early on in his Spurs career, Jenas was a regular starter in the starting XI.

However, as Spurs continued to progress, the player himself didn’t. Possessing the engine to really grab games by the scruff of the neck, Jenas would often look more like a deer in headlights when encountered by the opposition, playing a safe pass rather than a defence splitting one. Unsurprisingly, he was sent out on-loan to Aston Villa last summer.

Yet, the move ended catastrophically early, with the player suffering a ruptured Achilles during his first start for the club. Jenas has regularly stated his intentions to break back into the first-team, but with the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Sandro and Scott Parker all ahead of him in the pecking order, many wouldn’t be shocked to see the former Nottingham Forest ace leave permanently this summer. 

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