Monday, 21 May 2012

Replacing the Irreplaceable

Kwadwo Asamoah. Who? That was my first question too. Never heard of him. Ghanaian apparently. Box-to-box midfielder in the Essien mould. Or should that be Jenas?

Asamoah is the latest on a long list to be linked with Tottenham and we are in good company, with Manchester United and Juventus also touted as admirers.

I'll be honest, I know nothing about him, and with the midfield talent we have at the club already (including Jenas?), I doubt this deal will happen. Unless there is a sudden raft of departures from our engine room of course, which I hope doesn't happen.

To me our midfield, the centre anyway, doesn't need touching. Modric, Sandro, Parker, Livermore and the returning Huddlestone leave us very strong with a lot of options. Even Kranjcar, in my eyes anyway, can do a job in there. Possibly in the Europa League alongside Livermore or Sandro doing the donkey work. Then there's Jenas. What will become of the man once seen as one of England's future stars? Jordan Henderson has a bit of the Jenas' about him. A club like Sunderland, or a return to Villa is the best JJ is likely to hope for. But we could easily forget how often he featured in our Champions League run in 10/11. He could be a favourite of Harry's, but I doubt he'll be a Tottenham player come September (though most likely he will be until 23:59 August 31st).

Unless of course Luka Modric is desperate to leave again. The more I go over the situation in my head, the more likely it appears. My hope, like most people have been saying today, is that he goes abroad. We're led to believe Daniel Levy rejected offers from Chelsea last summer of up to £40 million for our midfield maestro. Similar offers from Europe are much more likely to tempt Mr Levy into selling. If he's not happy, then I would let him go. He was superb at times last season, but in other games the desire and creativity we are used to seeing from him was lacking.

Who could replace him? One of the best midfielders in Europe. Long gone are the days of him playing on the left wing (mostly) and being told he's not big enough for the Premier League. He's grown into a world class midfielder, can we really criticise him for wanting to play in the Champions League? As I've said in a previous post, a bit more commitment from him and a few others could have got us an extra couple of points and I wouldn't need to consider replacing him.

In my eyes, there aren't many players capable of filling his boots, even fewer within our price range. One man the stands out for me, and for my girlfriends Newcastle supporting father I'm sure, is Yohan Cabaye.

The Frenchman took a huge gamble leaving French champions Lille last summer to join a Premier League team expected to accomplish little this season. But he was an entegral cog in Alan Pardews well oiled machine and was a creative force in midfield alongside Tiote, the destroyer.

Cabaye has similar vision and skill about him to Modric. He can hit the ball sweetly from a set piece, corners and free kicks (see his goal vs Man. Utd), something we lack and chips in with the odd goal. His debut season couldn't have gone much better and I'm sure he has earned more than a few admirers on the back of his impressive performances.

He may not be at the same level of Modric at the minute, but he's a mainstay in the French national team midfield already, and will surely only go from strength to strength the longer he plays in the PL. He's another example of how fine a scouting system they have up at Newcastle and how they've bought serious quality for a minimalistic fee, believed to be around £4.3 million.

This small, by modern standards, fee, could see him be available for a price not out of our range, and not inflated to ridiculous proportions. Mike Ashley, Levy's Newcastle counterpart, is a business man, and he's shown before he's willing to sell if the price is right. Spurs haven't spent an awful lot in the last couple of seasons, Sandro, van der Vaart and Parker our only purchases of note that commanded a substantial fee, so you would hope the money is there to do some business. Hopefully, some early business.

In what is a pure guess, I think Cabaye could be available for somewhere in the region of £10-14 million. But a decent showing at Euro 2012 could see his stock soar, so if he's a target, and Luka wants out, lets get it done.

Alternatively, should Cabaye not be in our sights, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who spent the second half of this season on loan at Swansea, would be a fine acquisition too. Again he offers a threat from set pieces and is lethal from long range as many PL teams fell victim to his shooting ability.

Parent club Hoffenhein are believed to be looking for a hefty fee, after his fine five month spell in Wales earned him attention from Europe's bigger clubs.

I will be looking at possible targets for the wings in the near future, not that I think Bale will leave. But I think we could definitely do with some competition for right and left, especially with Steven Pienaar looking more and more likely never to return to Spurs.

It is better to fail aiming high than succeeding aiming low. And we at Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory” Bill Nicholson.

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