Inside Lane: Sorry Andre, but we need to go shopping
Tottenham blogger Declan Olley reveals his wish-list for the January transfer window.
Andre Villas-Boas has stated that he doesn’t expect to be particularly active in January’s transfer market, but I hope this is all part of the cloak-and-dagger act because Spurs need signings.
The priority signing, however, all depends on how Villas-Boas sees the tactical future for Spurs: 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1?
If it’s the former, then a striker must be top of the wish-list. With Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor as the club’s only two forwards, an injury or a serious loss of form to either leaves Villas-Boas short up front.
Long-term target Fernando Llorente is an option, especially with his well-publicised contract situation at Athletic Bilbao.
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But if the club are searching for a younger prospect then St. Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fits the bill – his clinical finishing and blistering pace complement the counter-attacking game which Villas-Boas has sought away from home.
If it’s to be 4-2-3-1, though, then a trequartista (No10) is required. Selling Rafael van der Vaart – Spurs’ man in the hole for the last two seasons - in the summer was always going to be risky, but that risk would have been lessened if a genuine replacement had been brought in.
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Neither Clint Dempsey nor Gylfi Sigurdsson have filled the Dutchman’s boots and, although Spurs thumped a poor Villa side yesterday, it was all too evident on Saturday how much we were lacking a creative player to unlock Stoke’s stubborn defence.
A move for Willian would be a smart one, but I fear that ship has already sailed. Jan Vertonghen has touted his former Ajax teammate Christian Eriksen and there is the Russian Alan Dzagoev and Malaga’s Isco to consider
There have also been rumours about Wesley Sneijder, who is out of favour at Inter Milan, and a loan deal would be a sensational coup – but his agent and Andre Villas-Boas have both poured cold water on the speculation in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, two other weaknesses which need improving, regardless of the formation, are in central midfield and on the flanks.
When Mousa Dembele was injured, Spurs struggled to control the midfield and it had a detrimental impact on results.
I really hope the club goes back in for Joao Moutinho; the Porto man has been in superb form this season and he has a strong relationship with Villas-Boas. An alternative to the Portuguese playmaker could be Lazio’s Hernanes.
Wingers are integral to Spurs’ style and when Gareth Bale or Aaron Lennon are missing the team appears to lose confidence – take the home defeat to Chelsea this season, for example.
I think the club needs to either purchase a young winger or give Andros Townsend a proper chance.
Ultimately I hope there is more ‘dagger’ and less ‘cloak’ in the upcoming window, because last year under Redknapp there was much more of the latter – and it damaged Spurs’ season.
Follow me on Twitter @declanolley