Even a pessimistic Spurs fans might have predicted that the fixtures over the festive period - away to Newcastle, home to Fulham and away to West Bromwich Albion - would have yielded at least five points. Newcastle have, after all, been in the lower reaches of the table all season, Fulham are much stronger at Craven Cottage, and West Brom were - and are - rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. Spurs contrived, however, to take a single point from these three games, scoring just once in the process. Entering the new year, they remain outside the relegation zone only by virtue of goal difference.
So what can be learned from these three performances, each one worse than the one preceding it? Most obviously, Spurs need a striker. Darren Bent is now back to displaying the "form" he showed under Juande Ramos, Pavlyuchenko has disappointed, and Campbell looks like a Championship player. West Ham have already turned down a bid for Craig Bellamy, whom Harry Redknapp describes as "a feisty little character" - a euphemistic description indeed for a player who has gone through seven clubs in eight years. Thankfully Bellamy scored twice on Boxing Day, which will no doubt increase the price on his head and thus price Spurs out of a deal. At least let's hope so. Man. City now looks a more realistic destination for Bellamy, assuming he can bear to tear himself away from his equally "feisty" and no less dislikeable teammates, Bower and Dyer.
Andrei Arshavin continues to be linked with the club, but it would appear that he may be joining that other North London outfit. Spurs old-boy Jermain Defoe is rumored to be in the plans of Martin O'Neill at Aston Villa. Given the current league position, it may well prove difficult for Redknapp to tempt players of this calibre in any case. Yet the need remains, and not for a "fourth" striker but for one who can slot straight into the starting line-up.
Of all the reputed transfer targets, the most long-stranding is undoubtedly Stewart Downing. Spurs are balking at Middlesbrough's valuation but Redknapp remains keen, having stated that a left-sided midfielder is his second highest priority. Despite having a squad crammed with midfield players, Spurs do need another one - but not Downing. The team is crying out for someone with passion and leadership, who is willing to work and run all day in support of Modric and Lennon. That job description certainly doesn't fit the likes of Jenas or Bentley. (Leaving aside issues of form, Bentley's commitment to the cause in recent weeks has been, quite frankly, disgraceful.)
Such a player may well, however, be available in the transfer window. In fact, Harry Redknapp once signed him from non-league football while in charge at West Ham, and describes him - in marked contrast to Bellamy - as follows:
"He's big around the dressing room - a real good character and everyone who talks to him likes him"
If Fulham's Jimmy Bullard would be interested in teaming up once again with the manager who gave him his first big break in football, it would certainly increase the odds for a happy new year at White Hart Lane.
||Post your comment