"If Tottenham say that Robbie Keane and David Bentley are available then you are always interested in quality players. If they are, then I think we will be one of many, many clubs in the Premier League who would be interested."
A couple of days after making that statement, Sam Allardyce was shown the door at Blackburn Rovers. Presumably the two events were not connected, but you never know. It would be a brave or more likely a foolhardy man who would risk his limited transfer budget on David Bentley.
The January transfer window does beckon, however, and Daniel Levy has gone out of his way to assure the fans that Gareth Bale's future will be at White Hart Lane. Speaking at the club's AGM, the Spurs chairman went on to say that "We shall look to rationalize ... Overall, we do not anticipate a busy transfer window." That outlook will no doubt come as something of a disappointment to the fans, who watched their team take the lead impressively against Chelsea at the weekend but then wilt in the face of long periods of possession by the visitors. Spurs finished the game with Keane and Crouch on the field, with that pairing having replaced Defoe and Pavlyuchenko who between them had crafted the opening goal. Perhaps they had both begun to tire but Defoe's withdrawal in particular seemed like a strange decision on the part of Harry Redknapp. If Crouch was brought on to help combat the aerial threat of Chelsea's own substitute, Didier Drogba, one additional consequence was that any cutting edge evaporated. Crouch cannot be faulted for a lack of effort but one league goal all season tells its own story.
Chelsea are on their own poor run in the league, their worst for a decade, but a draw against them was hardly a terrible result. A point for each team keeps Spurs in touch - just about - with the top four. As an added advantage, the Premier League fixtures over the holiday season include Chelsea vs. Man. Utd., Arsenal vs. Chelsea, and Arsenal vs. Man City. While these clubs are engaged in taking points off each other, during the same period Spurs will face five sides - Blackpool, Villa, Newcastle, Fulham and Everton - who lie below them in the table. It would not be unrealistic to suggest that Spurs should be aiming to take at least eleven points from the possible fifteen on offer, especially given that the pressures of the Champions League are temporarily removed and important players may be returning from injury. Chief among these is van der Vaart, who offers guile and goals, as well the opportunity for the manager to vary the way the team sets up. By the time Spurs face Man. Utd - no doubt the league leaders - in mid-January, the prospects for a top four finish should be more apparent.