If Seinfeld was famously the show about nothing, then Spurs are the Seinfeld of football, at least for now.
In the past I’ve been relieved and grateful when things have gone quiet. I cherish rare moments of peace and quiet to punctuate the bedlam of the season. No scandals or internecine arguments, the media looking elsewhere, not to mention winning football matches. It’s the welcome tedium of progress. Heads down and just getting on with business.
But now, nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. I’m bored now. There’s been some football. We appear to have won a trophy. I can tell you as much as anyone about what it means for our prospects in the season to come, and I haven’t watched a single second. The Unfit Getting Fitter Challenge.
Transfers? All gone quiet. The media have exhausted themselves with the Modric story: even their creativity can’t do any more with ‘Chelsea might buy Luka’. Uncle Harry’s Long Arm of Comfort has reached out and come to rest gently but firmly around Luka’s shoulders. Meet our new captain (Southern hemisphere only).
Nobody out as yet. That queue around the ground is for City tickets, rather than the expected rush of bidders for our available squad players. Until the prognosis on Sandro’s injury is clearer or another midfielder has put pen to paper, it’s unlikely that Jenas or Palacios will go. Dos Santos is in demand, so probably only a matter of time, while the only decision Levy has to make on Hutton and Keane is how big a loss he’s prepared to accept. No one in either, certainly not the long awaited and much needed striker or three.
Harry, now surely there’s something on Harry. But no, the tax case has been postponed and the wheeler-dealing that he doesn’t do oh no not him never not me has ground to a halt. Excuse me: twiddling thumbs whilst brushing away the tumbleweed blowing across the blog is tricky stuff, you know.
It’s hard to tell if no news is good news. Certainly it is as far as the Modric saga is concerned, with Levy remaining true to his word and rumours that Chelsea are signing an alternative target. I fear however that SSN will on deadline day have a helicopter poised over the Lodge until it’s over, which is variously 5pm, midnight or three weeks the following Tuesday if the League’s fax machine runs out of paper.
I’m also pleased that there has not been a mass exodus. I’m in the minority as many Spurs fans would personally transport Jenas and Bentley to the destination of their choice, or failing that a destination not of their choice. Anywhere but N17, in fact, but taking the first offer is reckless. I have a suspicion JJ will still be with us come September but if there’s late activity for the others, it’s good business by Levy to hang on. The traditional end of window panic could push the price up and I don’t believe we have to sell before we can buy. Granted we have to keep the squad size within the requisite 25 and sales will generate some cash but the big money is already in place. Also, highly significantly, there’s been little or no discussion about Sandro, Bale or VDV leaving. If keeping this squad together for another season is the overriding priority, then silence is a beautiful sound.
The biggest worry is no striker. This isn’t unexpected. As I have said many times now, the men we want are in demand and our offer, in terms of both fee and salary, will not be the only one on the table. Frustrating for us, look at it from their perspective: they will hang on for the best offer, given that we can’t give them CL football. Aguero to City is the classic example. By all accounts we made a generous albeit late bid in January and were still interested this summer, but as soon as he has a sniff of City’s wealth plus the Champions League, it’s natural he’ll go there. In cases like this, it’s not a question of our lack of ambition, simply that a few teams can offer a better package to in-demand players.
I’m still reassured that we are working hard on this. Frankly, I have no hard evidence but Levy has learned from previous windows and the potential vistas opened up by the CL run, while Redknapp cannot be blind to the deficiencies of our frontmen or overestimate the value of big man/little man up front as he did this time last year. Complacency is no longer an option.
Late deals could come in the form of loans. Adebayor for instance: we can’t (and shouldn’t) match his salary but City will be forced to reassess the options if they don’t get a better offer. Us paying half is better than they having to pay the lot. Also, the transfer market as a whole hasn’t opened up yet, with comparatively little activity, Sunderland and Liverpool apart. The time to worry is when players we want who are not courted by the top four go elsewhere. The suggestion that we didn’t go hard for Suarez because the scouts thought he wasn’t right for us is an error that must not be repeated.
One positive is the continued investment in players for the future. Another often repeated refrain in these pages is the need to ensure a steady flow of young players able to challenge for the first team in the years to come and that this development should not be ignored in favour of the big signings. Souleymane Coulibaly looks like a cracking young striker, whilst Caulker’s season long loan at Swansea could be the shrewdest piece of business we do all season. He looks a fine prospect and a year in the Prem could be the making of him. Witness Walker’s development, from loanee to international. Similarly, Mason, Naughton, Khumalo (not so young) and others have a better chance of making it if loaned out than if they were stuck at the Lodge.
Or how about this as the most curious signing of the season. I’m happy to be corrected as I haven’t checked this, but I understand Perry Alnwick has been given another contract. Forgive me, but what exactly does he do? Even on loan in the lower leagues, he’s been there as cover and hasn’t played. Surely we can do better for the coveted 4th choice keeper spot.
Overall it’s not such a bad picture. However, time is moving on. Every day is one less day new arrivals will have to settle into a team that must get off to a solid start and one more day of growing anxiety that the strikers don’t in fact exist. The next piece might have a bit more edge to it. However, this is still the silly season. As I write, there’s a rumour on twitter from a Chelsea fan that Modric is at the Spurs training ground, dressed rather than in training gear, and shaking hands. And they say Tottenham On My Mind doesn’t carry the latest gossip.