A new keeper should be high up on the ‘to do’ list for AVB as Brad Friedel is no spring chicken. Perhaps not as alarmingly necessary as a striker or 2, the goalkeeping situation is nevertheless not a very strong one, long-term speaking.
Friedel is a relative newcomer to The Lane but he has proven himself to still have much more about him then the recent crop of occupants of the number 1 shirt, and although his reflexes are diminishing on a daily basis, he is still considered to be by far the most consistent and reliable member of the current custodians.
Gomes and Cudicini are of course the other senior keepers at the club and neither of them have particularly covered themselves in glory or given any reason to think that they are a better choice than Friedel. With Cudicini also growing long in the tooth and Gomes prone to calamitous errors, a successor to the throne is high up on the list of requirements for the new Spurs boss.
23 year old David Button is also on Spurs books, but has registered just 1 (substitute) 1st team appearance to date. He has spent most of his young career on loan at various clubs, most recently Barnsley, and is highly regarded by Tottenham’s coaching staff. But for his development to continue in the right direction, a loan to a bigger club in the higher echelons of the Championship would probably be the ideal way for Button to spend the forthcoming season.
Many possible senior replacements for Friedel have been mentioned in the press in the last few weeks but so far no arrivals are forthcoming. Three names have featured most prominently in these reports – Julio Cesar, Hugo Lloris, and most recently Dutch international No 1 Maarten Stekelenberg. Young Team GB goalkeeper Jack Butland has also been extensively linked with a move to White Hart Lane.
Cesar has enjoyed an indifferent spell at current club Inter Milan, and whilst being lauded as an exceptional stopper at various points in his career, the Brazilian No.1 has been told he can leave the San Siro. 33 in September, Cesar does not meet all the necessary criteria for a long term solution and would most likely be regarded as a disappointing choice by the majority of Tottenham’s fans as his career does seem to have nosedived in recent times. The fee to land Cesar, however, is likely to be considerably lower than the next candidate…
Lloris, captain of France and currently plying his trade in his home country with Lyon, is 25 and therefore much more likely to be seen as a player that can fill the void for many a year to come. He has been named in the Ligue 1 team of the season 3 times, has 37 international caps and is valued at around £16m by his club. It is rumoured that Spurs have already been rebuffed with an offer of £12m and Lyon seem unlikely to budge so the Spurs hierarchy must quickly decide if he is worth the additional outlay…I say quickly as other clubs including Woolwich have also been linked. Spurs have already lost out on other targets such as Oscar (to Chelsea) so will not want to make this into an unwanted trend, although without the appeal of Champions League football it won’t be easy. Lloris would probably be the ideal choice but at what cost?
Cesar has enjoyed an indifferent spell at current club Inter Milan, and whilst being lauded as an exceptional stopper at various points in his career, the Brazilian No.1 has been told he can leave the San Siro.
Stekelenberg (Roma) is another international keeper that’s been linked – most of his playing career has been at Ajax in his native Holland where he was a team mate of recently purchased ex-captain Jan Vertonghen, until he moved to Italy for a reported £5m. Twice Ajax’s player of the year and once touted as Van Der Sar’s likely successor at OT, the 29 year old would be seen as a sound choice although there are some doubters around that have pointed to the Euro 2012 clash with Germany where the ‘exceptional’ Mario Gomes strike has actually been highlighted as a shot that would have been saved by the world’s most accomplished players so maybe he isn’t as giant a presence as Tottenham need. The strong defensive bond a keeper makes with his centre backs could be the clincher for AVB and Levy though, as this was prevalent with the aforementioned Vertonghen, and having failed to establish himself at Roma he could be available at a very attractive price.
Team GB had (occasionally) looked as if they may progress further in the Olympics than the QF’s, most notably down to some impressive performances from Bellamy, Cleverley, Tottenham’s own Steven Caulker but also young Jack Butland. Currently on the books of Birmingham, 20 year old Butland has looked very accomplished and confident and reminds some of a young(er) Joe Hart. He has shown great potential and is now being talked about as a strong contender for further England honours having represented his country at many levels. Although it is unlikely that he will manage to wrestle the shirt away from Hart, many see him as a fast developing, solid understudy. A price of £7m has been stated in the press at various times and this would be a superb bit of business if he did indeed realise his potential.
With little time for a new arrival to settle in before the start of the new Premiership season, a decision will need to be made sooner rather than later. Whether or not the choice will be made to continue with Friedel for another season remains to be seen, but the long term future of his replacement must be addressed way before this time next season otherwise the club could find themselves being held to ransom as selling clubs realise Tottenham have intensified the problem through a lack of earlier action.