Carlo Cudicini became the first player to leave White Hart Lane as the January 2013 transfer window opened. The Italian arrived at White Hart Lane when Tottenham’s Premier League existence was in question and departs with us settled nicely in third place. The change in fortune at Tottenham can not be pinned on his signature, but his departure is a clear example of where Andre Villas-Boas wants to take us.
The former Porto manager is building, although slightly slower than he would have liked, a youthful and flexible squad, two categories due to his age and motor bike crashes, Cudicini doesn’t fit into.
Andre Villas-Boas has a plan but before he can or be allowed to implement it, a few others must part company with Tottenham.
Last summer saw a mass exodus at Spurs. The White Hart Lane club finally severed ties with some of Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp’s least successful purchases. This winter will hopefully see the rest cut adrift with the loan deals of David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas’s made permanent and home a finally found for Heurelho Gomes.
One player who was meant to leave in August but survived the early season cull is Tom Huddlestone. It is unlikely he will be as successful this time after failing spectacularly to take advantage of the early season midfield void at White Hart Lane.
The Hudd’s inability to use the prolonged absence of Scott Parker, the hip injury to Mousa Dembele and Jake Livermore’s inadequacies, will ultimately cost him his status of being a Tottenham Hotspur player.
The former Derby County and England capped midfielder has failed to come close to the form that helped propel Spurs into their one and only Champions League campaign. Gifted with technique, physical presence and the Hoddlesque ability to pick a pass from whatever distance Huddlestone has become a giant shell of what he once was.
I have always been a supporter of his, but this season his arrival on to the pitch has generally seen a down turn in Spurs’ fortune. The Norwich game and Everton game are two prime examples. In both, Spurs had battled to find themselves in the lead. It wasn’t the swashbuckling dynamic performance that we love to see, but a hard fought battle to take the lead, in both games Hudd was introduced. In both games three points were squandered.
Tottenham’s failure to claim in a win both games can not be pinned entirely on his giant frame alone, but his low intensity game, isn’t what AVB is looking for.
Compare Hudd’s cameos to those of Scott Parker? Does anything else need to be said? The time of Huddlestone is over; if he is ever to reclaim the 2009/2010 swagger it will have to be elsewhere.
Regarding incoming transfers we are enjoying relative peace and New Year serenity. The transfers of Daniel Sturridge, Demba Ba and Joe Cole have passed by without us even getting a mention. Spurs are a club quietly going about its business. We have avoided being linked to players who have been flops at a Big Club or sporting a ticking time bomb of a knee injury.
The man Daniel Levy entrusted to take us to the next level in football terms, has added a touch a class to Tottenham on and off the field.
There have been murmurings of Willian and Leandro Damaio, but these are stories that have been doing the rounds for 12-18 months, the truth is that there is no gossip and the ITK’s are little more than hormone ravaged teens taking a break from sitting on their left then right hand.
What we need is clear, but should AVB continue to improve his squad by squeezing that extra percent out of Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Kyle Naughton, perhaps we can postpone our marquee signing until the summer?
Spurs haven’t torn the Premier League to shreds with attacking brilliance, nor have they grinded their way to third place. We haven’t seen spectacular 7-3, 5-3 or 5-2 victories and then combined them with results that cause supporters to demand changes at all levels of the club/company/business.
It’s a measure of new Tottenham’s approach to football, both on and off the pitch that we sit in third place above Chelsea and apparently a breath-taking Everton, without even having broken sweat.
There is more to come from Spurs and obviously players to come in, but for now I would be happy with shifting another keeper and a midfielder or two, progression in the FA Cup and an away win at QPR.
A happy and prosperous New Year to you all.
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