A busy summer ensured Tottenham Hotspur stayed competitive in the race for the Champions League despite the departure and retirement of key men like Luka Modric, Ledley King and Rafael van der Vaart. Will they build on that with plenty of signings in January?
Where the team needs to strengthen
Despite their decent form in the league Spurs have been short of goals all season, and they need to address this by signing a striker, a creative midfielder, or even both. The blow of missing out on Joao Moutinho has been softened by the impact Dembele has made, but you’d expect Spurs to still be in the market for a midfielder. They could also use full back cover, particularly at left back.
Spurs have already won the race to sign the German international midfielder Lewis Holtby from Schalke on a pre-contract for a free move in the summer. Ezekiel Fryers was another uncharacteristically early window signing from Spurs, with the summer target moving from Standard Liege after Spurs failed to agree a deal with Manchester United in the summer. Wesley Sneijder emerged over the Christmas period as a possible signing for Spurs, but wage demands might keep him out of their reach unless there is a lack of interest from the financial big-hitters in the league. Joao Moutinho came close to joining the club in the summer, and Villas-Boas might be keen to try for him again, but a January move seems unlikely. Midfield targets that might be more achievable are Christian Eriksen of Ajax, and Miralem Pjanic of Roma. With regards to strikers, Fernando Llorente might be available, but could choose to wait until the summer when he will have his pick of clubs as a free transfer. Loic Remy could make his much vaunted move to the Premier League this January, and Spurs would reportedly be competing with at least Newcastle and QPR for his services.
Rumours have gathered pace about a potential bid from Chelsea for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but little can be said about how Spurs would respond until he is back to full fitness. With Lloris installed as first choice keeper, and Friedel signing a new deal recently, you’d expect that Carlo Cudicini and Gomes would both be leaving in January, with the former already agreeing a move to LA Galaxy and the latter perhaps on the way back to Brazil. Spurs might also look to loan out Jake Livermore to gain experience in the Premier League. Gareth Bale will no doubt be linked with moves to the giants of European football, but will not be sold in January. David Bentley will certainly be allowed to leave if a suitor can be found, but Spurs’ record signing has hardly set the world alight in his loan spell in Russia. Finally Michael Dawson looks more secure at the club than he did in the summer, but there will be plenty of teams looking to secure his services if Spurs do consider selling their captain.
In theory Spurs still have at least the money available that was due to be spent on Moutinho, and with the club desperate to regain Champions League football, Villas-Boas should have as much as £25 million for new signings.
After the disastrous January window last year, you’d think Spurs will have learned their lesson and that at least one high profile player will be signed alongside Holtby and Fryers, most likely another creative midfielder. Other than that, Spurs will be pleased to have secured Fryers and Holtby so early in January, and might be relatively quiet in the market for much of the rest of January, though a last minute bid for someone unexpected cannot be ruled out with Daniel Levy.