At the start of January it seemed clear what the Tottenham Hotspur squad required, and some frustrating results in January confirmed that a new striker should be brought in, but once again the window shut without the necessary business being done.
It had all started so well. In the first week of January Spurs confirmed the signing of the promising left back Ezekiel Fryers, and secured Lewis Holtby on a pre-contract before a summer move. The first of those deals led to Daniel Levy once again being lauded as a master of negotiation, as he seemed to outwit Manchester United to knock a few million off the fee for the player, but Spurs fans might have a different view of their chairman today.
In the end the only first team addition was the £1.5 million capture of Holtby, whose move was brought forward, and Spurs now face a second half of the season where they will rely on half-crocked and out of form players in some key positions.
In midfield, Sandro' injury has led to Parker coming in, with the England man expected to improve on his disastrous performance against Norwich once he settles into the side. However Parker and Dembele are both significant injury risks, and if Spurs end up with Livermore and/or Huddlestone playing regularly, they will struggle to make the top 4.
But it is up front where the problems truly are, with Adebayor in poor form and absent for the moment on international duty, and Jermain Defoe completely off the pace as he struggles with injections to get him on the pitch.
The last minute bid for Leandro Damiao was either a PR stunt, or a spectacularly bad bid of negotiating. If Levy really wanted to sign Damiao, the deal needed to be worked on from far earlier in the window, with third party and other complications making it impossible to conclude in a day. The move smacks very much of the last minute move for Joao Moutinho in the summer which also failed. They seems like gestures that will indicate to Spurs fans that the club are trying for the key signings needed, but if they really were, then why are they waiting until the last few hours of the window?
If Damiao was viewed as too expensive there were plenty of other options that could have made a difference. Alvaro Negredo, Wilfried Bony and Lisandro Lopez spring to mind, all strikers in a more modest bracket that could have been excellent signings in the quest for Champions League football. Rumours in the press suggest that Levy and Spurs tried for plenty of players, and the question is now whether he has started to alienate clubs with his hard headed negotiating style.
Spurs have a fine squad and manager, but this makes it even more frustrating as in a fairly weak race for Champions League places, and one or two more additions would have given Andre Villas-Boas's side the edge. Lewis Holtby is an excellent player, and could be crucial in the second half of the season and for many years to come, but right now Spurs look short, and the reasons for why they have been left that way are unclear to the fans.
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