Whether they get into the Champions League places this season or not, the coming summer will be a key test of Tottenham Hotspur’s ambitions in the transfer market. While much of the focus will be on signing one or two new strikers, the left back position is also a concern with Benoit Assou-Ekotto likely to leave White Hart Lane.
Even when fit this season Andre Villas-Boas has shied away from using Assou-Ekotto, preferring to move Jan Vertonghen across or play Kyle Naughton in the position. Both Naughton and Vertonghen are clearly not a long term solution for the role, and Spurs have to decide whether to sign a new player or promote from within their squad.
The latest speculation suggest that if Spurs qualify for the Champions League, they will pursue Fabio Coentrao, and if they finish outside the top four then Danny Rose will be given a chance after a solid season on loan at Sunderland. Zeki Fryers was also signed recently, but will probably need at least another season in the under-21's before being ready for senior football.
The difference between the two players demonstrates the importance of Champions League football starkly, with Coentrao one of the most highly rated attacking full backs in Europe.
If Spurs do make a serious attempt to sign the Portuguese player, it would be a real demonstration of their ambition, with Coentrao likely to cost around £15million. Having his compatriot Andre Villas-Boas at the helm might give Spurs an advantage, as could their mysterious relationship with Real Madrid, but they will clearly need to have secured a Champions League place to try and tempt Coentrao to White Hart Lane.
Another important factor will be what other sides are interested if Coentrao is available. Ashley Cole’s new deal at Chelsea should make it unlikely they will bid, but Manchester City have also been linked with Coentrao in the past. Even if Spurs do claim a Champions League place, it will very difficult for them to compete with City in the transfer market this summer.
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