With Sandro out injured and worries over the fitness of both Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone Andre Villas-Boas had a decision to make regarding the transfer window; how could they strengthen their fragile looking midfield.
They had already agreed a deal to bring in Schalke 04 midfielder Lewis Holtby on a Bosman transfer in the summer; but with their midfield situation as it was they agreed an earlier conclusion to the deal that would see the German international arrive in January for a fee of around £1.5 million.
It put to an end years of speculation over the most likely destination for the midfielder who had been linked with the Premier League for season after season. The main cause for most of that conjecture was his background.
With an English father who supported Everton it was always going to be likely teams in the Premier League took a close look at his progression.
It all started with a loan spell to Mainz. Deemed to slow by Borussia Monchengladbach as a youngster he went on to star for Alemannia Aachen from 2004 to 2009 before Schalke took him on board.
However that pace issue continued as he got older and he eventually was converted to a more central playmaking role while at the The O’Fives.
But interestingly enough at that time, while being courted by the likes of Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool he openly suggested the Premier League player he considered himself most akin to:
"I'm a guy like Joe Cole."
Of course back then, in 2010, Cole had recently signed for Liverpool in what would prove a highly unsuccessful two-and-a-half year stint at Anfield; but Holtby was not to know that at the time.
Now however the former England international is a part of Tottenham’s bitter rivals West Ham’s first-team squad; where he has impressed since signing a free transfer 18-month-deal at the Old Boleyn.
But is he like Cole?
In some ways; yes. Small, technically gifted and not exactly blistering with pace he does share some similarities with the former starlet. He may not have the bag of tricks that Cole possesses but he certainly has a better range of passing as well as a much more efficient engine in the tank. A lack of first-team football in recent years has definitely taken its toll on the stamina of the 31-year-old Londoner.
As far as Spurs fans are concerned though if Holtby can go on to have nearly as god a career in the Premier League as Cole they will have an excellent talent on their hands for years to come.
image: © xtranews