The Fine Line

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Article by e-Spurs Writer ginolasleftfoot (UK)

The appointment of Franco Baldini appeared to herald a wave of optimism around the Spurs camp that despite the signing of Paulinho now seems to have taken a downward turn. The constant link to the likes of David Villa, Leandro Damiao and Alvero Negredo have failed to materialise in any concrete form with Villa recently citing Athletico’s interest and their European campaign against Europe’s elite as the reason for his change of heart regarding a move to the Premiership. Within Villa’s statement lay the problem at hand for Tottenham.

It is their lack of Champions League football, which is proving to be the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge and such is the prestige awarded to Europe’s elite event, that it is now a prerequisite for clubs to be able to provide this for prospective signings. The exception to the rule being those clubs who have hitched up their skirts for a one-night romance with Mr. Mysterious Moneybags, pockets stuffed full of cash, moral queries and inevitable heartache.

Coming up short on either of these factors means scrabbling around beneath the banqueted table laden with the ripest of fruits (Cavani would be a tender peach) on offer to its esteemed guests. Spurs, much to our frustration are currently on all fours, scrabbling around the chair leg for scraps. Perhaps Paulinho was a tender chicken leg absent-mindedly swept from the table by accident. Either that or Levy’s nimble fingers pilfered it from an unsuspecting plate in a moment of utter daring.

The addition of Nacier Chadli seemingly went unnoticed by other clubs, and it seems that there is a collective need to keep potential acquisitions firmly under wraps to avoid the immediate inflation of the players value which appears to happen regularly once a certain caliber of clubs show an interest. Chadli should be noted for two standout goals against Spurs during their last hurrah on the main stage and hopes are for him to provide healthy competition for the already established attacking players.

The need for Spurs to continue to replenish it’s attacking options in time for the start of the 2013/2014 season has to be the foremost objective for Levy, Baldini and Villas Boas. Retaining Gareth Bale’s services for at least one more season is of equal weight but is a laurel that should not be rested upon, for that achievement alone will not deliver Tottenham to the next level. Top priority is a forward who can contribute the hallowed ’20 goal mark’ on a long-term level and it appeared Spurs had David Villa firmly in their grips only for the lure of Champions league football to cast a lusty glance his way and off he trotted to parade as Athletico’s next in line of awesome forwards. Yes, awesome. Torres, Aguero, Forlan, Falcao and now Villa.

Just for a moment, digress and imagine you’ve been an Athletico fan all your life and seeing those players grace your home pitch each week. Awesome.

The pool of talent available to the clubs in Tottenham’s situation is diminishing with the turn of each season, as the gulf between those who regularly qualify for the Champions League and those who do not escalates at an alarming rate. It has become a self perpetuating cycle of profit for the clubs involved in regular CL competition, also factored into this, is the vast internal bank roll these clubs have at their disposal (see Mr. M.M earlier for one possible reason).

Casting aside the financial issues, players long to compete in the Champions League on a level now reaching that of World Cup participation. The prestige of competing against clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on a yearly basis is the dream for the global footballer. European football’s beauty lies in its interwoven layers of nationalities, origin, ethnicity and culture that over time have exalted footballers from all reaches of the world to legendary status through its premier club competition.

Despite Tottenham being slapped with a misdemeanour for gross negligence during the January transfer window and forced to perform community service across the whole of Europe next season, there remains a gaping hole in the forward line up which has not yet been plugged. The paltry sum of 16 goals contributed by Defoe and Adebayor is undoubtedly a factor in missing out on Champions League competition and must be addressed before the start of the season.

So where are the signings?

Whereas several Premiership clubs (outside the top four) have taken full advantage of the TV rights windfall with confident forays into the transfer market, Spurs are yet to follow suit. Wilfried Bony has an impressive CV with the stand out statistic of 31 goals in 30 games for Vitesse Arnhem and 5 in his last 4 outings for the Ivory Coast. At 24 years old with comparisons to Didier Drogba echoing in the midst, surely he would have been worth consideration by Tottenham; instead Swansea acquired his services for £12 million. One player who was discounted by Spurs earlier in July was Jackson Martinez, perhaps due to his buy-out clause. This is the calibre of player that would surely elevate Tottenham to a higher standard but without the lure of Champions League football, it would mean having to break too many self-imposed salary and transfer constraints to secure these types of signings.

History is strewn with success stories that we long to be our own and a glance at the ease Daniel Sturridge has excelled at Liverpool again begs the question, what are Tottenham looking for? Speculation and conjecture is the closest we can get to the inner machinations of Levy and Co’s transfer policy but I for one would love to know what the blueprint looks like.

All those in agreement say YARRRRRRR!!!!! (Best pirate voices now.)

Over and out.

Follow @ginolasleftfoot

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