Who, When and Why? (The Outs)
Transfer windows like this one are all the more challenging for players, managers, owners and of course fans.
The reason why there is that extra confusion in my mind and no doubt many of yours is that when we have a new(ish) manager who is perhaps still looking to impart his ideas on the players and hope he has already proved his own ability to persuade the owner to part with enough money and also trust his judgment over others who perhaps have a closer and longer relationship. We also have to consider the extra cost and upheaval that comes with making any, let alone many changes halfway through a season, so there is always a thinking that unless it ain't broke, don't try to fix it or unless it is for an absolute steal, don't buy it.
Of course we probably know where we would like to add quality, and I hope that AVB and his team already have a definite plan in place for who is and isn't part of his plans and also where he needs to add quality or depth. You do wonder whether there are players at the club who feel they are surplus, whilst I imagine a few already are very well aware that they are not in the managers plans and will either me sold or loaned at the best, if not first opportunity. Others will of course be loaned out either because it is a last chance to prove their worth to to simply gain experience, hopefully in as positive a way as Danny Rose is doing at Sunderland.
Question is who is potentially available and who might be sacrificed to get in quick money or if we can bring in other players? You assume that Jenas, Bentley and Gomes are already out of AVB's thinking and deals are already in the pipeline. Whether JJ will remain at Notts Forest remains up for debate. He still struggles with injury, but their fans rate and like him on the rare occasions he plays, and though they have surprisingly replaced Shaun O'Driscoll, who was apparently initially sceptical about bringing in Jenas, he has been replaced by Alex McLeish, who signed the player on loan for Villa last season, so despite him missing nearly all of that time due to snapping his Achilles, he clearly felt he was a good player.
Bentley is out of contract in the summer, therefore you feel that Spurs would accept any early deal, but equally you feel that Bentley may well prefer to bide his time and take a free transfer if he could get it and pocket the extra cash that may be available in the summer. a good and impressive domestic loan in between seems the compromise. Apparently Wigan are interested and I actually feel this could be a decent move. As for Gomes, he is already back in Brazil, which has prompted the suggestion that he is lined up for a move. Rumours that he could be a makeweight in a deal to sign Leandro Damiao from Internacional, may or may not have legs, but for Levy just getting Gomes and others off the payroll, will be a positive. If we generously accept that Bentley, JJ, Gomes and the already departed Cudicini earned an average of 40 grand a week, thats £8 million off of the wage bill.
Looking at those who are actively in the current squad, you still have to question the long term future of Michael Dawson, simply because AVB was prepared to sell him in the summer. Has his recent form coupled with attitude and effort on the training ground altered his thinking? Dawson is a strong and solid stopper type of defender and one that appears well liked and respected in the dressing room, but in terms of his being picked against the physical teams such as Stoke, could we honestly say that a fit Younes Kaboul wouldn't offer the same qualities of strength, but also add footballing qualities and greater pace to what Daws has? It did cross my mind yesterday that William Gallas will be next out the door. Perhaps he was merely rested or carrying a slight knock, however his not even being on the bench hinted to me that he is on his way and perhaps Harry has already lined him up as a cheap or free addition to QPR?
In midfield, You do feel that Tom Huddlestone is a player that simply doesn't have a future at WHL. Personally I like him, but he still hasn't ironed out certain failings to his game and it is apparent that he will never have that speed or mobility to operate in a midfield two, especially when an opposition play three, and perhaps doesn't quite have the all-round quality of others at the club to ever be anything more than a squad player. A loan perhaps, but if a reasonable bid came in and there was already a replacement lined up, could or should we sell. With a slighty heavy heart, thinking what might have been, I feel it is a yes. Can we see a situation where we would still consider selling Scott Parker? He is a player I rate extremely highly and I wouldn't sell unless I received a truly stupid offer or the player made it clear he wanted out, but should for example AVB get in his dream player (Moutinho) could Parker be sacrificed if they could get their money back? Of the youth, I would like to see both Livermore and Carroll get half season loans, as I rate their potential, but do feel they need games and experience, so should we sign one and retain Sandro, Dembele and Parker and/or Hudd, would it make sense?
In attack, there aren't too many players to discuss, but I will start with one that is already on loan in Harry Kane. Though he seems certain to remain at Carrow Road to gain experience, he has suffered with missing the majority of the season to date with injury, but has received positive reviews in his last two games against Man City and West Ham and having the remainder of the season to hopefully establish himself in the starting XI, you feel this is the right decision. One thing that does worry me slightly is that Norwich have been linked with several strikers, either on loan or permanent deals. Would a new striker mean less opportunity for Harry, therefore could it be wise to move him on rather than be a bench warmer? With only two natural strikers, it seems impossible to imagine one leaving, even if we bought a new player in. However, do we still feel totally confident in believing that either Defoe or Adebayor would be happy playing second fiddle to a big money signing that might become the first choice pick?
Jermain Defoe, has done very well, but for all his goals and all-round improvement to his game, he remains a poacher first and foremost and his default move is still to turn and shoot instead of looking for better positioned options. He is great facing goal and as a natural finisher, but does he really have that all-round game to bring the best out of those around him? Perhaps one to keep as a good and loyal option, but is he ever going to be a long term solution under AVB? As for Adebayor, he remains a bit of an enigma, on his day he is a brilliant and unplayable striker, but those days simply haven't happened enough this season, perhaps due to injury, lack of confidence or simply a lack of understanding or chemistry with his playing partner. Would it really be a shock if we were to sell him in the summer or even in January of an offer was made? I can't imagine he would embrace another striker that would limit his opportunities further and he has never been happy to be a squad option. Though I clearly don't know the exact details of his summer move from City, I do wonder if his pay-off from City and new wage at WHL would actually make it easier to sell him, as his wages would be more realistic and therefore easier to do a deal.
The fact Spurs seem to operate a committee approach to buying and selling perhaps makes things harder to make decisions, but in turn perhaps at least share the blame when a player fails. I can imagine Levy, Sherwood, Freund and AVB all sitting around a table with their player wants and reasons firmly in hand. Does this make for good policy of buying or selling? Without being a fly on the wall, I really don't know the dynamics of what goes on, but I would like to think that AVB will be the man who gets what he wants more than doesn't, as to date he deserves backing, but I also see no point in his being forced to buy or sell players he doesn't really fancy. To date I haven't heard of too many turkeys being touted to come in, whilst equally I haven't seen too many superstars of shocks going out. Bale to Madrid in the summer for £50m+ is clearly an option, but is that something that could be out of everyones hands if the bid came in and the player wanted the move. Long term contract or not...