We are now about three months since THAT night at Eastlands. The excitement and noise have died down and we can now begin to look forward to the new season.
As I write this, the squad from last season hasn’t changed at all. The arrival of Sandro is not expected until the end of August and nobody has left (yet). Despite this, we have been linked with different players on a daily basis but nothing, so far, has happened.
There has, however, been our very public pursuit of Joe Cole. Personally, I am not too distraught that we didn’t get him. He would have been a good addition to the squad but would he have played every week? I am not so sure he would.
Depending upon which paper you read, and on which day, it seems that Jermain Defoe is the only striker safe. Pav, Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch have all been linked with moves away. Unless we can get anybody better then we need to hold onto them all to give us options for the games ahead. If we were to let anyone go, I would personally let Keane leave as he has not been the same player since he returned from Liverpool.
There are rumours about both Huntelaar and Bellamy arriving. Both would give us good options – Huntelaar especially as he could play upfront alone which would seem to be the plan for Europe.
One thing is for sure, we need another top centre half. Ledley’s knees are not improving and it only seems a matter of time before Woodgate has to retire. Dawson and Bassong were both immense last season but I am not convinced that Bassong is up to the Champion’s League (fingers crossed!). Adding a reliable, international, performer would boost the squad and would take the pressure off Harry to play Ledley week in and week out.
Besides another goalscorer and a new centre half, I don’t think we are too far away. Admittedly, Villarreal did give us a thumping but most of the team had just flown back from America and the World Cup players had only just returned to training. However, the result was still worrying and shows that the step up to the Champion’s League will not be an easy one particularly as Villarreal finished seventh in La Liga last year and are not even in the competition.
The Champion’s League will have a key influence on the season. Will the club see it or the league as the priority? For me, they should have equal importance. If we want the club to grow then we have to aim to be in the Champion’s League season in and season out. That means performing well in the league or winning the Champion’s League – the year will end in one!
In terms of the league, getting into the top four will be a challenge. Manchester City continue to spend big but as last year showed, you can buy players but not a team. United and Chelsea continue to be strong but The Goons look the most vulnerable of the so-called ‘Top Four’. One thing is for sure, if Fabregas does leave, so do their top four hopes.
With all this in mind we have to repeat or better, last year’s league performance. As Tom Huddlestone said recently we will have to “win ugly” at times. The win is the important thing and at times the performance will have to come second.
This season could be a memorable one for our beloved boys. With a couple of good signings we can look forward with real hope. I can’t wait to kick off against, and beat, Manchester City on August 14th. In that week we also have the Champion’s League qualifier. What a week – bring it on. Come on you Spurs!