Je t'aime Burkina Faso. The West African nation’s historic victory over Togo in the African Cup Of Nations meant that AWOL frontman Emmanuel Adebayor will shortly be on a plane home and Spurs finally have a ‘new’ striker at a price Daniel Levy will surely enjoy.
Another Gareth Bale wonderstrike earned a crucial 1-0 win over 10-man West Brom at The Hawthorns yet Jermain Defoe’s injury overshadowed proceedings and left our Champions League chasers without a fit frontman in the matchday squad. The Bale reliant Spurs currently have less strikers than the Kensington Miners Union.
The failure to secure Leandro Damaio (or any competent striker on loan) during the recent transfer window was always likely to bite Spurs in the behind. Tottenham’s ‘partnership’ with Internacional is as meaningful as a relationship on ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’. If Daniel Levy is unable to broker a deal with an alleged partner club over three transfer windows then perhaps a change of target is advisable. Offering £13 million for Damaio is like offering Scarlett Johansson a date at Chicken Cottage and being shocked at the rejection.
Was this an(other) elaborate smokescreen? The Joao Moutinho deal crumbled on inadequately filed paperwork in the summer and Andre Villas-Boas’ admiration (borderline love) for the Portuguese playmaker is well known. So if everything was agreed in principle several months ago why did August’s ‘done deal’ fail to materialise in the following window? The club is, of course, comfortably in the black in its transfer dealings over the last three windows. Repeat quietly three times, Tottenham Hotspur are owned by an investment company.
Opinions vary, but the conspiracy theorist in me always wonders why these big deals fail to materialise while the exit door remains joyfully open to the detriment of the squad. AVB thankfully blocked Gylfi Sigurdsson’s surprise £10million sale to Reading, but what if those incoming funds had been immediately reinvested in the purchase of Damaio? Tottenham would undoubtedly be in a stronger position - one might think a celebrated deal broker might spot such an opportunity.
I have no problem with Levy opting not to spend frivolous cash, but equally he must be realistic about where Tottenham will finish without reasonable investment. Sixth place is arguably par for our club. We cannot compete with the financial firepower of Manchester City or Chelsea or the sheer size of Manchester United. Arsenal may be weakening but those South London nomads have been rooted in the top four since the 1990s while fallen giants Liverpool do not seem to suffer ENIC’s recent investment allergy, having spent heavily on Daniel Sturridge (a striker – they exist) and the talented but unproven Philippe Coutinho.
For all its attacking qualities, this is not a free-scoring Tottenham team. The fitness of Defoe and motivation of Adebayor will dictate whether Spurs have enough to inch over the Champions League line. The failure to strengthen a weak striking corps is a considerable gamble and one that in the last two January windows has failed to pay off.
There is always a first time.