£4.5 million per player: The Surprising Cost of Tottenham Hotspur’s First 11

With all the talk of inflated transfer fees in the Premier League these days, it is perhaps interesting to note that the first choice team for Spurs cost about £1million pound cheaper than a certain goal-shy spaniard.

This season’s tremendous wheeling and dealing from Harry and Mr.Levy, bringing in Friedel for a whopping £0, Adebayor for a purse-stretching £0 and Parker for half a Rebrov, around £5 million, has meant that the total cost of our first choice eleven has dropped to a meagre £49million. A very large chunk of this, 34%, was spent on Luka Modric alone at £17million.

In goal…
Brad Friedel (Free, Aston Villa)

A defence of…
Kyle Walker (£4m from Sheff Utd)
Ledley King (Youth Team, Free)
Michael Dawson (£4m from Nottm. Forest)
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (£3.5m from Lens)

A midfield of…
Aaron Lennon (£1m from a bankrupt Leeds)
Scott Parker (£5m from West Ham)
Luka Modric (£17m from Dinamo Zagreb)
Gareth Bale (£7m from Southampton)

And a forward pairing of…
Rafael Van Der Vaart (£8m from Real Madrid)
Emmanuel Adebayor (Loan from Man City)

Tottenham vs QPR – October 30th 2011

Previous Form

The promoted teams have started well this season, and despite being the lowest of the trio, QPR are not struggling to pick up the points. After nine games they are 6 points clear of the drop-zone and are technically closer to Europe than they are to England’s second tier. Their goal this season will naturally be to avoid relegation, and despite some big losses to fellow Championship chasers Bolton and Fulham, have managed to pick up some difficult points against Newcastle, Everton and of course in their previous game against Chelsea.

This result may prove a boost to the players, and could up the volume of the fans early on, yet the performance was far from a frightening one if viewed from a Tottenham perspective. Despite the win, they were playing for most the game with two men extra, yet were dominated in all departments by Chelsea and were lucky to escape with a draw let alone all of the points.

Tottenham on the other hand have really turned a corner since the humiliating 5 – 1 defeat to Man City at home (slightly less humiliating now albeit). The signings of Parker and Adebayor have been perfect for us, and have filled out the little gaps that we had in our game, as of yet undefeated since their signings, only dropping points at St.James Park where we could have even taken all three. While the results have not looked convincing in scoreline, we have dominated pretty much every game since September and should have a much higher goal difference by now.

Key Men:

There has been alot of talk about Adel Taarabt returning against Tottenham – and many would pick him out as a key-man for QPR – but his performances this season have been sub par at best. He is yet to score in the Premier league for QPR or Spurs and has thrown his fair share of toys out of the pram already. Instead I imagine that if anyone is to have an effect on Spurs it will be Joey Barton, and if he can dominate the midfield with some big, tough tackles, otherwise I see QPR being overrun.

For Tottenham I am again going to ignore the obvious in Rafael Van Der Vaart, and while I predict that he will bag an early first half goal, the presence of Parker in midfield will be the reason that we do not lose this game like we may so easily have done last season. Since his signing we have become far more solid, and his performance could present us with a clean-sheet to boot.

Very, Very Specific Prediction…

I predict a Tottenham win, by more than one goal at least, and am going to land on a final score of 3-0. Despite the Man City game, we have not lost in 20 home games and we have had a very good defensive record at home over the last few years. While I expect us to dominate the game, I imagine the goals will come early on, and that we could score more, but the result will be the best one in the end. I also believe that the goals will be scored by Van Der Vaart, Defoe and a midfield player – perhaps Modric.

Fifa 12 – Has Benoit Assou-Ekotto Finally Gained Recognition?

I enjoy the release of Fifa every October, and indeed Football Manager a few months later, if not just for the fun of the game, but to also see how our team is viewed from an outside perspective. Every year without fail though a couple of our players are underrated, and also a few are definitely overrated, and this year is no different. It does get me a little down when some of the best performers in a Spurs shirt are not given the stats that they deserve – mostly because it means I have to play with a mediocre side.

Some players, such as Adebayor (82), Dawson (80) and Friedel (81), are pretty much right on the money. Modric (88) is perhaps a little high, and Parker (82) perhaps a little low, but all in all, pretty much correct.

 Without fail though, every year, in both Fifa and FM, Assou-Ekotto will always be significantly underrated. This year he has been given a ‘78‘ rating, which is not too awful, but seems ludicrous when you compare him to the other ‘78‘s’ in our team, or some who have a higher rating. Pavluchenko (78) and Dos Santos (78) are both at the same level, which any Spurs fan can tell you isn’t true, while players such as Aaron Lennon (82) and Pienaar (80) are classed as a much better player than him, while their performances have been far from convincing as of late.

Now I know this all seems a little ridiculous to be complaining over Fifa stats, but I think it can be said that Assou-Ekotto is often underrated as a player, and I for one would never even think of looking for a new left-back. Personally I believe him to be one of the most consistent and calm left-backs in the league, and works wonderfully with Bale in front of him. Watching him week in and out, he has a marvellous first touch, and control of the ball, easily side-stepping a charging attacker while thinking of his next pass, it really is something magnificent to watch. We all know how good he is, I simply just think it would be nice if he got a little more recognition, from pundits or computer game manufacturers. He may even start to enjoy himself because of it…

The Best News (for Tottenham) – and What this Means for Tottenham’s English Players?

Two great things have happened in the past few hours. Firstly, Capello has been backed as the England manager for the foreseeable future, and secondly, he has stated his desire to blood newer players into the England first team to replace the underperforming ones.

“I can assure the fans I am now fully focused on our European qualifying fixtures, starting with the friendly against Hungary in August,” he stated.

“We will look to introduce new players to give the team new energy and I will use all my experience to take England forward.

“I am extremely proud to be the England manager, it means so much to me and I am determined to succeed.”

-Fabio Capello

This is great news on a few different levels. Firstly, I believe that Capello is a great manager, despite the goings-on of the World Cup, which should be blamed far more on the lack of drive and ambition of the players that took part. Simply look at his club level record and you can see why he was hired. Over the next few years his English will get better, and his connection with the English squad will improve, and according to his statement will look to get rid of the England players that consistently perform poorly (finally). Whether this is to be believed entirely is up for debate, as I am pretty sure he said this when he was hired, but regardless, why is this such good news for Tottenham?

All Hail the King of White Hart Lane

Well, primarily, because it means the man who helped us to 4th place, and into the Champions League for the first time in our history – and most probably the prime candidate for the England job – will stay with us. Harry Redknapp had previously said that Tottenham will be his last club, yet recently stated his desire to lead England. Thankfully, someone took away this dangling carrot from him before he got too vocal and silly. Secondly, it may mean the chance for some of our emerging talents to finally prove their worth for England.

Players such as Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone, who have been called up to the squad on numerous occasions, yet never allowed a game, may be given the chance against a weak qualification group to prove themselves on the international stage. Dawson has been at the heart of a defence that has had the best home defensive record for the last two seasons in the Premiership, and it seems absurd that he has not been called up sooner (especially after watching the abysmal Matthew Upson play against Germany). Huddlestone too is a player who has not been given a chance, despite showing good form. He has been overshadowed by bigger named such as Gerrard, Barry and Lampard and will perhaps not see immediate first team action, he looks like a decent successor to Barry at least, who again, had a dreadful World Cup.

Michael Dawson - English Through and Through. We're pretty sure he's never even been abroad...

So what of the other English players that we possess? The younger players such as Danny Rose and John Bostock will not be in the mind of Capello for a good many years yet, as they have yet to fully develop their game to the levels needed, nor have other youth prospects. The youngest of our potential players, if indeed he is even a Tottenham player as of next season, is Jamie O’Hara. He has been the best player by far for a very poor Portsmouth side this season, and if he is given the chance of another loan spell, or even sold to another club, could stand an outside chance of being picked, yet again, will be overshadowed by the immense amount of choice England have in the centre.

Then we come to the English players that did take part in the World Cup. Messrs Crouch, Lennon and Defoe. Up first, Peter Crouch, who did not get to see much action in South Africa. His 10 minute showing was not enough to declare him a bad player, nor a good one, and so it is unfair to judge him on this. What is fair to judge him on is his phenomenal scoring record for the national side though, with 21 goals in 40 games, better than Wayne Rooney, the man Capello has been trying to build his team around, even more so when you consider how many of these goals came in starts and the figure is almost 1 in 1. What used to be true of Crouch was that he only scored against weaker national sides, such as Jamaica, Andorra, Macedonia and Trinidad and Tobego. Yet since his goal against Croatia in 2007, he has also managed to score against the stronger oppositions of Ukraine, Mexico, and scored two against a strong Egyptian side. So for now, let us assume that Peter Crouch is safe.

Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe did get the chance to shine in the World Cuo though, so their place may perhaps be moreso under threat, especially with the talent that is creeping up behind them. To their credit, they did not enter the World Cup in the greatest of form, with both coming back from injury recently (Lennon came back only weeks ago), and Jermain Defoe not having found his scoring legs in the 8 games he played since returning. Their club form has been very good this season, with Defoe netting 18 goals and 5 assists in 34 games, and Lennon scoring 5 and setting up a further 10 from only 22 games, yet is that enough to get them into the England squad easily? They may have been picked based on previous England experience, as other English players had performed as well if not better than them. Milner made 12 assists last season, and had a good World Cup, which perhaps has already pushed Lennon back to second-tier, and Ashley Young (who was not picked for the squad), made the same number of assists and grabbed the same number of goals as Lennon, though from more games. Adam Johnson too is another winger who played well, and is one for the future, with 9 assists made from only 15 games, better than Lennon’s form (yet he was also not picked, perhaps for being too young).

Jermain Defoe is too being pushed to up his game against competition from the rest of the English players. Darren Bent tucked away 24 goals in the 09/10 season, and if that form continues will no doubt be given more of a chance for England, and the pace of Gabriel Agbonlahor, coupled with his decent return of 13 goals, means that Defoe’s position is far from safe.

We look forward to what these qualifiers will bring, both from England and from the Tottenham players no doubt likely to feature.

Simon Kjaer and Edinson Cavani – Worthwhile Signings???

Recent reports have come from around the web that we have made a bid of 28million euros for the combined signatures of both the central defender Simon Kjaer and the forward Edinson Cavani, both of Palermo. The president of Palermo has for some reason or another come out and stated that we have put in this significant offer, and that it had been accepted, yet the Spurs board have now turned round and declared this not to be true at all. Regardless of if or when we are to make a bid for these two, it is fair to say that many of you will not have heard of these young stars.

Powerful centre-back Simon Kjaer

Simon Kjaer is the more promising of the two players, with many of the big European Clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Wolfsburg all looking to sign him. He plays at centre-back, and at only 21 has alot of potential in these role still to come, with 62 Palermo appearances already to his name. Fans of the Football Manager games will already know that he becomes one of the better central defenders in the 2010 edition, and the interest of most of Europe would suggest that he is the level of  player we should be looking to buy, yet it is doubtful that he is the kind of player we need at Spurs. We already have a plethora of good centre-backs, with Dawson and King showing themselves as a force to be reckoned with when fit. Woodgate’s days may be numbered, yet young players such as Bassong and Kaboul can easily cover for the England stars, and with King’s increasing ability to play consecutive games, the centre of our defence seems a solid enough position. It would be a waste of money to spend any more than say £5million on another centre-back, as we simply do not need one, and the money could be spent elsewhere.

The attention now turns to Edinson Cavani, who plays in a role very similar to Pavlychenko. Very, very similar. It would seem puzzlingly if we were to keep our Russian hitman if we were to purchase Cavani, and despite Cavani’s slightly better goal ratio (he scores around 5 goals a season more), he is still not really the 30 goal a season striker that a top side need, a player like Cristiano Ronaldo was for Man Utd, Drogba is for Chelsea and Torres is for Liverpool. Even Man City seem to have latched onto one of these with Carlos Tevez. Signing Cavani would unlikely increasing our scoring threat, as he is around the same quality as Crouch or Defoe, only younger. If we are to sign a new striker, which I believe is needed to step our game up a bit, then we need to buy someone big. Take this  28 million euros we were to spend on these two, and buy one big signing up front. Someone like Aguero or Suarez – or dare I say it Eduardo?? It takes a brave man to cross the North London divide, yet him and Modric have been said to have a “telepathic understanding” of each other’s games ever since they have played together since youth level, and may be worth a shot.

Edinson Cavani

Tottenham Lose Out

An unfortunate loss from the Spurs boys today who would really have felt that they could have won the game. Full match report to follow soon – after the results of the other games.

I think West Ham v Sunderland is the biggest threat to our 7th place target, and if Sunderland can get a win then the weekend will be a washover, with everyone in the same place, assuming that Fulham and Wigan cannot best Liverpool and Everton respectively.

Blackburn v Tottenham

Premier League Game: 31

Saturday April 4th 12:45
AWAY v Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park
11 degrees, chance of rain

Reverse Fixture:                             Tottenham 1 – 0 Blackburn

Positions/Potential Positions:  Tottenham 11th (7th – 11th) Blackburn 17th (12th – 18th)

Form Last 6:                                     Tottenham DWWDWW Blackburn DWLWLD

Key Injuries: Tottenham (Defoe, Bent unlikely) Blackburn (Emerton, Reid, Santa Cruz, Dunn, Grella unlikely, McCarthy unlikely)

Both teams have alot to play for in the early Saturday kick-off, with Spurs now gunning for that 7th spot and their only chance of European football next season, while Blackburn will look to pick themselves out of the relegation fight with a much needed win that could put them them right up to 12th.

On paper it looks as if a Tottenham win is likely, with the best form in the league currently, yet Blackburn will no doubt receive some of the hairdryer treatment from Allardyce who will want them to use their home advantage to get something from the visitors.

It looks as though it will be raining all through Saturday morning, with some still present at kick-off, which means that the pitch is unlikely to be perfect for Tottenham’s quick passing style on the ground. I feel that Redknapp will look to rest Darren Bent and play with Pavlyuchenko up top, fresh from scoring for Russia during the international break, with Robbie Keane just behind in support, to provide a balance of speed and height.

The rest of the squad is likely to remain unchanged, with Didier Zokora replacing Jermaine Jenas the only option that may occur.

With Blackburn’s growing injury list they will struggle against Tottenham, and the best they could hope for would probably be a 1 – 1 draw. Tottenham’s defence is looking fairly strong at the moment, and they look good for keeping the goals conceded down at Ewood Park. The game will likely be decided on the attacking speed of Aaron Lennon from the right who should look to exploit a slow Blackburn backline.

TOTTENHAM TATTLER’S PREDICTION: I predict a low scoring game, perhaps a 1-0 or 2-1 to Tottenham if the Spurs’ strikers deliver, but my head says an away game against a relegation battler will be a difficult occasion. I’m going to go with Blackburn leading 1 – 0 at the break, but a 1 – 1 draw in the end.