Let's get this straight. I'm 100% a Spurs optimist. I still feel our squad can get us on the fringes of the top 4 as it sits. That is, if we can run out My Favorite 11 (Gomes - BAE, King, Daws, Charlie - Bale, Sandro, Modric, Azza - VdV - Striker X) every game. Unfortunately, this isn't FIFA 11 and I can't turn player injuries off. If only life was that easy!
Really, our midfield is world class. A healthy VdV, Modric, Bale, Lennon and Sandro is a spine I completely believe in. How often have our Spurs had class like that?
Luka Modric is the best player on the team. He could start everywhere on the planet. We know Luka is going to pull the strings for us and be consistent. I stay optimistic because I feel our other players in Luka's class will have better results this year.
Look at the case of Gareth Bale. I lost my love for him all last spring as he rarely scored and seemed like he was lying on the ground with the physio more in matches than running around opponents or tossing in crosses. How breathtaking was his ball in to JD against Pirates to notch our 3rd goal? I forgot how much terror a defense has to feel when Bale has space such as that. I'm a sports nut and I recognize that while there are countless superstars across the world, there are few who make me sit up in my chair and lean forward as much as when Gareth Bale is sprinting down the flank with the ball.
Bale struggled with his fitness and teams taking him out of the action by marking him with multiple players. Sure, we forced stuff down the left too often and didn't give him as much space as he would have liked. It's not all his fault he had a terrible spring. He's just like Luka - even if he doesn't score or get assists, he is without a doubt as influential as any player on our squad. His service will lead to goals, his pace will lead to chances. Yeah, we had horrific finishing last year. We won't be that rotten again. (Mark it down right now - I've got JD netting 15 this year in the PL.)
Rafa Van der Vaart can produce as well as any player in the Premiership. It seems like he rarely was able to play 90 minutes last year and it felt like he spent a week a month on the bench injured. But, he was far and away our most productive scorer. The man can finish. Spurs would have been down near Sunderland in the table without his late signing coming through. He simply gets the job done when we need it.
Every player has flaws and strengths. But, a healthy Rafa takes our team to new levels. That's why he and Bale are the keys to the squad. Both players need a productive preseason and the trainers must slave to keep them fit. Our team takes a visible dip when neither is at peak form. Both have looked good thus far in the friendlys - keep them strong all season rather than just part of it and we can improve from within.
I'm as frustrated as anyone by what Levy has not done in the past 18 months. For the first time in club history we are in this position - up with the big boys - yet our actions are like we really don't want to be with them by not improving from the outside. Part of being a big boy is paying the extra 2 million or whatever to make a deal go through.
I do believe massive mistakes are being made by not changing some things. For anyone who has played sports there is something to freshening up the squad and bringing in new personalities and faces. It revitalizes the squad and gets everyone excited to get out there again. Rarely can teams go so long with literally the same exact lineup year after year and keep getting better. We do need some turnover since we really have had little lately.
Levy has a lot of work to do but it's fruitless to focus on what he hasn't done.
We HAVE talent. We HOPE to get some more. It is asking a lot to expect heroic performances from our Big 3 to carry us to the Top 4. We need some quality, Daniel.
I understand the need to do good business, but as humans our natural reactions when faced with tough decisions is to do nothing.
We think that by not making a decision but working halfheartedly towards it and talking about it we can make it seem like we made one when a deadline passes. Levy has some tough work on his hands yet I hope when faced with the future of our club he does something rather than just sit back again with the exact same squad.
Spurs fans, I think we are in for a crazy and wild August and we really are going to leave the window better off than we are today.