Over the last three years, Tottenham Hotspur have developed a reputation for fast-paced, attacking football. That always begins on the wings, where Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon present opposing defenses a nightmare match-up as they try to cope with the Welshman and Englishman's blistering speed. As brilliant as Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and several others have been, the team's identity comes from those wingers.
As long as Bale is at White Hart Lane, he is going to be linked to moves to bigger clubs, but Tottenham have the leverage there. They can keep him as long as they can contract him, which shouldn't be a massive problem. As far as Bale goes, it's tough to imagine him not being on the left wing for Spurs in the next few years, but on the right wing, things are a little more murky.
Lennon completes the pacey width attack of Spurs, but only when he is on the pitch, which isn't a given anymore. He has a history of small little pulls and niggles that keep him out a week or two here and a week or two there and when he is out, Spurs are forced to complete change the way they play. Either another central midfielder comes into the team and Spurs go into a Christmas tree formation, a player without pace who is more comfortable in the center goes wide and tucks in or everyone just runs around a bit. Sometimes it is effective and other times it is not, but Lennon's absence certainly throw the team into a state of flux .
One way to counter Lennon's increasing absence is to buy a lesser, but still good player who fits the Lennon mold. FInding someone with quite as much pace as Lennon would be near impossible, but finding another right winger with pace that would be able to slide into Lennon's spot and play the same way to keep Spurs from having to make themselves over when Lennon is absent? That's possible.
There is also the more radical way forward. With Lennon's injury problems a greater concern, maybe it is time to move on without him. Instead of dealing with the drama of "will he play, won't he play" so often, maybe it is time to find another winger. It may not be the incredibly pacey winger in the mold of Lennon, but he could give Spurs a new and maybe not inferior identity and approach.
Spurs already looked towards either cover or a replacement for Lennon this January when they chases Milos Krasic so the topic is on the minds of those at the club, but there are other possibilities. Didier Ya Konan, Andre Ayew, Pablo Hernandez could all slide in and do a fabulous job...or Spurs could continue their odd infatuation with Junior Hoilett and sign him on a free transfer.
Will this summer be the time they make a clean break and move forward without their speedster winger pairing? A Lennon-less future is certainly on their minds, at least to some degree.