So it transpires, if you put any stock into the rumour mills of the Guardian and the Sun at least, that the one guy Tottenham Hotspur have been linked to in this summer that none of us were all that hyped up about is valued more highly by our club than we thought. According to reports from both papers amongst other sources, Spurs are now facing a dogfight with bitter rivals Arsenal over 32 year-old Manchester City everyman Gareth Barry.
My views on Barry have been made well-known around these parts in recent years. In the interests of consistency and good manners, if he does indeed end up plying his trade at the Lane next season, then obviously I will support the player in the shirt and trying to see the bright side in his composure on the ball and sensible passing approach. I fundamentally don't believe at this juncture, however, that Barry can add anything to this Spurs side that would make him worth the £3.5m price tag the press is attaching to him. Aside from the fact I don't rate him all that highly individually, the addition of Paulinho this week to a midfield that already features Dembele and Sandro has all but eliminated the need to add any hard-working box-to-box 'presence' players to the team. If our North London neighbours are indeed prepared to go toe-to-toe with us over Barry's signature, then this is one rare example of a transfer battle I'm more than prepared to concede to them.
It is interesting to note, as an aside, that the Sun report intimates (in line with what many of us expected) that Andre Villas-Boas wants Barry as a straight replacement for Scott Parker. With Tom Huddlestone, a more technically competent player with several years Parker's junior, already primed for a surprisingly cheap move to Sunderland, and with rumours that Paulinho will receive the number 8 shirt on his arrival at the Lane swirling, it really is starting to look like the brave RAF captain will be the next player to be honourably discharged from the side.