Yesterday, in part one of this piece, Ryan and I discussed what Spurs players could be in line for departure sometime soon. In part two, we talk about where Spurs could stand to improve and identify some possible transfer targets. Of course, this is all speculation, but I think that we were realistic in our evaluations of Harry's maximum budget, what players could be obtained, and what their prices would be. Enjoy.
Kevin McCauley: Now that we know Harry will be making it rain, let's start by figuring out what needs should be addressed before getting into identifying any specific players that we think would look good in white and blue.
Ryan Rosenblatt: I think there are three areas that need to be addressed most: striker, winger and defensive midfielder. Striker is a bigger picture problem and something more likely to be taken care of in the summer, winger is more an issue of squad depth and can be added cheaply so I think the most pressing issues is finding a defensive midfielder. Ideally Palacios would be that guy and we wouldn't need a buy, but his form has dipped and he and Harry are clearly not seeing eye to eye.
Kevin McCauley: I think that Wilson Palacios just needs to get some time out there. His passing has been awful, but we know he's a quality player. He's shown it before for club and country. Players don't become crap overnight. I think that if Palacios is given a run of games with the team, he'll regain his form.
Ryan Rosenblatt: I think it's very possible that matches are all it will take, but it's looking unlikely that he will get that run of matches. My calls for defensive midfielder buy are a mix of my personal thoughts on a vital position for the team and my belief that Harry won't give Palacios the chances he needs.
Kevin McCauley: So, let's identify some guys. Ideally, based on the fact that Palacios probably doesn't suck and Sandro is likely to improve in the next calendar year, spending more than, say, £10m on a player to fill this role would be silly, unless we're getting someone of the caliber of De Rossi, Cambiasso, etc. Who might fill the role for the right price?
Ryan Rosenblatt: Ideally, I'm going back to the summer rumor of Lassana Diarra. Madrid rarely sells for what a player is worth and we can get him at a fair price, plus his versatility in the midfield does improve things. He hasn't been getting a ton of time with Madrid and Harry has a relationship with him going back to their Pompey days.
Kevin McCauley: I think that both Lass and Fernando Gago from Real Madrid would be good options. Neither of these two players is first choice at Madrid and I think they're both quality players. I could see Madrid parting for either of them for less than my arbitrary £10m price tag. Another guy I wouldn't mind seeing make his way to White Hart Lane is Yann M'Vila of Stade Rennais in Ligue 1. However, due to his very good performances for the French national team, his price tag might be a bit high.
Ryan Rosenblatt: All three would be good options and I'd probably rank them Diarra, Gago, M'Vila from most likely to least likely based on willingness to sell and price. So assuming Spurs can grab one of the three, what's the next move? Do you bother going striker hunting or do you save that for the summer?
Kevin McCauley: I think that all of our options for strikers other than the classic big man/little man pairing of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe in a 4-4-2 is inadequate. Sadly, this setup either leaves Rafael van der Vaart out of the side or a center of midfield that is badly suceptible to the counter attack. If we want to be at our best with Rafa in the side, I think we need to pursue a striker if Daniel Levy is willing to make funds available.
Ryan Rosenblatt: But who of quality will be available in January? I don't see many options there and that is the problem. I feel like anyone we make a run at in January will be overpriced and we'll be stuck with an average striker for the next couple years, blocking the way of the important striker buy the club really needs.
Kevin McCauley: Yeah, that's usually the case with January transfers. However, there is the curious case of Antonio Cassano. His contract has been terminated by Sampdoria after he had a dispute with the team president. He has a history of disrespecting managers and team presidents, but this doesn't change the fact that he's a damn fine footballer available for free. What do you think about him?
Ryan Rosenblatt: I think he's a very good player and on the pitch he would be a fantastic fit, but there is a certain atmosphere around the club right now that seems to be lifting the club. We know that the team isn't thriving as a result of health or tactics and the belief the team has shown to come from behind repeatedly is a reflection of that positive atmosphere. Do you want to throw someone like Cassano into that and risk the problems he can cause?
Kevin McCauley: You would almost have to put a clause in his contract that it can be terminated without cause and without having to pay him compensation. With other clubs sure to be interested in his services, he's not going to agree to any such contract. If Harry thinks he's a potential locker room cancer, I doubt we pursue him. Based on his talents alone, though, I think he's just the player we need.
Ryan Rosenblatt: Based on talent alone, he's just the player almost any team needs. High quality strikers are hard to come by and he's one of them, but I don't think the cancer is worth it so rule him out. Is there anyone else potentially available, at striker or elsewhere worth a look?
Kevin McCauley: I'm trying to come up with an answer, and all of them have some kind of fatal flaw. Edin Dzeko is going to cost way too much. With Borussia Dortmund's current form, Lucas Barrios isn't going anywhere. Lisandro Lopez is first choice for Lyon again and playing pretty well. Two players that I love watching, Cristian Benitez and Humberto Suazo, are probably not Premier League material. Luis Fabiano has said he's not interested in Spurs. Benfica are in a race to get back to Champions League, so I doubt that Oscar Cardozo is for sale. Karim Benzema's wages are astronomical. Do you have any ideas? All of my decent ones have some serious issues.
Ryan Rosenblatt: I'm not sure he's the answer, but the most likely candidate I see is Vedad Ibisevic. He would be well within our price range, he's proven to be a good goal scorer in spurts and can play alone up top and his ability to be mobile up top would work very well with Van der Vaart.
Kevin McCauley: Ibesevic is a decent option, but Hoffenheim are in a fight for Europe and have a rich owner, so I don't see why they would let him go. Still, if he can be had for under £10m, I think that would be a great pickup.
Ryan Rosenblatt: Okay, so a couple central midfield options, a couple striker options, but what's there to be had for wing depth or do you think buying a defender is worth exploring?
Kevin McCauley: I think that the central defender can wait until summer. We need to give time to the three central defenders who have not been fit in the first half of the season to show us what they've got.
Ryan Rosenblatt: I agree. We haven't kept a clean sheet in league since the opening match, but health and a defensive midfielder could go a long ways to solving that problem. The only other issue that would really need to be addressed is wing depth and that's a place I wouldn't mind taking care of by recalling a couple young players on loan like Danny Rose.
Kevin McCauley: We could really use a winger, but I think this can also wait until summer unless both Bentley and Kranjcar are sold. I would much rather see Harry buy one star or two players of serious quality than three decent players.
Ryan Rosenblatt: No arguments here and what category would you throw Glen Johnson into since rumor is Harry wants him, which wouldn't be a surprise considering their relationship.
Kevin McCauley: Alan Hutton is Glen Johnson Lite. Johnson is a much better crosser and a quicker player, but just as useless when it comes to defending. I think this would be an epic waste of money.
Ryan Rosenblatt: We seem to be agreeing a lot. Johnson is what Hutton aspires to be, which is a right back who is an actual danger going forward, but just being a step up is not worth the cash Johnson would cost. That's especially true with Corluka and Kaboul still in the team offering quality right back options.
Kevin McCauley: Who else have the rags linked us to? Let's go over why I'd hate them or why they would make me happy in my pants.
Ryan Rosenblatt: Steven Taylor, Fabrice Muamba, Gary Cahill and Matthew Upson are the four I read this morning. Taylor I'd pass on. Muamba is quality, but I'd rather spend the extra few bucks for someone like Diarra. I think Gary Cahill is fantastic and I'd love to have him even if central defense isn't the biggest of concerns and Upson I can pass on, but he'd be an alright addition.
Kevin McCauley: I'd love to have Cahill and I would be okay with adding Muamba if the price is reasonable. The other two are not good enough for Spurs, never have been, and never will be. Is this Scott Parker business still floating around?
Ryan Rosenblatt: I think his name is still being tossed around, but with Liverpool under assumed competent ownership and Hodgson's affinity for Parker, I'd bet on him moving to Anfield long before the Lane.
Kevin McCauley: You think Roy Hodgson is going to have a job in January? If he does, John Henry sure as hell isn't throwing him a blank check. I bet Liverpool sign no player over the age of 21 in January and Woy is sent packing in May.
Ryan Rosenblatt: It wouldn't surprise me if he gets the boot after the season, but I think he's going to get a decent amount of cash to spend in January. It's important that ownership show to the supporters that they're willing to spend some so a Parker buy would make sense.
Kevin McCauley: So, the final verdict: £15-20m spent on two players seems like a good compromise between things that could actually happen and things you and I really want to see happen.
Ryan Rosenblatt: Sounds about right. Ideally, I'd say those two are Diarra and Ibisevic and should that come to fruition, I'd be ecstatic. I don't know if Ibisevic is the answer, but he could be. Diarra would be absolutely fantastic.
There is a part three to this series, but it will take a slightly different tone. Now that we've discussed who could realistically leave Spurs as well as some realistic transfer targets, it's time to take a trip to Candy Land and get into the absurd and abstract. What would Spurs look like if we ditched the guys we don't like and spent some serious cash? What would a world without Jenas and Hutton and with three new players look like? You'll find out either tomorrow or Friday.