In one of the worst kept secrets of this entire transfer window, Serie A club Napoli completed the signing of Romanian center back Vlad Chiriches from Tottenham Hotspur today.
We've known Vlad the Lad was on his way out of Tottenham for a while now, but up until a couple of days ago we thought it was to Fiorentina. The deal with La Viola collapsed very suddenly, but Napoli were waiting in the wings to sign the Romanian international captain in a deal said to be worth €6m. The Napoli deal is odd, considering Napoli's manager apparently had seen him play a grand total of 45 minutes six months ago, but it's over, and we'll take the money, thanks.
Vlad was a moneyball signing for Tottenham, purchased by then-manager Andre Villas-Boas in the summer of 2013 from Steaua București. During his time at Tottenham, Vlad became known for ranging, forward runs out of defense, for very occasional bouts of offensive brilliance, and for periodically forgetting where his man is in defense. He earned a fair amount of playing time under Mauricio Pochettino as a deputized right back after the sale of Kyle Naughton and an injury to Kyle Walker in the latter half of the season, and would frequently start in Europa League matches at center back for Spurs.
But of course, we'll always remember Vlad not for anything he's done, but for something that he probably doesn't even know about: our declaration on Wheeler Dealer Radio, Carty Free's podcast, that Vlad loves hot dogs and the ensuing repeated hilarity. During his two years in a lilywhite shirt we've imagined him as a party animal, a sausage vendor, and the loveable hero of a buddy comedy. He is most definitely none of those things, but we are forever grateful to Vlad for unknowingly allowing us to indulge in this bit of fiction, and for that reason Vlad will always be a Cartilage Free Captain staff favorite.