With twenty matches under their belts, Tottenham Hotspur are currently in fourth place, three points clear of Manchester United and just six points off the top. With Spurs in a great position with 18 matches to play, the January transfer window is a chance to shed unwanted players and strengthen the squad with those who fit the system. Daniel Levy hasn't done much business as of late in the January window, but with Tottenham in their best position to qualify for the Champions League in a few seasons, there may be some activity. Then again, Levy may just shrug his shoulders and opt to do nothing. We can, however, guarantee you that there will be crazy rumors linking us to everyone under the Sun. With that being said, here's your January preview of Silly Season and who you can expect to hear the most information about.
CB Federico Fazio:
Why: Fazio has currently made just one appearance in the 2015/16 campaign in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal. He is fourth choice (at best) on the senior squad and isn't going to get any higher.
Who: Probably heading back to Sevilla. Fazio hasn't exactly blown the doors off of White Hart Lane during his time here and with Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Kevin Wimmer getting the bulk of the minutes, the writing is on the wall. Even Sevilla's president has come out and said they are trying to sign him back. West Brom has been sniffing around as well, but a move back to Spain where Fazio still has a home in Sevilla is the most likely destination.
Transfer Fee: Spurs will take a loss on this, but it shouldn't be too bad. Daniel Levy paid £8m for Fazio back in 2014 and while Sevilla reportedly did not have a buy-back clause, they should probably get Fazio back for a couple million less.
RM Andros Townsend:
Why: Last year, Andros Townsend seemed to have a breakthrough in his career. He started the season hot and even got called up to play for England. One year later, Townsend finds himself frozen out of the squad with almost no chance of breaking back in. A rift with the coaching staff that was witnessed by reporters may have been the final nail in the coffin of his Tottenham career.
Who: Multiple clubs are sniffing around, but it would appear Sunderland, Newcastle, West Brom, and Southampton are all possible landing points. The Independent has gone as far as to say that the Black Cats have already won the race and are close to signing him, but nothing official has come out from either side. Townsend could be used as a way to sweeten the pot in any possible talks with West Bromwich Albion.
Transfer Fee: Daniel Levy has reportedly set a fee of £14m, but it's doubtful that he'll get that, especially since he's frozen out of the squad. Tottenham, however, have a lot of power here as his current deal doesn't end until 2018. If all of the clubs named are actually in for him, then a bidding war could happen and Townsend might crack the £10m mark, given the premium on English players.
POSSIBLE INCOMING PLAYERS
We've broken this grouping down into a couple of different sections, simply because most rumors are garbage. Again, take everything with a grain of salt, but we're confident that these are the guys you'll hear about the most. The names probably won't surprise you one bit, but let's dive in.
ST Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion
Why: Berahino scored 20 goals last season for the Baggies. He's a versatile player who can either play up top or out on the wing, has good pace, and would probably fit into Pochettino's system relatively well. There are some concerns about attitude now, given what's gone on in the past few months between him and WBA, but every indication is that Tottenham still want him.
Transfer Fee: Good question. The general consensus in the summer was that Daniel Levy went up to as high as £23m but WBA Chariman Jeremy Peace shot that down, mainly because Levy wanted to pay it in installments and add-ons. There's plenty of bitterness remaining from the summer saga, but WBA's bargaining position is weakening. Berahino has 18 months left on his current contract, which means that any transfer fee that WBA can get for him will go down with each passing window. Everyone except Jeremy Peace wanted to sell Berahino in the summer, though now Tony Pulis has pulled a 180 and said he doesn't want to sell the striker. WBA's position on this is rather maddening, considering that Berahino has mainly been playing with the U-21s to keep his fitness up. This saga will continue and, hopefully, have some kind of definitive conclusion in January.
ST Moussa Dembele, Fulham
Why: If you haven't had a chance to check out Dembele, I invite you to look up some of his highlights on Youtube and try to catch a match on TV. The 19-year-old Frenchman is a classic center forward. He may not be as clinical as Harry Kane, but is having a good season in the championship for a very average Fulham squad. Dembele also possesses good size at just over six feet tall and is decent in the air. While the teenager is still a work in progress, he looks to be quite talented and would be a great addition to the club.
Transfer Fee: This one is tricky. Dembele only has six months remaining on his current contract with Fulham and has an outstanding offer from Fulham since October. It's become pretty clear that Dembele does not see his future with Fulham, given that they are probably not a threat to gain promotion back to the Premier League this season. What makes this one tricky is that Fulham will still get some money from any potential move because of his age, regardless of whether it happens in January or the Summer, so they may not care about selling him and try to ride out his contract. The real challenge is that a bidding war is entirely possible because Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Napoli, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, and other clubs have all been watching Dembele. Even if only half of the clubs watching him put in a bid, that transfer fee could get high pretty quick. Ultimately, it's not expected to reach eight figures as he's still a project despite how well he's doing in the second tier of English Football.
ST Sandro Ramirez, FC Barcelona
Why: Sandro Ramirez is a great young talent that has only seen a handful of appearances for the Barcelona first team. The 20-year-old from Las Palmas has come up the youth ranks and has shown plenty of promise. From 2013-2015, the striker managed 61 appearances for Barcelona's B Squad, netting 15 goals in the process. Sandro probably wants more chances to play in a top league, and while he may just be a couple of injuries away from doing that with Barcelona, he won't be getting them with the first team any time soon.
Transfer Fee: Sandro wants more first team action and Tottenham can definitely offer it. The Spanish forward is more out of the Berahino mold in that he can play up front, but can also play out on the wings, though he is not blessed with the same pace that Berahino has. The twist to this is that Tottenham could be looking at a full purchase and just a loan. A report states that his buyout clause is £8.8m, though it's reported by Bleacher Report. One part of that report that I agree with is if Spurs really want him, Barca could drop that fee if they include a buyback clause. Daniel Levy probably hates buyback clauses more than anyone, so it's doubtful that he would agree to any transfer with that. If the reported buyout is correct, that would not be a bad price for a 20 year old who isn't finished learning.
DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH
ST Breel Donald Embolo, FC Basel
Why: If you haven't watched any highlights of the 18 year old, check out the video below courtesy of World of Football HD on Youtube. You'll understand quickly as to why this is one of the most coveted teenagers in all of Europe. Possessing excellent pace, a good first touch, above average dribbling, and a knack of finding the back of the net, Embolo plays well beyond his years.
Why it won't happen: Basel knows they won't be able to hold onto him forever, but they made sure he isn't going anywhere without a fight back in February when they signed the striker to a new contract that keeps him at the club until 2019. Basel hold all the power here, and to be fair, Embolo seems quite happy at the moment. He's a regular selection for the current Swiss Super League leaders and is only going to get better. While the Swiss club knows he'll want to move on eventually, they're in no hurry.
Transfer fee if it does happen: If you want to torture yourself into thinking he could move in January, then start thinking of a number above £20m, and it could be higher than that. Any club worth talking about would love to have him, and Basel know this.
I'm not going to go into too much depth on this because we've done enough writing about them, but the list includes the familiar names of Alexandre Pato, Michy Batshuayi, Andriy Yarmolenko, and many others. You'll see articles on here as they pop up, but these are players that you shouldn't expect.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER POSITIONS?
Spurs could benefit from a backup DM and CB, especially if Fazio is sold. The problem is that we haven't seen any concrete rumors that link Tottenham to anyone at either position. There have been some bat country links from the Summer that linked us to half of the Bundesliga DMs, but nothing ever came of that. Perhaps were in for one of the Benders, which would probably be Lars instead of Sven. As for center back, there's less than nothing linking us to anyone other than stupid reporting by some of our favorite bat country guys like Tancredi Palmeri, or Raj Bains, who suggested (apparently seriously) that Spurs attempt to sign Andrea Pirlo or Nigel de Jong for DM depth, who are a combined 174 years old. (Citation needed)
Simply put, the January window can be summed up like this: Spurs will try to move Fazio and Townsend, attempt to get cover for forward positions, and will probably look at boosting the squad in other spots if the opportunity presents itself.
Silly Season is upon us once again. Let's get through it without wanting to tear our hair out.