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Dispatches from Bat Country: January 2024, week one

It’s transfer saga time!

Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

"'What's wrong?' I yelled. 'We can't stop here. This is bat country!'"

- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

For those new to the site, many years ago, previous masthead member Nathan Bartel co-opted the phrase “Bat Country” from Hunter S Thompson’s seminal novel, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. You can read his excellent piece here.

So what is Bat Country? Well, the definition has mutated and shifted over the years. It represents the unknown. It represents that space of uncertainty and rumor and paranoia and excitement. It represents that place where a mere mention of a previously unknown French winger by The Sun gets us all hot and bothered in a way that could only occur as we near the transfer window.

Welcome to Dispatches from Bat Country.

In this (I hope) semi-regular feature, I’ll be covering all those rumors on which we normally wouldn’t report. The fringe cases. The names that spring up from untold lands, off the beaten path. And I will be mentioning shudders THE SUN. We’ll discuss mostly incomings, but outgoings too, and try and focus on names we haven’t already talked about elsewhere on the site. Each name will be accompanied by a Guano Meter: a ranking out of 5 that instead of rating how likely we think it is to happen, it instead is the complete opposite. For example, a Guano Meter of 5/5 would be something like Gareth Bale returning to the club (which would absolutely not happen, not ever, right Dustin?).

Serhou Guirassy

  • 27-year-old Guinean striker from Stuttgart, with 17 goals in 14 matches. Not like breaking out at 27 isn’t somewhat of a red flag.
  • Is going away for AFCON which makes him kind of a silly signing when any striker we’d sign would need to cover for Son (who will be at the Asia Cup).
  • The bulk of the reporting on a Guinean striker playing in Germany is... you guessed it! The Italian tabloids (and The Sun, of course).
  • A much more reliable source (The Athletic) say Manchester United are interested; but no mention of Spurs.
  • There were some (very tenuous) links from other sources back in October.

Guano Meter: 4/5 - if it seems silly it’s because it probably is. But maybe we were interested in him at some point?

Morgan Gibbs-White

  • Attacking midfielder / forward from Nottingham Forest, whose name weirdly showed up just after we played them. Funny that.
  • It’s from the Daily Mail, and not the one or two decent guys they have working for them.
  • The assists are nice I guess?

Guano Meter: 4/5 - sure, we had scouts at the Forest match. We probably have scouts at a lot of matches.

Stanis Idumbo Muzano

  • Attacking midfielder / winger who plays for Ajax’s youth team in the Dutch second tier.
  • Running down his contract - available on a free in the summer. Levy like a deal! So does Paratici...
  • Some Danish reporting (sure) says we want him for the first team, which... sure, whatever.
  • Links a couple weeks back from Fabrizio Romano - but quiet since then. So there’s at least a bit of smoke here.

Guano Meter: 2/5 - An Ajax U21 player who hasn’t even broken through to their senior team is probably not competing for the starting XI. But Tici has previously an eye for young talent, and Fab reporting on the links is definitely not nothing.

Arthur Vermeeren

  • Belgian midfielder who can do a bit of everything. Would probably work quite well in Ange Postecoglou’s system at the 6.
  • Hey, he’s friends with Toby & Thicc Vin! Yep, he’s at Antwerp.
  • There’s not much reporting here... it pretty much all comes from one certain outlet. The links do though mention a loan-back arrangement, like with Pape Matar Sarr and Destiny Udogie (points for name-dropping, I guess).
  • I think he’d at least be one to watch for the future?

Guano Meter: 5/5 - Two words: The Sun.

Kou Itakura

  • Plays center back for that German team nobody can be bothered writing or pronouncing.
  • Tottenham need center backs, we all know that! And Ange apparently was interested in this guy while he was at Celtic, so 1 + 1 = a new signing!
  • Is it Ko or Kou? We don’t knou, but since the Japanese press release of their squad for the Asia Cup names him as Kou, I’m going with that. Oh yeah, he’s going to be away for a whole bunch of time for that.
  • Fab says we like him, which, well... sure. I’m sure we like lots of players. I also like alpacas. It doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy one.
  • There were actually links with Itakura back in the summer transfer window... from Sky Sport Germany. I don’t exactly place them high on the reliability index.

Guano Meter: 3/5 - We could do worse as a backup, and we obviously have a little bit of a crush on him.

So there you have it. Try not to get stuff stuck in your teeth as you chew on these tasty morsels. Welcome to Bat Country.