As an epic season of football stands ready to begin, anxious fans await for what might be one of the most entertaining festival of skill and talent till date. Standing in the midst of a busy transfer market, all armies look to reload their guns and sharpen their knives for a full fledged attack at the title. One such contender being the north-London club Spurs and a problem that they need to address before this season start is the need for a left back.
Left Backs in the Recent Past
Tottenham have in the recent past faced an overwhelming need for an Ashley Cole type of player. With the likes of Y. P Lee and even the mighty Gareth Bale filling the spot only to concede it to another, spurs have always adjusted with a make shift player in the position for a short spell with someone who showed a glimpse of good performance. In 2005 spurs bought the nifty Lee Young-Pyo from South Korea. A sturdy and crafty player, he instantly won a spot in the starting eleven in the year he arrived and churned out an impressive performance. However in 2006 the arrival of Benoit Assou-Ekotto from Lens threatened his starts in the club as he seemed to possess a tad bit more ‘football sense’ apart from the weird hair do than his Korean team mate. However Lee held on to the squad replacing the injured Stalteri at right-back. However the arrival of the French Pascal Chimbonda soon left him redundant at the club. With only cameos and one good season in 2007-2008, Lee made his way out and moved to Bundesliga for want of more football giving way to BAE to cement his place in the position.
BAE has ever since had a firm grip over the position occasionally being benched to give way to the youngster we now know as Gareth Bale. But once Bale was moved up to midfield, Assou-Ekotto was touted one of the best at this position as he churned out performance after performance. Some call him an unsung hero as he was instrumental in the triangle that was formed between Bale, Modric and himself and that without his presence the other two might not have been spotted at all. A hard fought 2011-2012 season and a close 2012-2013 season saw spurs being established as one of the sides to watch out for and a definite title contender. However the performance of BAE has only been deteriorating with age creeping up on him. The time has come now for a change and a new left back is needed and with the transfer markets reaching the halfway mark something needs to be done by Levy and his men sooner than later.
Options from within
A wise old woman once said, when you’re looking for some solution always look within yourself for the answer; Spurs should indeed look within first. The presence of Kyle Naughton is truly a comfort for AVB as he has played a large number of games in that position although he is naturally a right sided player. Kyle, like his namesake (Walker) is fast, posses a good right foot and is defensively sound. But pretty good has never won trophies. Naughton however is still young and has a lot to learn so is an asset to have as a substitute for the future.
A player who has caught the eye of some this season is the returning loanee Danny Rose. Don’t let the flowery name fool you, he is one mean kid who has played his heart out and proved to the Spurs as well as black cat’s manager what a brilliant prospect he is. His return has caused some relief among the white army as he seems eager to prove a point to AVB’s camp. But will he turn out to be a one season wonder or a good find is a question that puzzles all.
Another player that has slipped everyone’s notice is Ezekiel Fryers who Levy craftily brought in from Standard Liege much to Sir Alex’s disappointment. Fryers a United Academy graduate was initially to join Spurs who were asked to bear the training expense paid when buying an English trained club player below the age of 23. However the deal fell through and he went away to Belgium where this rule was not applicable. But a year later Levy brought him to Spurs at a fraction of the cost much to the disappointment of Sir Fergie. Turning 21 this September the youngster’s tall stature and quiet an admirable pace makes him a good center half and a valuable addition to the team. But will he, like Vertonghen, be able to play left back comfortably is a doubt.
Within the Premier League, stars such as Baines are drawing interest from big money clubs such as Man Utd; this keeps him out of reach for Spurs. Fabio Coentrao currently at Madrid is a good buy. Losing his place to the inform Marcelo, Coentrao would be itching for some regular play time and would definitely gel well with the Portuguese spurs boss. But knowing the fact the Madrid are the ones sitting in the other end of the table a player like Fabio wouldn’t come cheap or without some exchange offer involving the golden boy Bale.
Standard Liege’s Daniel Opare has been liked to Spurs with the club having shown interest in the 22 year old Ghanian. Daniel is a solid left back possessing the pace of Walker, good defensive capabilities and seems a definite fit into the team. But this dream too seems quiet far-fetched as stringent work permit rules bar him from joining the club. With the work permit rules specifying that you need to have played atleast 75% of the countries competitive ‘A’ Matches, Opare will be available only after two years.
We have observed in the past few seasons that Daniel Levy has waited till the last few seconds before the shutters come down on the transfer market to drag a few people in for cheap. But not every buy can be as lucky as Van der Vaart. After all we did see the collapse of the Moutinho and the Damiao deal in a similar fashion. A solution is needed and needed fast. So Mr Levy please give the Spurs fans a left back, not a bargain.