Ins: Lewis Holtby [reported £1.5m from Schalke], Zeki Fryers [£3m from Standard Liege]
Outs: Jermaine Jenas [undisclosed to QPR], Andros Townsend [loan to QPR], Tomislav Gomelt [loan to Espanyol], Simon Dawkins [loan to Villa], Ryan Mason [loan to Lorient], Alex Pritchard [loan to Peterborough], Heurelho Gomes [loan to Hoffenheim], Yago Falque [loan to Almeria]
A sense of déjà vu would have surrounded all Spurs fans during yesterday’s transfer deadline day. The usual Twitter hoaxers were out to make a name for themselves with fantastic tales and Daniel Levy reprised his role as 11th hour transfer tease, missing out again on Leandro Damiao after a reported last-ditch bid was dismissed. Anyone who allowed their hopes to be raised in the final 24 hours would have come away feeling deflated.
But in the cold light of day on 1 February how does our business stack up? A number of factors must go into this assessment. By my reading, we’ve done very well.
The first, and most obvious, positive to pick out of the January window has been the arrival of Germany U21 captain Lewis Holtby. The initial prospect of Holtby joining us in the summer was tantalising enough, that his move was then expedited – whatever the reasons for this; his supposed replacement for the injured Sandro doesn’t stack up given their very different roles – has parachuted the ideal player into a squad crying out for poise and ingenuity in the final third after the loss of Rafa van der Vaart.
Some casual observation of Gooners’ views on the acquisition show that we’ve got ourselves a gem. They have seen first-hand his abilities having showcased them at the Library during Schalke’s 2-0 win last October.
Our only other incoming transfer was Zeki Fryers, who will join up with the Development Squad. Judgment should therefore be reserved, but left-back is a position where we’ve been shown to lack depth and he’s now in pole position to be Benny’s long-term successor.
Of the outgoings, it’s a mostly uncontentious state of affairs. We can finally wave Jermaine Jenas off with our best wishes and thanks for all the goals against the scum. Heurelho Gomes, too, has divided opinion at the Lane but leaves with his head held high after some memorable performances.
Of the loanees, it seems a strange decision to allow Andros Townsend to go when the chances of him figuring for QPR during their relegation scrap must be fairly low. Despite his limitations he would have provided some cover for Bale and Lennon towards the end of a long season. The same goes for Yago Falque. Perhaps they both have recall clauses in their loan deals. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
The loanee I’m most excited about hearing more about is Alex Pritchard at Peterborough. We know what he can do against his peers in the U21 league and Next Gen tournament, but how will he go against grown men scrapping in the sink-or-swim environment of the Championship?
Away from the activity which has passed through Levy’s fax machine, our nearest competitors have hardly been overworking player’s agents either. Woolwich’s main bit of business has been to clear up the mess made on a previous £6m purchase, Andre Santos, by paying £10m for another left-back, Nacho Monreal.
Chelsea have strengthened with Demba Ba, but their defence still looks unassured. Everton were linked with some interesting players, but ended up with a right-back from Barnsley. Liverpool have had the best of this transfer window, with over £20m spent on Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, but still look too flaky to bridge the seven point gap to us in fourth place.
Though we can probably all agree it shouldn’t be, modern football is a business. Levy hasn’t gambled big money on securing the riches of fourth. Nor has he repeated the tactic of last January and signed short-term solutions to problems that didn’t exist. This can be seen as prudent after Spurs recently posted a financial loss in their annual accounts.
We can probably also all agree that a quality striker would have been a major boost as we seek to capitalise on all the possession we have enjoyed this season. However, we do have Adebayor to come back and Defoe has had his best first-half of a Spurs campaign. An injury to either of them would likely blow our chances of playing Champions League football next year, but the same can be said for Woolwich with Giroud and Walcott, Everton with Marouane Fellaini, and Liverpool with Luis Suarez.
Our muted activity in the transfer window is far from a disaster. AvB can gather the troops and infuse further belief that he believes in them and their ability to secure the club’s ambitions. For ‘confidence players’ like Defoe and Adebayor this could pay dividends.