Spurs’ transfer dealings move like Rik Waller tiptoeing through a vat of treacle. The chances of you receiving a text from a fellow Tottenham fan yammering, ‘You won’t believe who we’ve signed!’ are negligible. You’ve known for weeks like an expectant mother eating pickled eggs and fearing the worst.
The pattern is achingly familiar. After a longwinded courting via the media, Spurs mount a ‘derisory’ bid (£3-£5 million below market value). This is balanced by an ‘outrageous’ demand by the selling club (£3-£5million above market value). Followed by an encouraging quote/tweet by the player (“Tottenham are a great club/my preferred choice/I love that High Road bagel shop”) countered by a regurgitated quote from 2011 stating that, “Thomas Vermaelen told me about Arsenal’s potential for greatness over moules and frites.”
This all-too-regular transfer impasse is hardly aided by the machinations of our beloved Chairman. Rumour has it that Daniel Levy once strolled into the Edmonton Poundland with 81p and walked out with a jumbo bag of Tangfastics. He’s immovable around the negotiating table. Like a skinflint at Christmas, he does not give. Okay, I’ll stop the analogies. Our Danny’s a bugger to deal with.
As a selling club, this business model works and pays handsomely. Manchester United paid £30.75 million for North Circular window-wiper Dimitar Berbatov and dished out £18.6 million for the tidy but unspectacular Michael Carrick. Neither of those purchases have set Manchester alight. Wilson Palacios hobbles like the lame dad from Frasier, yet somehow Levy prised £6 million plus from the pot-makers in Stoke. Wilson now warms their treatment table and bench on alternate weekends.
Add to the mix that Luka Modric was retained last summer after unrelenting speculation and an extremely odd media campaign in that already most curious of oracles The Daily Mail. The rebuffing of Chelsea’s dirty money was arguably the defining moment in Levy’s Chairmanship.
But purchases are a different matter altogether. The bids are either unfashionably late (50 minutes before the transfer window closes) or wildly optimistic (an alleged, barely believable £38.5 million plus offer for Sergio Aguero in the January 2011 window). After the unsavoury end to the last season, Spurs fans both measured and unrealistic are desperate for a boost or a reason to dream again. The highly-rated Jan Vertonghen’s apparent desire to join a club still stinging from a luckless season sans the tonic of Champions League football is an opportunity to make an early statement.
The last three seasons have cemented Tottenham as a contender. There is a Rizla paper’s difference between Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea in the league table. We’re no longer Fancy Dan lightweights or mugs any more. Of course, there have been valid disappointments in the last two campaigns and the club should have finished higher in the 2011/12 Premier League table, but the days of pinning your hopes on a mazy Stephane Dalmat run or Jose Dominguez nutmeg are over.
Spurs fans don’t need to dream, we can believe. But Daniel Levy has to share our vision. And the Tangfastics.