I’m not happy… The name Leandro Damiao rings in the ears of every Spurs fan, and has certainly been the cause of a few stress headaches. The long pursuit of this undeniably talented player has been shambolic. I was all set this week to write a piece about our newest opinion-divider, Lewis Holtby, but the saga surrounding the young Brazilian has distracted me. How many Transfer Windows has Spurs been linked with Damiao? 4? 5? Feels like an eternity. And every time the Window closes, we fans are left wanting. The closest we came was an apparent Eleventh Hour punt on the last day of January’s Window, but still with no success. However, these past few days it has been very widely reported by just about every Sports news outlet – almost with a distasteful sense of glee – that Southampton are seriously targeting Leandro’s signature. My first reaction was to laugh it off, to say: “if WE, serious Top 4 contenders, can’t get it done, how in the world could the Saints get it done, finishing a poor 14th last season?” But then I remembered two things…that stranger things have happened, and that Spurs has dreadful luck when it comes to the transfer market. I’m still not overly convinced by Southampton’s potential bid, but still…there is something lingering at the back of my mind.
Let’s forget Southampton F.C. for a moment, and consider who is to blame for the shambles surrounding the relationship between Tottenham and Damiao. Clearly, someone’s to blame for our failure to catch him thus far. Seems to me that there are three suspects, and at least one of them is responsible.
The first suspect surely has to be Spurs’ own Top Brass. Once upon a time, Daniel Levy was both feared and respected due to the reputation he had garnered as a staunch negotiator. But as time went by, his reputation was tainted by a string of botched pursuits – all due his miserly tightening of the purse strings. Indeed, his ‘stinginess’ undoubtedly contributed to our failure to land Leandro back in January. Similarly, Levy loves to wait until the last minute to do business, so he can squeeze every shilling, and obtain the best bargain. Now fiscal responsibility is all very well and good. Managers should seek out bargains where possible…but not at the price of completely bungling a high priority transfer! There were, of course, other factors working against Damiao’s transfer in January, for example 3rd party ownership, but these could easily have been settled if the price was right. It wasn’t.
However, Levy might not be the only guilty party here. Leandro’s club, Internacional, have probably been complicit. Their asking price for Damiao is impossible to fathom, given the complicated structure of player ownership over in Brazil. At times it has been reported that the Centre-Forward could go for as little as £13 million. Then it was £17 million. Now it seems to be around £21 million. Levy may have his transfer-related faults, but there’s no denying that signing Damiao is like wading slowly through a minefield…having to tip-toe past each stake-holder for fear of the transfer blowing up in your face.
The third suspect taking the blame for the Damiao saga is definitely the least popular – the frenzied Sports Media. Sports journalists have a knack for sensationalising every rumour, and they are very successful at turning a whole lot of nothing into a complete sh*t storm. Essentially, what I’m saying is that the Damiao saga probably doesn’t even exist, but is an annoying concoction…a figment of Sports Rags’ imaginations. Spurs have been linked with Leandro for over 2 years, but there has only ever been one bid, and that looked half-hearted. Does a single bid, in a single Transfer Window really justify 2 years of intense media speculation? I don’t think so.
The saddest thing about the Damiao saga is that Spurs fans have started to blame the player…assuming that, because we haven’t signed him, it’s his fault; he doesn’t want to come to us. The anger is misplaced. If the Top Brass REALLY wants him, they can go and get him. He’s available, and even appears to have a semi-concrete pricetag of £21 million. His agent is apparently in talks with the Saints, because, on the face of it, they are really interested. Clearly, then, if 14th placed Southampton can chase him, so can we. Levy, Baldini, and Villas-Boas just look to have lost interest. This, I submit, is a massive mistake! It’s no secret in my family that I’m intensely fond of the player…and am frequently criticised by my brother for replacing Fred for Leandro on FIFA 13 when I play as Brazil. Damiao has tons of talent, he’s young, but still mature, has time to improve on his already fine ability, and is, frankly, a steal at the £20 million I think we can get him for.
I have major doubts about Benteke, Soldado has been massively over-priced by Valencia, given he has recently turned 28, Seville are trying it on with a £24 million asking price for Negredo, Gomez is excellent, but probably just a bit out of reach, Hulk was bought for £52 million a year ago…there’s no way Spurs could ever get close to that. I’m very happy that a bid for Villa is materialising, but a single striker, at 31 years of age, and a history of injury, really needs at least one youthful partner on the pitch. For me, that is most definitely Leandro. GO GET HIM!