I don’t know about you but I am sick, sore and completely tired of the close season and all the shenanigans that have gone on with the “will he-won’t he” Bale saga being the primary cause of my displeasure. The media frenzy which has accompanied the story certainly hasn’t help with some of the stories being printed being ludicrous to the point of being downright, utter lies. Those sorts of antics could be expected of the red tops and Spanish newspapers like Marca, but even the likes of Sky Sports have got in on the act trying to create headlines by pure guesswork. Lazy, badly researched stories do not make for good journalism.
Let’s be honest, as soon as Real came calling for our Welsh wizard we all had the gut feeling it was going to be a protracted affair, our chairman has form in that regard. How will it all turn out? who knows? What I will say is that the longer it remains unresolved the more confident I would be of Bale staying put, the noises coming from the Bernabeu from Ancelotti in the past few days seem to say that he is becoming impatient with the situation and is willing to move on, time will tell.
On the other hand, I am waiting on the kick of that 1st ball on Sunday afternoon like a child waits on Christmas morning, it’s always been the same for me even in the dark days when another season of mediocrity or even worse, staving off relegation beckoned, that wait for the start of a new campaign has always been like a drug to yours truly. This season gives more cause for optimism that most given the busy summer the lilywhites have had in the transfer market, the comings and goings (even with the Bale issue being unresolved) look to have left us with a squad that is way stronger than last year and gives us supporters a feeling that this year, might, just might prove to be something special.
The flagship signing of Soldado could prove to be a masterstroke, his strike rate of 30 goals in 46 outings last season in what’s purported to the hardest league in the world shows that he’s the real deal and the way in which he dispatched his spot kick against Espanyol on Saturday last shows that confidence isn’t likely to be a problem. Paulinho looks to be quality signing as well, I was very impressed with his outings in the Confederations cup, his goalscoring ability from set-pieces coupled with his gut-busting runs from midfield give the engine room a far more dynamic look than last year.
I must confess I’m not as au fait about our other signings Chadli and Capoue but they are both internationals in their own right and will definitely provide options for AVB. We mustn’t forget a couple of major names that are returning from injury in the form of Sandro and Younes Kaboul, both players had a torrid time with injury last term and come into the squad almost like 2 new signings. I wrote a few times last year that Spurs didn’t look the same side without Sandro partnering Dembélé in central midfield, Parker just didn’t provide the same drive as the big Brazilian and it was no coincidence that Spurs didn’t lose a game last season where he and Dembélé played together. Kaboul gives us a much-needed option at centre half; his physical presence and calmness on the ball will give the back four a much different look this season.
Overall the squad looks better equipped to compete on more than one front this time out, hopefully giving the gaffer a chance to rotate the squad on a more frequent basis. If I had one major criticism of AVB last season it would be that his failure to rest key players at certain times probably ended up costing us points with our game against Fulham last year being one example, coming as it did 3 days after a tough Europa league encounter in Milan. To be fair to the Portuguese however, the squad was depleted with injuries at key times leaving him with no option to put his strongest eleven out in the quest for silverware.
The first team squad seems to provide the manager with more options this year, the likes of Fryers, Holtby, Townsend, and Siggurdsson will all give AVB food for thought in key areas with my one concern being that the squad might need another defender and striker just to have a more balanced look, the closing weeks of the transfer window might just provide a solution to those problems however.
And so, on the eve of another campaign we sit and wait with baited breath as to what the upcoming campaign has in store, knowing Spurs as do we can expect the usual highs and lows…. it’s in our DNA. A lot will depend on whether Bale stays of course but I for one am looking at the glass as half full, I’m hoping for a lot more days like that day in September last year at Old Trafford when a 24 year hoodoo was laid to rest. Let’s start with 3 points at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
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