Recent reports have linked Tottenham with a move for veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso. Approaching 34, many fans have dismissed the quality of such a signing, claiming he would be too old and too slow to compete in the premier league.
While Cambiasso’s powers on the pitch may be fading, consider the other areas in which a player of this stature could contribute. Cambiasso has amassed 20 club titles in 3 separate countries, playing for two of the words biggest clubs in doing so, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
Tottenham’s squad last season was packed to the brim with super-talented players, but very few of these were used to winning games, and winning titles. Players like Cambiasso don’t just think they are going to win, they expect to. This is the kind of mentality we need to take into the coming season.
Our captain last season was Michael Dawson, a long-time fan favourite whose dedication to the club is unquestionable. Whilst Dawson’s leadership qualities are never in doubt, his prowess as a footballer is no longer on par with the rest of the squad. When your captain struggles to match the quality of his team-mates, the players he is trying to rally, there arise the issues.
Look at the teams that placed above us last season, and who they look to for leadership. Manchester City have Vincent Kompany, a powerful and elegant defender who lifts the players around him through communication and sheer presence. Chelsea have John Terry, for all his faults, he’s a one club man and up there with the best when he needs to be, a pillar of consistency and familiarity in an ever evolving club. Liverpool have Steven Gerrard, still inspirational into his 30’s. Our rivals Arsenal don’t have a natural leader on the pitch, what they have is Wenger. Leadership earned through longevity, ever-present in dire times. This, unfortunately, is something Tottenham are a ways off in achieving with a manger.
It will be interesting to see who will be wearing the armband, as they lead us out for the first time in the coming season. Dawson may still be doggedly driving us on, or other candidates within the club, such as Hugo Lloris or Jan Vertonghen may be asked to lead us. It may even be an old head such as Cambiasso, brought in to guide us through this transitional stage until someone shows the qualities to claim it long term. It’s not good to look to the past, but it’s times like these I wish Ledley could put some ice on the knee, and pull on the armband one more time.
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