What chance do you think Tottenham Hotspur have of breaking into the top four of the Premier League during this coming season? In the past I would have said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Absolutely none,Ã¢â‚¬Â but under the current regime, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure.
It seems that the latest recruit for Juande Ramos at White Hart Lane is likely to be Blackburn’s England international wide player David Bentley, who will almost certainly be a Tottenham player by the weekend after going through a medical on yesterday.
If the proposed transfer does goes through, the signing of Bentley would be a welcome boost for Tottenham fans after they witnessed Robbie Keane’s Ã‚Â£20.3 million move to Liverpool. Keane has been a hero in that particular part of North London for the last six years and it will have been difficult for the Tottenham faithful to see him go.
There have also been many rumours all summer that Bulgarian striker, the enigma that is Dimitar Berbatov, could also be on his way out of White Hart Lane. It is widely reported that Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to see him in the red of Manchester United, although as time moves on that move seems to be becoming less likely.
Any number of top class forwards have been linked with a move to Spurs, presumably as a replacement for Berbatov if he did leave, and for Keane, who has. Russian forward and Euro 2008 star Andrei Arshavin is the latest player strongly linked with his agent confirming that they are in talks with Tottenham. He was at pains to explain, however, that a deal is still a way off. Amongst others, both Argentine striker Diego Milito and Valencia’s David Villa have been linked with Spurs this summer.
It has to be said that the players coming and the players simply linked, are all players who show that the ambition of Ramos is to take Tottenham into the elite at the very top.
He has spent the summer clearing out some of the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdead woodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. Robbie Keane can hardly be described in that fashion, but when he decided he wanted to join the club he has always supported, there was no way to keep him.
The players leaving have been Anthony Gardner, Pascal Chimbonda, Paul Robinson, Teemu Tainio, Jake Livermore, and Joe Martin, whilst Steed Malbranque and Younes Kaboul seem sure to follow.
The players coming in at White Hart Lane seem to be a step up in class. Luka Modric, the Croatian star from Dinamo Zagreb, the exciting Giovani Dos Santos from Barcelona, together with Heurelho Gomes from PSV and the young talent John Bostock from Crystal Palace seem to have raised the bar somewhat in the squad. With David Bentley likely to join them and possibly Arshavin or another world class striker, we might just be looking at the first Tottenham squad for many years who might actually achieve rather than constantly flattering to deceive.
Juande Ramos is a man who is used to success over the past few years and he will not settle for just winning the Carling Cup, however fine an achievement that was last season. He is assembling a squad that he genuinely thinks may be able to compete with the very best.
Having had so much success in the Uefa Cup in the past he will be desperate to repeat that with his new club. I would think that Ramos is targeting a Uefa Cup victory and a top four finish in the Premier League, although publicly he may only say that a top six finish is what he is aiming for.
In the past I have always been skeptical of the many Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbright new dawnsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ there have been at Tottenham but on this occasion I might be persuaded to believe that something is about to happen. I believe that Juande Ramos has been extremely impressive since he arrived in the Premier League and I have seen nothing to suggest that he will not achieve things at the club. He is a building a squad of experienced, talented players and hungry, talented young players.
I have already written about the bright prospects for Portsmouth and Aston Villa this season. When you add Tottenham, together with Everton and Manchester City, the season starts to get even more exciting.
I have consistently predicted that the usual top four will not be displaced from their positions but the more I write, the more I am beginning to question my convictions. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to stick with it, but I do believe the race for the Champions League places might be the most exciting for some time.