Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Ever get the feeling you've heard it all before?

SPURS' biggest star is wanted by a host of European football giants.

Following a season of top-notch displays by the individual in question, media attention and crowd adulation, the money men have taken notice.

The manager is touting the importance of keeping our prize asset and the chairman is having his heels reinforced ready to dig them firmly into the tarmac on Tottenham High Road.

It's a familiar story.

We have all been here before.  Luka Modric went to Real Madrid for £30million in the final week of August 2012 and chairman Daniel Levy eked an extra few bob out of Manchester United in the deadline-day 2008 sale of Dimitar Berbatov for £32m - and we all knew it was only a matter of time until it was Gareth Bale under the spotlight.

If the Modric saga is anything to go by, then we might just keep Bale another season on a "wait and see" basis but when we fail to strengthen enough to match the player's ambitions next season, he will be off.

Is there really reason to feel renewed hope that, this time around, we might get it right?

All the sounds coming out of the gossip vents around White Hart Lane seem to indicate "yes".

Bale is "set" to sign a contract extension, manager Andre Villas-Boas has "identified" a big-name midfielder and a marquee striker to strengthen the squad, certain "names" will be sold to make way for improvements and owner Joe Lewis has agreed business must be "done early" in the window in order for the side to ready for the start of the season.

That would all be very encouraging to hear but is it just a smokescreen to keep us all quiet after yet more ultimately self-inflicted heartache? Many Spurs fans have been calling for these things for years, so why has it taken until now for the club themselves to realise?

It's not always that simple - obviously - but in the opening three games of the 2012-13 season we took only two points. We lost at Newcastle and drew at home with West Brom and Norwich. A run of four straight wins followed.

Players rarely arrive just ready to slot in. They need accommodation, language lessons, not to mention overcoming homesickness or just convincing/arguing with their families or other halves over the move -remember the furore over Hugo Lloris not getting first team football immediately after his arrival last summer?

A few more weeks to settle down - without the August departure of most of our midfield (Modric and Rafa van der Vaart) - might have yielded those two vital extra points to put us in fourth place.

Surely we learned the perils of a bad start after losing Berbatov, when an impressive pre-season campaign spiralled into an infamous - and, thanks to former boss Harry Redknapp's penchant for repetition, unforgettable - two points from eight games.

To Villas-Boas' credit, he seems to have the players, the press and the board on his side - all key ingredients for a successful summer.

But until we arrive at next term with a squad ready to give it their all from the word go, then the fear will remain that all these encouraging signs are just to drive up the season ticket renewals until we rush out deadline day with a chequebook flush with the funds of a freshly sold Gareth Bale.

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