Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spurs to Go For Pandev, Micah Richards, Sandro, Mensah, Van Nistelrooy?

Harry Redknapp's January shopping list is beginning to take shape. Spurs are looking to take advantage of Lazio's current strife with Goran Pandev, then move for Micah Richards with David Bentley as bait, while talks with Sandro and Sissoko continue.

With the news that cash-strapped Rafael Benitez may move for Roman Pavlyuchenko in a player plus cash deal. Harry Redknapp has begun to trawl through Europe for a cheap replacement.

Initially Spurs, Liverpool, and Arsenal, were linked with Ruud van Nistelrooy as Real Madrid are looking to offload the 33 year old. It is believed that the Los Blancos would be willing to release the centre-forward on a free transfer just to get his abundant wages off their payroll.

Even if one of the EPL teams met Madrid halfway and paid £50k (half) of van Nistelrooy's wages while Los Galacticos paid the other half, it would represent a saving of just over £1m for them.

However, news that Goran Pandev and Lazio are at loggerheads has made Redknapp turn his attention towards the Macedonian striker.

Last summer, Tottenham made enquiries about the centre forward only to be put off by the £13.5m price tag.

Since then, Pandev has taken the initiative and refused to sign a new contract for the Rome based side, in protest at being priced out of a move last year. He has even gone as far as to demand a free transfer from the club.

With news that the centre forward is out of contract in June and refusing to renew, Harry Redknapp has sprung into action and contacted Lazio on his availability. It is believed that the Aquile may accept as little as £4m for the outspoken star.

This move would allow Roman Pavlyuchenko to leave the club, and it is believed that Rafael Benitez is in pole position to land the Russian star.

Badly in need of a striker, and knowing that Spurs lack a natural left sided player, the Liverpool manager could offer Ryan Babel plus cash for the want-away striker.

Spurs have already made it known to Pavlyuchenko and his advisers that he will not leave for less than they paid for him, some £13.5m, and have already turned down smaller bids from Zenit St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow.

Whether Redknapp would be interested in bringing Babel in remains to be seen. The Dutch youngster has never really been trusted by Rafa, nor has he put in the kind of performances that would make him a player any manager would covet.

As it stands, Redknapp has David Bentley in his squad, and he is more than available for transfer.

Earlier this summer Bentley was linked with a swap deal for Manchester City's Martin Petrov. Mark Hughes is a known admirer of his old Blackburn player, while Petrov was linked with Spurs when Martin Jol was in charge.

But it seems that Bentley will be offered for Micah Richards. The right full has been a bit part player this season amidst claims that his off field escapades in Manchester were intruding upon his professional life.

In an ironic twist, Spurs signed Vedran Corluka from Manchester City in 2008, and it was his moving on that opened the door for Richards to progress, and now it would seem that Redknapp is looking to replace the Croatian with his former prodigy.

The move would seem to fall more on Spurs' side than City's, but Richards is a player they will inevitably replace within the next year anyway, and gaining Bentley for no fee may appeal to Hughes' sensibilities.

Spurs have also been monitoring young Johnathan Mensah of the Free State Stars in South Africa. The powerfully built centre-half come right-full would command a price tag of around £2.5m, but Spurs face stiff competition from Juventus and Aston Villa for the 19-year-old Ghanain prodigy.

Meanwhile, talks with Sandro are believed to be nearing a climax although some news-sites claims that the Brazilian U-20 captain has flown into London are wide of the mark.

The youngster is relaxing on holiday with his family in Brazil but should sign on the dotted line for Spurs before January 1.

Their talks with Moussa Sissoko have hit a glitch, as clubs with larger purses and higher ambitions than Tottenham have entered the fray.

Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Manchester City are all on the lookout for a top class central midfielder and could outbid Spurs if their interest got that far.

Redknapp is also in need of a 'keeper as back up to the gaffe-prone Heurelho Gomes as Carlo Cudicini has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Early 'keepers being linked with a move to White Hart Lane include Rangers Allan McGregor and Watford's Scott Loach.

Both would jump at the move to the EPL, but the size of the fees would be the major stumbling blocks.

Although McGregor is a proven international, and has vast European experience, he would actually be the cheaper of the two goalies on offer.

Lloyds Bank are pulling the strings at Ibrox and would be very willing to listen to offers for any of the Gers players.

Spurs have begun to drift as of late and Redknapp knows as much about his current squad as he is ever going to. He has pinpointed midfield and the right full position as key areas to fix this year, before moving on to 'keeper and left full next summer.

Of course, it remains to be seen who leaves White Hart Lane, but it is safe to say that the likes of Jamie O'Hara, Jermaine Jenas, Vedran Corluka, Alan Hutton, Roman Pavlyuchenko, and Gareth Bale all have large question marks against them.

For Spurs to progress, they all have to move on, but be replaced by quality.