Luis Fabiano a Target for Tottenham As Redknapp Looks To Top-Four Finish
Luis Fabiano, Sevilla's Brazilian striker, is still hot on Harry Redknapp's radar, despite being cup-tied for the Champions League, and it now looks as if the Spurs boss will do his best to move heaven and earth to bring the player to White Hart Lane.
Redknapp is said to have tracked the striker all summer and sees him as the man to lead Spurs back into the top four come May. The striker's flexibility would also give Redknapp the option to use a 4-2-3-1 type system, as he feels that none of his current crop of forwards can be played in the fashionable formation.
The main stumbling blocks over the proposed move seem to be his age, transfer fee, and wage demands. But, the Tottenham Hotspur boss is working round the clock to convince his chairman that the striker is the world class talent who the club needs to move on to the next level.
Perhaps, the biggest barrier in the way of the Brazilian's move to White Hart Lane is how Tottenham tapped up Sevilla's former manager, Juande Ramos. His move to White Hart Lane is still a very sore point in Seville, and Los Rojiblancos are keen to extract their pound of flesh from Daniel Levy, having felt that they were wronged by him before. This has led to the transfer fee for Spurs rising above other inquiries.
Levy has a very firm outlook on how his club should be run and, he blocked Redknapp's advance's for 40-year-old David James and 31-year-old Matthew Upson last season, when his manager tried to convince him that those players would guarantee Spurs a place in the top four.
In the end, Levy stood firm and Heurelho Gomes and Michael Dawson, the two players most likely to miss out, were hailed as two of the biggest heroes in Tottenham's historic season.
How he feels about 29-year-old Fabiano remains unclear, but it would seem fair to suggest that no bid will be made on the player until Redknapp ships out one of Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane, Jermaine Defoe, or Roman Pavlyuchenko and reduces the wage-bill accordingly.
Fabiano would be available on a free transfer next summer, but Redknapp feels that the time is right for Spurs to move now for a player who would normally be out of their price range. Next June, as a free agent, Fabiano would be able to demand the kind of wages that the Lilywhites wage structure could not match, however, they could conceivably afford to fit him into their strict wage structure this year as his wage demands would be likely to be smaller.
Supremely strong, incredibly quick, technically excellent, and with a laser like eye for goal, Fabiano has no shortage of admirers. But, for the time being, most are being put off by Sevilla's demands of around £16 million for a player who would be available for free next summer.
The problem that Spurs face is that the teams they are competing with for Fabiano's signature, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan, can all offer the player double in wages than that of the Premier League side. But, they do not need to sign him now and can wait until January to negotiate.
Redknapp is under pressure to consolidate Tottenham's position in the top four and is trying to convince Levy to move for the striker now.
However, Levy has severe reservations about the player. He does not like the idea of paying £16 million for a 29-year-old with no re-sale value, nor does he like the idea of that kind of outlay for a player who would be available at a huge knock down price in January or for free next summer.
He also has concerns about the fitness of the player.
Since 2005, Fabiano has only played 127 league games from 190, which basically means that he has missed almost two seasons through not being available for one reason or another. It also gives the Brazilian an average of just 25 games a season, in a less physically demanding league.
History dictates that most players take one to two years to get used to the style of play in the league, but even then, there are always players who are unable to deal with its physical demands. For instance, Robin van Persie has only played 133 league games from 230, and has only started 81 of those 133.
While Arsenal may be able to cope with a player like van Persie missing out, both in terms of wages and playing staff, Spurs do not have that luxury.
Levy would much rather wait for January before moving for Fabiano, if forced to, but would really rather his manager look at other younger options like Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko, even though the transfer fee might be £10 million more.
Redknapp knows that he needs at least four strikers to compete on every front this season, and if he sells one of his players, he also knows that his chairman will, more or less, back him on the Fabiano deal.
To that end, it comes as no surprise to find that both Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch are being touted out around the Premier League.
Redknapp fell out with Keane over the Irish striker organizing a Christmas trip to Dublin for the team behind his back last season, while he has consistently denied rumours of Peter Crouch's sale.
That being said, it has not stopped growing speculation linking the striker with potential moves to Everton, Stoke, or Sunderland.
It would appear that the strikers best placed to move on from Tottenham Hotspur are Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Keane is rumoured to have been offered, along with Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley, as bait to Aston Villa for Ashley Young. While Sunderland, Wolves, Birmingham, and Fulham are all also said to be interested in the Dubliner's services.
However, selling Keane at this juncture would be the wrong thing to do for Redknapp, as the Irishman is the only striker on Tottenham's books who is capable of dropping deep and playing as a creative force as well as a goal-scoring one.
Defoe plays off the shoulder of the last defender and suits a counter attacking style, while Crouch has a deceptively deft touch for a big man, but is best utilised as a target man, rather than a lone striker who brings others into the game. Pavlyuchenko has a little bit of every Tottenham forward in him, but comes across as a jack of all-trades, but master of none.
If Spurs were to bring in another striker, Redknapp would be best served in moving the Russian striker on, but there are not going to be many takers on Tottenham's £10-£15 million demands in this current climate.
Marseille was interested in Pavlyuchenko during the summer, but only if their proposed move for Loic Remy fell through. The news that the former-Nice striker has passed a heart test, following the worrying discovery in his medical, has rubber stamped his £15 million transfer. So that avenue has closed.
Another player who interests Redknapp is Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra. The ex-Portsmouth player has been told that he has no future at the club, and his agent contacted scouts at Tottenham to inform them of his availability.
Spurs then offered to take him on-loan, but Los Blancos have developed a new spend-thrift attitude since Jose Mourinho took over and want £8.5 million for the midfielder.
There is little doubt that 'Arry would love to bring the midfield powerhouse to White Hart Lane, that he is a player he rates highly, and at £8.5 million he is a real bargain. However, his exorbitant wages at Madrid would prove to be a stumbling block for most teams, and he would have to cut his weekly take home rate by almost half if he was to move to White Hart Lane.
Given most teams lack of movement in the summer transfer window, it would look as if Spurs will hold off their major spending until they secure a place in the Champions League proper, and might even hold back further until January before moving for players like Fabiano or Diarra.
The problem, as Redknapp knows, is that these players are top class and will have no shortage of suitors come winter.