BREMEN, GERMANY - APRIL 16: Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke (L) challenges Marko Marin of Bremen (R) during the Bundesliga match between SV Werder Bremen and FC Schalke 04 at Weser Stadium on April 16, 2011 in Bremen, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Well, this is kind of a downer. What little hope I had has now been officially crushed. I think we're all well aware of what Tottenham Hotspur missing out on fourth, and potentially fifth, means. We can argue the merits of playing in Europe versus being able to focus solely on the league until we're blue in the face, but the important issue is how this affects these transfer rumors.
With a fourth place finish Tottenham Hotspur fans could have expected a number of rumors linking Spurs with world class players. There's still going to be lots of rumors, just not with players of the same class. Missing out on the Champions League also means lots of rumors about other teams trying to sneak in a steal some of Spurs' best players. This is not going to be fun.
Disgruntled Bench Player of the Week: Sure, Niko Kranjcar is everyone's cousin and he has, on occasion scored some timely and important goals. He's very useful cover, but I don't think anyone sees him as much more than that. Harry clearly prefers Steven Pienaar to the Croatian (why, I have no idea). Niko has appeared in only 15 games this year (only 4 starts) and is looking for a way out. Reports this week have linked with a move to Fulham (here), but most notably with a trio of Serie A teams. A move to Italy would seem to be a good fit for Niko and at the right price I can't say I'd be to bothered by his departure.
The Departure of The Superstars: Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, and Rafael Van der Vaart have all been linked with big-money moves away from White Hart Lane this week. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich seems ready to spend heavily this off-season as do traditional big spenders Manchester City and Real Madrid. Even Manchester United have been linked with a £60 million move for Bale and Van der Vaart. And it's not just the superstars, even Wilson Palacios has been linked with a move away from the club.I don't see Daniel Levy selling any of these three players to another Premier League club, particularly one that we are competing for Champions League places with.
#WeNeedAStriker: What fun would this post be if I didn't discuss the new striker rumors? This week Spurs have been linked with some new names (who knew there were people out there we hadn't been linked with). First there's FC Lorient's Kevin Gameiro (here). The 23 year-old Frenchman is the second leading scorer in Ligue 1 this year and his pace would make him an excellent back-up (or replacement) for Jermain Defoe. Next is Espanyol's Pablo Osvaldo. The 25 year-old Italian and Argentine striker has scored 11 goals in 20 games for Espanyol this year. I'm less sold on him than I am on Gameiro.
Introducing the New Niko: If Kranjcar leaves who will we use as cover on the wings? While many of us might prefer we use players already on the payroll like Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, and most of all Giovanni Dos Santos it seems likely that Harry will make a move for someone new. The someone seems to be Marko Marin.Werder Bremen's young attacking midfielder wouldn't come cheap, but would certainly be a good addition to the club.
Players You Probably Haven't Heard Of: Maybe you're more versed in world football than I am, but I play a lot of Football manager and I'd never heard of Carlos Henrique Casemiro, Tristan Berghuis, or Issa Kallon (link to all three here). Casemiro is a Brazilian midfielder currently playing for Sao Paulo and that's all I know. He's allegedly being tracked by Juventus. The other two are teenage Dutch players who don't even have Wikipedia articles, which means they can't be very good. In all seriousness, the two had previously had trials at Chelsea and seem to be regarded as big talents despite being only 15 years old.
Player We're Not Linked With But Should Be: This is easily my favorite part of this post, mostly because I get to pretend that I work for The Sun or The Mirror and create a ridiculous rumor based on nothing other than my own personal whim. This week I think we should go after Pablo Piatti 22 year-old Argentine winger for UD Almeria. Almeria look set to make the drop and a move away could be in the cards for Piatti. He's mainly a left winger, so he's cover for Bale (or worst case a replacement) but he can also play in the second striker role. This guy could be a good cheap addition to the squad and a ready made replacement for Kranjcar.
Player We're Most Likely To Actually Buy...This Week: I wanted do avoid talking about the same players that always come up in links to Tottenham, but it looks increasingly likely that Scott Parker will be joining Tottenham Hotspur from West Ham United. With the club looking almost certain to be relegated I wouldn't be surprised if a number of other players, Matthew Upson, Carlton Cole, Demba Ba, etc., are linked with moves away from Upton Park.