Here are some midfielders Tottenham Hotspur could look at in the January transfer window.
Because there's nothing like procrastinating on studying for finals, especially when your laptop is broken I decided I'd follow up yesterday's wish list post with another. Yesterday we discussed strikers that Tottenham Hotspur could/should buy with the leftover money from the Luka Modric transfer deal. We're assuming that there is £20 million pounds left.
Midfield is a tricky area to assess. Obviously we have a lot of central midfielders, all in various stages of health. The real problem that I see is that we have no great passer of the ball. The statue-like (not statuesque) Tom Huddlestone is probably the best passer in the squad, but his lack of mobility provides the team with another set of problems. Tom Carroll is apparently not deemed ready for the bright lights of the Premier League and Jake Livermore seems to have severely regressed. Hopefully the return of Scott Parker will limit the need for another holding player in midfield, that is of course if he comes back close to his former self.
If you had asked me before the season began the place that needed the biggest upgrade (other than striker), I would have told you right wing. Aaron Lennon has been magnificent though this season and I think buying someone to replace him seems silly now. The main disappointments though have been Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Neither have played well, though Dempsey has put in at least a couple of good shifts and seems to be finding his way now. The #10 role seems to be the biggest area for Tottenham to improve.
Joao Moutinho: Tottenham were so close to completing this signing on transfer deadline day. Of course I have to wonder why we didn't try to work out a deal sooner, but who knows why Daniel Levy does anything. Many Spurs fans are so enamored with the Portuguese midfielder and I have to say that I'm with them. Who knows how this season would have gone if we had Moutinho in the midfield with Sandro when Dembele got hurt or how we would have looked with all three playing. Regardless, I think this transfer is incredibly unlikely to happen. I think the price has gone up and some team in Russia will wind up with Moutinho.
Willian: I'd love to say that this transfer is pretty well nailed on. The Brazilian attacker is going to cost a lot of money, but my god is he good. Our biggest competition for his signature is probably Chelsea and Manchester City and both of those teams are loaded with attacking midfield talent. The only problem is that I'm not sure where Willian would play for Spurs. Still, a player of his quality would be nice to have.
Alan Dzagoev: The Russian can play all over midfield and had a stellar campaign at Euro 2012. He, like Moutinho, may have priced himself out of a move to Spurs. Most of the tabloids keep linking him to Spurs even though I'm not sure CSKA Moscow are inclined to sell. In the end it may come down to whether or not Dzagoev wants to leave, but with CKSA top of the table I can't see any reason why he'd want to leave.
Miralem Pjanic: Rumors about Pjanic joining have been going hot and heavy for months now. He seems to be the new "it" player for Spurs. I'd put odds on him joining Spurs pretty high, maybe not quite as high as I would Willian's odds of joining. I'm just a blogger though, so take that with a pinch of salt. The Bosnian playmaker has been fantastic for Zeman's Roma squad. Pjanic is player probably more comfortably playing in midfield (as he does in Roma's 4-3-3) than in the hole as a number 10.
Marvin Martin: If you've been reading this site for a while you know of my lengthy affection for the diminutive Frenchman. I've long argued that Martin is the perfect Modric replacement. Unfortunately a summer move from Sochaux to Lille means he won't be leaving France anytime soon.
Jordy Clasie: First of all, the kid's nicknames is the "Dutch Xavi". To be compared to Xavi is one thing, but to be the Dutch version of him, when there's so many great passers of the ball from Holland is downright spectacular. The Feyenoord midfielder is only 21, but already has two full Eredivisie seasons under his belt. He's not much of a goal threat, so playing in the hole as a number 10 might not be his best role, but as an advanced playmaker in a midfield three with Dembele and Sandro the kid could be amazing...in the future. He's not ready to be a regular starter in the EPL, which basically makes him Tom Carroll.
Kevin Strootman: He's big and he's a good passer with a high work rate. He's comfortable as either a holding midfielder or a deep lying playmaker. His inclusion would likely make Mousa Dembele Tottenham's more advanced player in a midfield three. Strootman has been linked with a number of big clubs, Manchester United and AC Milan included. It would be difficult for Spurs to get him, but he'd be a heck of an acquisition.
Hector Herrera: Now that Giovani dos Santos is gone, Tottenham don't have a Mexican benchwarmer anymore. Pachuca's Herrera is raw, like Clasie, but he's a darn good box-to-box midfielder already. He's solid in all areas, but not ready to be a regular first-team contributor. Additionally, while he's good, I'm not convinced he's much of a step up from Jake Livermore.
Yann M'Vila: The French midfielder has been a lightening rod for controversy, particularly with the French national team. He was recently banned from participating for any national team until June of 2014. M'Vila is a defensive midfielder with a high work rate. He's really quite similar to Sandro and Jake Livermore. I don't think he's enough of an improvement to warrant the high fee and wages he would likely command, plus there's always the potential disruption to team chemistry to take into account.
Etienne Capoue: Another French defensive midfielder. The big Toulouse defender is alright as a passer and is slightly more mobile than Huddlestone, but I don't think he's good enough to be a major upgrade over what Tottenham Hotspur already have.
Mateo Kovacic: Dinamo Zagreb gave Spurs Luka Modric, so why not go back to that well? Kovacic is 18 and has basically only one season of first-team football under his belt. He's yet to be capped by the full international squad either. Taking a shot on Kovacic isn't really going to help Spurs right away, but he would certainly be one for the future.
Radja Nainggolan: I love Belgian players. So, say RAF Captain Scott Parker doesn't come back ever. Nainggolan would be the ideal replacement. A solid ball winner that provides tireless effort and tough tackling. Like Parker he's not terribly big, but his terrier style of play would make him great in the English game.
Keisuke Honda: People always talk about signing Americans in order to court the American market. How about courting a market that actually cares a little bit about football. Japanese midfielder Honda would be perfect. Like CSKA teammate Dzagoev, I'm not sure he'd be inclined to leave and he's been linked with a lot bigger clubs than Spurs, but it would still be a hell of a deal.
Walter Montillo: This guy is 28. Much older than any other person on this list, but the Argentine playmaker would make an excellent solution for Tottenham for another 2 or 3 years. His purchase would give Tom Carroll, Jake Livermore, or one of the younger players on this list time to develop into a first-team regular without blocking them long-term. Montillo is a good finisher and passer and could be an excellent option as a number 10 or in midfield.