With Sandro out and options up front looking decidedly thin, Tottenham should act now to avoid another late-season burn-out.
Money can't by you happiness, the old saying goes. Well, yes, Comrade IdealWorld, but if you're a Premier League team and the cold bastard drag of winter has brought your campaign to a spluttering standstill, what it might buy you is a new Bosnian battering-ram striker or a second-rate full-back from Ligue 1 who could just inject some much needed warmth into your breeches. If you're willing to stump up the bones and don't ask too many questions, the oft demented January transfer window is an emporium of potential delights and last-minute deals.
While no-one with even the last fibre of sanity sprouting from their ear would recommend that every team's problems can be solved by hosing obscene amounts of cash at the first thing that moves or with a seductive, foreign sounding name - QPR, take note - there are times when a bit of careful spending can be just the ticket: just the thing to get your flailing, faltering or flat-lining campaign up on its legs again. Alex Ferguson routinely pours scorn over the idea of recruitment at this time of year, but he should know more than most that for every Jean-Alain Boumsong or Ricardo Rocha there's a Nemanja Vidić or a Patrice Evra out there waiting to be snaffled up.
It's not an exact science, of course, but last season Spurs could've troubled the Manchester cartel even more had Daniel Levy orchestrated a more inspired double-swoop than Louis Saha and the evergreen Ryan Nelsen. Instead he resolved on flying budget and Spurs rather predictably ran themselves into the ground by playing an unchanged starting eleven for five months straight. He bought poorly, failed to strengthen in key areas - or even bring in adequate understudies for the frazzled first-teamers - and Tottenham now play in the Europa League as a result. Levy's an eminently hard-nosed negotiator, in most instances to the club's benefit, but there are times when his thriftiness can be costly.
And a perceived lack of value in January is no excuse, either. In the same window that Spurs reeled in Saha, Everton and Newcastle bought Nikica Jelavic and Papiss Demba Cissé for £5 million and £9 million respectively. Imagine what their net-bothering might've done for Tottenham while they were losing at home to Norwich or struggling at Loftus Road. Sure enough the Senegalese has had problems with form lately: last season, the Tynesiders nearly went into the stratosphere as a consequence of their inspired purchase in the window.
So, this January, it might be in Tottenham's interest to take a considered risk. Word on the street is that the Lewis Holtby deal has sprung new legs. Whether or not the sudden urgency to get him signed now is a direct result of Sandro's knee-yawp; the negligible fee involved makes it a no-brainer either way. Although entirely different players, you can never have too many German Wünderkids on your books: a maxim to live by.
Elsewhere a new centre-foward might be advisable; lest they face the grisly prospect of a strikeforce made up entirely of half-man-half-lyrical-atom-bomb, Clint Dempsey - should Defoe get himself broken in the near future. In short, though Spurs are doing remarkably well- better than many expected in a transitional period - there's no time like the present to address those weak areas and prevent another end-of-season collapse. And that doesn't mean getting Robbie Keane on loan for two months or Louis Saha on a rolling weekly contract.