Not In The Know, with B.O.
A new, occasional column with its finger completely off the pulse. Please shoot the messenger.
The surprise is its total and complete lack of surprise. In less than a fortnight, Spurs have lost our number one and now number two choices to lead the line next season. Fans on sites like this heard for weeks how David Villa wanted to come, then how Benteke fell in love with our training ground, how their agents said they had chosen Spurs, how they were looking forward to pulling on the lilywhite, and then just as we were ordering their name on the back of the new 2013/14 shirt… a media story broke showing our ‘done deals’ had been well and truly undone. Cue: hideous wails and violent teeth-gnashing on this and all other Spurs forums.
Just as we were expecting David Villa to stroll down Hotspur Way, he was suddenly and thoughtlessly, callously, unveiled by Athletico Madrid. Then last night, Christian Benteke, performing a u-turn that Scotty ‘puppy chasing its tail’ Parker would be proud of, signed a new, improved deal at Aston Villa.
Something had gone wrong. Lady Bracknell – whose judgmental righteous indignation would see her fit in well in the ITK forums – might have suggested: To lose one “nailed on” striker could be regarded as unfortunate. To lose two looks like carelessness.
So what went wrong? Why haven’t Spurs been able to get the strikers we want to sign on the line?
We wooed David Villa for months. We sent presents to Spain. We visited him in Brazil. The courting period was long and the yearning on our side was clear. Imagine our shock when he batted his eyelashes and intimated he might be interested in linking up. Of course, it helped that he caught a glimpse of our impressive Bale in action. Who could resist those bulging Welsh thighs?
But then, one balmy evening, David Villa announced his agreement with Athletico Madrid. They paid Barcelona significantly less than Spurs had offered, but were able to give the player Champions League football and the chance to stay in his home country. And he took that chance… like the cock tease he is.
Spurs had to move on and did. Surely we wouldn’t let such heart break happen again.
After all, our second choice to lead the line, Christian Benteke, was a very different proposition. Daniel Levy, our long-pocketed short-armed Chairman, had to sanction a club record 25 million pounds bid for the young, strapping Belgian. This time the love was a little too open, a little too whirlwind. He and his agent were commenting every day how much they wanted us. “There’s no one else but Spurs.” It felt safe to love again. Benteke visited the training ground, we were told, and like a young couple on a dirty weekend in Brighton, enjoying fish and chips on the pier and a night between the sheets in the Grand Hotel, he and Levy parted with promises of a future together. Christian just had to go and tell ‘er indoors.
Imagine Spurs’ surprise as Benteke suddenly decided to stay in the marital home after all. Thanks for that lost weekend and the memories, hand-in-hand, taking me up the Lanes, but I’ve decided to give it another go with Paul Lambert.
First David, now Aston. Given our clear problems negotiating around Villas, it is more than a little worrying that our next striker choice, Valencia’s Roberto Soldado, takes us to a seaside Spanish city.
Who knows what kind of lustful romance will bloom between us and Soldado in the weeks ahead. What might it take for a striker to finally commit to us?
Fans are telling Levy to send the bouquets of roses, snag a table at a fancy restaurant, get out his massive wad (strikers love wads). We worry that his usual policy of a bargain all-you-can-eat buffet at the local Harvester while whispering about the treats in store if they only come back to his place - “It’s state-of-the-art, the best in Europe. All the top clubs in Europe are jealous of it. And I’m building an amazing new home where we can create our legacy.” – might not be enough to seal the deal.
Daniel Levy is a man of principle. I like that he shows a certain inflexibility in negotiations. Apparently paying over 18 million pounds incurs a higher rate of tax, which may explain why our biggest deals have all been around 15-17m. Breaking an overall squad wage cap means we have to rely too much on younger players if we have too many major stars. Buying a house for family members, as was rumoured with Alen Halilovic (deal basically done for the talented Croatian play-maker but suddenly falls apart just at the last minute… sound familiar?), is dangerous as where do you draw the line, either for his extended family or future players? You can’t just give in during negotiations, no matter how much your target demands.
Likewise, we stick to our principles in conducting our business in private. While Benteke and his agent might have shared intimate details of what happened under the sheets in that metaphorical hotel room in Brighton, we tried to keep quiet, retain our dignity, protect our reputation.
But as the days and weeks pass this summer, Daniel Levy increasing feels like the single woman in her mid-40s trawling the dating sites, going out on twice-weekly blind dates, searching for the man of her dreams, and finding her uncompromising nature and inflexible demands are leading to a life alone.
Will Levy find the man of his dreams or will he be there, approaching midnight on September 2nd, desperately searching the bar for the last single man standing, looking to thrust his tongue down the nearest throat and tie down anyone still sober and sensible enough to score?
I can't be the only Spurs fan to wake at night in a cold sweat at this thought. Or if I was, then I doubt I am anymore. You're welcome.