The story of the summer transfer window for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club took an unexpected twist yesterday, as Youth Academy product Steven Caulker joined newly-promoted Cardiff City on a permanent basis in a deal thought to be worth around £9 million.
The departure of the 21-year-old defender who made 18 league appearances during his four-year stay at the White Hart Lane-based club - a period punctuated by loan spells at Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Swansea City, coupled with the release of veteran defender William Gallas, leaves Spurs with only three first-choice centre-backs, in club captain Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen.
This leads me to question the timing of this transfer.
While each of the three defenders who are currently part of the squad are accomplished footballers in their own right, leaving the defensive department without adequate cover is probably not the club's wisest decision, especially since Kaboul only just returned to first-team action during the club's pre-season preparations and cannot justifiably be expected to play every single game of the campaign.
Compounding Andre Villas-Boas' headache when it comes to squad selection, Vertonghen's ankle injury may keep him out of action come the start of the Premier League campaign.
Spurs have been credited with interest in the likes of 18-year-old Brazilian defender Doria, Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches and Portuguese centre-back Tiago Ilori as they look for replacements for the departed Caulker.
However, considering the fact that Spurs have not had the best luck securing their transfer targets this summer, with transfer sagas involving Christian Benteke, David Villa, Leandro Damiao and James McCarthy.
Keeping hold of Caulker until the transfer of a defensive target had been secured would have been the most sensible thing for Spurs to do.
Also, irrespective of which of Spurs' reported defensive targets actually end up joining the club over the course of the next month, the club will have lost the valuable Premier League experience that the English international could have offered despite being the club's fourth-choice central defender before his transfer to Cardiff.
From the point of view of the player, the move to the Welsh club that secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time in its history after winning the 2012-2013 nPower Championship could not have come at a better time. He should be guaranteed a berth in the starting XI if he can maintain the impressive levels of performance that endeared him to the White Hart Lane faithful, and regular game-time at Cardiff City will also offer him the chance to compete for a spot in Roy Hodgson's squad for the 2014 World Cup.
However, the premature transfer of the player who many expected to see at White Hart Lane for the next decade could prove to be detrimental to Spurs' chances of competing for the Champions League qualification spots.
Unless they can secure an appropriate replacement for Caulker fast enough for him to become accustomed to the rigours of the Premier League before the absence of the towering Englishman can take its toll, Spurs fans will probably look back at this transfer and wonder why it was ever allowed to happen.
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