A fairly big couple of months is about to confront Harry Redknapp and his band of merry men.
A charge of 11 games unbeaten has catapulted his Tottenham side into a new stratosphere as whispers continue to poor out of the Lane that a title challenge is abound, but before that they must negotiate the choppy seas of the festive period in more ways than one.
Spurs face a fixture list over Christmas that could potentially set them up for a successful second half of the season having done some of the hard slog already; early season fixtures against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have given way to a run against the likes of Stoke, Sunderland Norwich and Swansea.
Amidst the flurry of fixtures however Redknapp has another decision to make – if a title challenge really is on the cards, does he stick or twist in the transfer market this January?
Tottenham’s financial limitations are well known; the £70,000 pay ceiling that currently inhibits Redknapp’s desires somewhat and the limited White Hart Lane capacity that staunches a lucrative cash flow means the best of the best usually don’t head to White Hart Lane, especially not in the highly-inflated winter window.
So that begs the question, is it worth Redknapp bringing anyone in to aide what would be the defining moment of his career?
Of course there are areas that could be improved in the Tottenham team. Although Benoit Assou-Ekkoto is much improved of late he is still some way short of those around him while Vedran Corluka as cover on the right hand side of defence is a disaster waiting to happen.
More strength in depth could also be added up front after the departures of Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch, while with Emmanuel Adebayor’s loan move some way off becoming permanent and Roman Pavlyuchenko seemingly destine to leave in January, Redknapp could find himself at the end of the season with only one out-and-out striker on his books.
But last year, January appeared to have addled the brains of most managers as four forwards - Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Darren Bent and Andy Carroll - all moved clubs for a staggering £145 million combined fee. There is simply no value to be found in the transfer market, especially mid-way through the season.
He faced a similar dilemma over the summer. With the flat feeling that comes with staring at the Champions League party from outside in the Europa League and Chelsea courting Luka Modric, the walls threatened to cave in on all he had built.
It was a make or break moment; another season in the European wilderness and surely the likes of Rafael Van Der Vaart, Gareth Bale and indeed Modric would surely depart for pastures new and rather than staying in the hunt for the top four they would be cast adrift.
Redknapp stood his ground over the summer and is now reaping the rewards and basking in the praise that flows unremittingly towards him.
While all those around him lost their heads as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United stockpiled for the season he kept his and bought in just three players for a sum total of £5.5 million – a 40-year-old on a free transfer, a known trouble maker and a Championship midfielder, albeit one that was awarded the writers player of the season last time round.
Now his side are being touted as one of the most complete packages on offer thanks to his astute nature and nose for a deal.
The former Portsmouth man has always wrestled with his image of the ultimate transfer wheeler-dealer – so much so he exploded with rage at the proposition he likes to dabble and take a punt with a expletive-ridden tirade at a hapless Sky Sports interviewer last season.
But a leopard can never change his spots and Redknapp, if not a wheeler dealer, certainly knows a bargain when he sees one – and that ability will surely be tested in the murky waters of January.
Gary Cahill, Jan Verthonghen, Didier Drogba and have all been touted as Spurs-bound. All excellent players, and in the case of Cahill likely to represent good value with his contract coming to an end, but would he for example improve a Spurs defence that has shipped only eight goals in their last eleven games?
Would Drogba get a sniff of action with Adebayor ably filling the role of muscle up front? These are the questions Redknapp must find the answer to.
He must also decide whether there is any use in potentially upsetting the equilibrium when everything seems so finely poised at White Hart Lane, whether anything can be added or any value can be found – it could have a profound effect on what could be his final and potentially glorious season in charge before England come calling.
Over to you, Harry.
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