NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 303
Submitted by Norman Giller
The January transfer window closes this week with Tottenham teasing us with promises of some good buys and sad goodbyes. Definitely bidding us farewell is our Danish prince Christian Eriksen, bowing out to start afresh with Inter Milan. Parting is such sweet sorrow for a player who gave us his best shots until approaching the final curtain, when he was suddenly a shadow of himself. Hamlet had turned into an omelette.
Coming in – barring last-minute hitches – is Dutch marksman Steven Bergwijn from PSV. He prefers to play on the flanks but can attack down the middle. There have also been overtures made for Timo Werner (Leipzig) and Paco Alcacer (Borussia Dortmund), both central strikers in the Bundesliga and one of whom could at least temporarily fill Harry Kane’s big boots.
The hottest gossip is that Gareth Bale is heading back to Tottenham from Real Madrid. I have reported it a couple of times here on my Spurs Odyssey stage following tip-offs from Spanish contacts, but I won’t believe it until he is back in a Lilywhite shirt.
Our season remains alive and kicking while we are challenging for the FA Cup, but the Southampton hurdle is still to be cleared in a replay at the new Lane on February 5. Our guru Paul H. Smith tells the tale HERE of how Spurs managed to clinch a place in the fifth-round draw. The eventual winners have the incentive of a home tie against Norwich City, bottom of the Premier League and against whom Spurs were recently victorious 2-1.
The best thing about the drawn duel at Southampton was the midfield performance of Giovani Lo Celso. He was always inventive and imaginative, and his wondrous part in the Sonny goal deserved to be captured in oils.
I got myself into a dispute on Twitter when I shot down critics of Eriksen, who said he had never made as stunning a run with which Lo Celso opened up the Southampton defence to create the Tottenham goal.
It was in my opinion unfair to turn Lo Celso’s magical contribution into a stick with which to beat Eriksen. The Dane has (up to this season) been a magnificent servant for Spurs, but never pretended to be a Lo Celso sort of player, who is more in the mould of the much-missed Moussa Dembele.
At his peak, Eriksen would have created Sonny’s goal with a 30-yard cross field pass, equally as effective as the Argentinian’s eye-catching run. He and Lo Celso have a different way of playing the game, and ideally, they should be operating in tandem for Tottenham. But not to be.
Farewell Christian and thank you for delighting our eyes with your skilled performances (repeat, up to this season). Since his Premier League debut with Tottenham back in September 2013 he has assisted in the most goals (62), created most chances (570) and scored the most goals (23) from outside the box, including a record eight from direct free kicks! Astonishing statistics. Even Luka Modric would have envied these figures.
That is some act to follow. Please pass these stats on to all those you see sniping and sneering at the great Dane as he takes his leave.
Now get ready for February. It’s going to be a tough journey, starting with Manchester City at home on Sunday.
Fasten your safety belts. I wonder who will be coming through the window to make life easier? Over to you, Mr. Levy.
Please note that fresh off the press I have a new batch of Shooting Spurs books that give facts and figures on every player who has scored more than 100 goals for Tottenham since the club’s launch in 1882.
Introduced by golden oldie Cliff (159 goals) Jones, the book costs just £9.99 and you can get signed copies from me at www.normangillerbooks.com. All profits go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train.
Come on, hands in pockets to help those great players who have now hit health problems in their old age, mostly as a result of the efforts they made on the pigsty pitches of the good old, bad old days. Thank you.
Question No 26 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:
Which East Ender scored 89 goals in 236 matches for Tottenham, scored his penalty in a Uefa Cup final shootout and which eventual England manager signed him from Spurs in 1986?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL26@normangillerbooks.com.
Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question
with three points at stake. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the
logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is
based on opinion rather than fact.
Last week’s SOQL question: Which former Tottenham captain was selected for the 2010 World Cup finals and which rival Premier League player did he belatedly replace in the international squad?
The answer: Michael (all heart) Dawson, who was recalled to the final World Cup squad after Man United legend Rio Ferdinand had pulled out. Many of you dropped points by naming Ledley King, who was always in the squad. The key word was ‘belatedly’. At last we have broken that log jam at the top of the SOQL table, but there are still more than 40 of you sharing the lead :-)
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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