Around about the time of my earliest memories of the all-action-no-plot universe – I’d say approximately 1987 – all I wanted for Christmas was the toy truck thing from Thundercats. For John Bostock and other unfeasibly young Spurs players, Thundercats was the greatest cartoon ever. It followed the extremely action-packed lives of a bunch of heroic human-feline hybrids who were armed with a sword which grew bigger if swung around occasionally, and an absolutely brutal truck, with great big claws that could plough through walls and generally cause mass destruction en route to achieving a greater good. The truck rocked, and a toy version was exactly what any sensible, well-adjusted six year-old all-action-no-plotter would want for Christmas. However, that yuletide my parents rather perplexingly bought me a She-Ra*annual instead.
The Spurs management seem to pursue a similarly baffling transfer policy. As the January window approaches I can’t help but hope that the dream present will be bought, a modern-day Thundercats tank, to sit in front of our back four and boss the midfield. However, those with the power to buy will almost inevitably purchase something unnecessary, unwanted and completely inappropriate. Such as Younes Kaboul, the Premiership equivalent of a She-Ra annual. Like Kaboul, and indeed my She-Ra annual, the new signing will be peered at out of politeness, put on display once or twice in the following weeks, then left to gather dust.
For years, as long as I can remember, we’ve needed a defensive midfielder. The Premiership equivalent of a Thundercats tank thing, with great big moving claws, and the capacity to plough through walls and generally cause mass destruction en route to achieving a greater good – it’s exactly what Spurs need. Didier Zokora is not such a beast. He may have his moments, and a penchant for those Benny Hill-esque dashes upfield. He may occasionally offer an extra body in defence, causing confusion in opposition minds if not exactly instilling fear in their hearts. He may even, most surreally, be courted by Real Madrid and their fabulous new manager Wendy Ramos, whilst also catching the eye of that doyen of English management, Tony Adams, at Portsmouth – but Didier Zokora is not the defensive midfielder par excellence that Spurs have been crying out for since the days of the three wise men and the ad hoc duvet in a manger. Zokora really ought only to be keeping the seat warm for someone else.
Our need for a holding midfielder is hardly rocket science, yet it seems to have bypassed one manager after another. Instead, in recent years we’ve seen Bent, Bentley, Modric, Giovanni, Kaboul, Prince-Boateng and Pavluychenko brought in – all players of some quality, but none of whom have addressed the real problem area. To paraphrase Alanis Morissette, it’s like needing a spoon, and spending about one hundred million pounds on a set of fancy foreign knives. More idiotic than ironic.
A Thundercats truck of a defensive midfielder is not the only thing we need this Christmas – with ‘Arry seemingly unconvinced of Gareth Bale’s quality it seems we might pursue a left winger/midfielder, as well as another centre-back, striker, goalkeeper and possibly a couple of full-backs. A full team then. ‘Arry has a good reputation in the transfer market, and has been at the Lane long enough to get an idea of the squad deficiencies – he certainly moans about them enough – so maybe, just maybe, we’ll get those things we truly crave this Christmas. Or, alternatively, maybe we’ll tear off the warpping paper and have to feign surprise as another unwanted player is brought into the squad, soon to be discarded, with Younes Kaboul and the She-Ra annual.
*She-Ra was He-Man’s female cousin