I don’t know how much to trust the newspaper gossip, especially when there’s not all that much football or actual transfers to write about. Apparently we’re ready to try and tempt Gareth Bale away from Tottenham and, with our reported interest in Tom Huddlestone, there could be the prospect of a similar double deal to the one that saw Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil swap West Ham for Fulham last year.
I’m certainly of the opinion that we need a new left back in the summer. Paul Konchesky’s been an upgrade on what we previously had in that position, but he’s the weak link in an otherwise very solid defence for me. It might be a bit harsh to lay the blame for Benayoun’s goal last weekend solely at his door, but he’s made too many costly mistakes to be assured of his place week in, week out.
The trouble is that Bale’s still learning the art of defending – as evidenced by his own shaky confidence and the recent comments of Harry Redknapp. He’s young enough to improve his defensive ability and the rigid defensive shape that we adopt under Hodgson might help bring that aspect of his game on. On the other hand, he could be a useful option on the left hand side of midfield, too, which has been something of a problem position for us for the last couple of years. But, before you get too excited, the Spurs board might not be so keen on parting with one of their top prospects for the future. There’s also that unenviable Premier League record to consider.
Indeed, Huddlestone – clearly unhappy at the lack of first team football he’s been offered at White Hart Lane – might be the more likely of the two to join us in the summer. The idea of him and Danny Murphy in central midfield does have a certain appeal to it too.