Clough, Ferguson, Sherwood

The World Cup year clouds this winter transfer window. Where players in other seasons would work hard to secure a first team spot and await their chance a World Cup year changes all that. Players know they must be playing to have the greatest chance of being selected for their country.

It is natural that you hear noises of discontent from them and their agents or stories leaked from clubs who would like to buy them for knock down prices. If you let a player know he is sought after in today's transfer market he will try to force a move. The best way for him to achieve that is not to try and to be disruptive.

Tim Sherwood is on record as speaking in these terms, he is not concerned by unsettling a few players which is a dangerous game to play. It can produce the type of performance we saw in the first half against Palace so tomorrows game will be a vital indicator of the way things are going.

Managers who appear put their foot down tend to have a short spell of success followed by a loss of the dressing room and a string of bad results. There are exceptions to this of course, Brian Clough springs to mind. Arguably a better manager than Sir Alex Ferguson, not afraid of laying down the law himself, Clough took a Second Division team and turned them into European Champions.

He had previously taken Derby County from the Second Division and won the First Division with them in their first season after promotion In all his success let us not forget Peter Taylor by his side who recommended the purchase of Dave Mackay from us when he was 34.

All Spurs fans and I am no different want a successful Spurs side. Let us hope some of the Brian Clough magic has found it's way to our Tim who tells us Franco Baldini is working on a lot of transfers behind the scenes.

"I think Franco might be working in the background regarding a lot of transfers.

"We've had discussions, yes, but it's sometimes a case of supply and demand. We've got fantastic players here at the club and if we were to lose no-one I wouldn't be shedding any tears.

"But we have to understand that there is pressures from the end of the season with it being the World Cup. Players want to play but my priority is to keep us as strong and competitive as possible, and I wouldn't be making any decisions based on any national team."

He was pressed on whether he would allow players to leave in search of first-team action and gave a revealing answer: "Yes absolutely. As long as they're the right players and the ones that I don't want to take us forwards, then I'm happy.

"You can only go with a certain amount of players, obviously the pressure's on because it's a World Cup year for a lot of these players.

"It's important that they're playing. We can't guarantee that they're going to get maximum game time, but we certainly won't be leaving ourselves short. If no-one left I wouldn't be shedding any tears over that either."

That sends a clear message to anyone sent out on loan this transfer window that 'I don't want you' such as Lewis Holtby, Germany bound it would seem. 

The winter transfer window is a turbulent time, come February everyone has to knuckle down for a World Cup spot so performances should be consistent, until then it's fingers crossed back to hoping rather than expecting three points.

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