Lloris is not indispensable & Lamela v Giovanni Dos Santos

Hugo Lloris says he will consider his options if we don't make top 4. Speaking on French TV he said:

“The objective is to reach the Champions League. After that, it’s to close the gap on the biggest teams in the league.

“Without Champions League football? I’ve not thought about it. I must weigh things up at the end of the season.”

A quality player considering his position in those circumstances is no surprise, players came here to qualify for and play in the Champions League. It is only natural they may want to leave if we don't achieve their and our objectives.

Sometimes we are lucky and can hang on to a player for an extra season the way we did with Gareth Bale. It was imperative two seasons ago we qualified to keep Bale, as it was we persuaded him to give us an extra year before making a mint out of his sale to boyhood dream team Real Madrid. Had we qualified back then, then we would have attracted players of Champions League quality and we would then also have needed to qualify last season as the team improved.

Each season we do not qualify sets us back. What many fans fail to grasp is that opponents improve, Arsenal are a case in point, from being arguably worse than us but finishing above us they have improved beyond us. Improving is about setting standards and goals. If we are buying players we have to buy players of Champions League and top 4 standard otherwise they are not improving what we have, just changing it.

Naturally that costs, but it doesn't have to cost the earth. The route we have chosen is buy young, improve, sell and/or keep the best. To this end we buy players we being capable or shortly to be capable of that standard.

To some Spurs fans what I'm about to say will be sacrilege, but Hugo 'mistake a game' Lloris is not indispensable. He is an excellent keeper make no mistake but there are plenty of excellent keepers around and many who make far less mistakes than he does.

I'd be happy if he stayed beyond this season but I wouldn't be unduly concerned if he left. To a keeper Spurs are an attractive proposition. A top 5 club with desire to take the next step. It makes sense to put yourself in with a chance of getting Champions League football rather than a mid table team, there are not that many clubs around the world with the opportunity we provide, nor the worldwide exposure.

There is one area in all this though that causes me concern, one area not greatly talked about but crucial to our success and that's our scouting network. I remember an interview years ago with Sir Alex Ferguson I think when he talked about the work done prior to signing a player. Quite apart from his ability on the field, potential etc, he as a person was looked at.

Would he fit in the dressing room, did, most importantly, he have the right attitude, the right hunger, the right desire. Did he have the confidence to handle the pressure, not just for signing for a big club, but for the expectation to win, the outside media pressure.

The person as well as the player were totally assessed before any purchase and that all takes time. I sometimes wonder if we are as thorough as that, I sometimes wonder if we look at the individual and his desire for instance enough.

All this nonsense talk of he didn't get a run of games or he didn't get a fair chance is nonsense. When you are selected that is your chance, that is when you have to take it, you have to perform. Being able to do that is what separates the wheat from the chaff, the top quality from the merely very good.

I didn't see Nabil Bentaleb needing a whole run of games, one sub performance and everyone sat up and took notice. Gary Neville commented that he looked as though he had been playing for years. contrast that with someone like Giovanni Dos Santos who had totally the wrong attitude.

It is a bit of a double edge sword buying a player though. On one hand if you buy some established quality and you don't provide top 4 they will look to leave, on the other if you buy potential it comes with it's own set of problems.

If you buy youth then the player has a lot of growing up to do as a person, football is a shielded profession and footballers can often grow up slower than the man or boy in the street.

Do we buy young and accept we are going to have adjustment problems like Argentine Erik Lamela for instance or do we wait a few years and have to pay a higher price when they have developed.

Our policy is geared towards youth, not entirely but the majority of it. We therefore have to give players like the aforementioned Lamela the time to learn a new language for instance. Fans seem to forget communication on and off the field is vital. Once he can communicate with his teammates, the staff and feel confident in an alien country then he'll have the confidence to show his ability on the park.

It is more difficult for someone like him than it is for someone like Giovanni Dos Santos who could already communicate and had none of the multitude of problems that come with a language barrier.

It's a bit like a game of chicken, will he wait for that day, will we wait for that day or will his frustration get the better of him and his attitude turn. Only time will tell on that one.




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