Sherwood ready to trim squad
Published 17/01/2014 | 16:12
Tim Sherwood is prepared to allow some of his fringe players to leave Tottenham this month.
Sherwood inherited a bloated squad when he took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December. The Portuguese went on a vast summer spending spree last year, parting with over £100million to bring in seven new signings, with Gareth Bale leaving for a world-record transfer fee.
Some of them - principally Paulinho and Christian Eriksen - have been successes, but the likes of Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and January signing Lewis Holtby have found their first-team starts hard to come by under Sherwood.
Sherwood admitted he has grown attached to the squad since his promotion to head coach, but the 44-year-old has also developed a ruthless streak as he knows his future at Spurs is likely to depend on whether he is a success or failure this term.
"Yes, absolutely," the Tottenham manager said when asked if he was willing to let players go.
"As long as they're the players I don't want to take us forwards, then I'm happy (to sell them)."
Sherwood revealed that he has held talks with technical director Franco Baldini about who he would like to get rid of in the January window.
"We've had discussions, yes," he said.
"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 you can only go with a certain amount of players and 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."
Central midfield is the most overloaded area in Sherwood's squad.
The Spurs manager has seven players for two positions and he is also considering bringing Tom Carroll back from his loan at QPR.
For that reason, the likes of Capoue and Holtby are now being linked with new clubs. Sherwood denied reports Capoue is set to sign for Napoli, but he did not seem too committed to keeping him at White Hart Lane, either.
"There's no movement (with Capoue) as far as I'm concerned," Sherwood said.
"I think Franco might be working in the background regarding a lot of transfers. I've heard nothing concrete. He's a new player so he's obviously one that I've read a lot of speculation about.
"We have never had an issue between us. The fact is I'm still getting to know some of these new players and I know the other ones better."
Sherwood's knowledge of the development team means he has selected 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb ahead of Holtby and Capoue in recent weeks.
When Sandro and Paulinho return to full fitness, Holtby is likely to move even further down the pecking order.
Sherwood ducked a question regarding the German's future on Friday.
"While they're at the football club, all the players are in my plans," he said.
Even if Holtby and Capoue leave, Tottenham seem reluctant to bring in any new faces given their expenditure last summer.
"If we brought in another player now, would he be settled by the end of the season?" Sherwood said.
"You might get lucky with one or two but the risk over reward might be too great for us."
Sherwood will be looking to make it five league wins from six on Sunday when Tottenham travel to Swansea.
The good news for the 44-year-old is that the squad's injury list has shrunk.
Andros Townsend is likely to play his first match since December 18 after he came through an under-21 game against Newcastle on Tuesday.
Midfielder Sandro could also feature for the first time in a month. Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul have returned to training following their respective ankle and thigh injuries, but they will not be risked for the Swansea game.