Hutton deal close

Last updated : 03 January 2008 By Gareth Davies
It has been reported that the club are in discussion with Glasgow Rangers over a move for Scotland international Alan Hutton. The twenty-three year-old right back has impressed for club and country this season and has caught the eye of both Newcastle and Manchester United. With a fee of around £8m being mooted, the potential transfer of Hutton to White Hart Lane raises some serious questions about the clubs stance toward the January transfer window.
Daniel Levy spoke little more than a week ago on the subject of the window in order to quell speculation surrounding the future of Dimitar Berbatov as well as to inform fans that there would not be any major changes to the squad in the coming month. In fact his exact words were: "We are all clear that the January window is the worst time to buy quality players so we shall not be doing any business that is not essential."

Ok, fair enough. It makes sense for the club to want to leave Ramos to make big changes in the summer, giving him the rest of the season to assess the team's strengths and weaknesses. It is also true that it is more difficult to buy top quality players in January with clubs unwilling to allow their most prized assets to leave in the middle of the season. But where does Hutton fit into this? Does his transfer represent 'essential business'?

Firstly, though forlorn on the left side of defence, we already have several right-backs at the club, one of whom - Pascal Chimbonda - is a recognised, talented Premiership standard defender. How can buying another right footed defender be essential? Unless Chimbonda is on the verge of leaving. Yet the speculation surrounding the Frenchman's future has died down since he was linked with a move to Chelsea in the summer.

Secondly, what does Levy's jibe about 'quality' players being unavailable in January say about Hutton (or Gunter for that matter). Levy knows only too well that British players are subject to horrendous price hikes in the mid season transfer window, are we really that desperate that we'd pay such a vast sum for a player unproven in the Premiership when there are other, left-sided options available.

The fact is, however, that this deal really does appear to be on, and the only logical conclusion is that either Ramos has lost faith in Chimbonda or he is leaving, with the former being more likely if this deal is as real as its being reported it is. With the way in which the club has been behaving in terms of transfers over the past year, I have the feeling nothing will surprise me this January.