And “The Project” is under way at Three Point Lane

Sam Smith, the Chelsea Outsider

By now you’ve probably heard that Spurs have handed the reins to former Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas, which means that he’s now embarking on his second “project” in a calendar year. Here’s hoping this one is as big a success as the last one.

I don’t say that because I’m a hater (although I might be, just a little). I’d probably wish AVB well had he landed somewhere else in Europe. And my fellow RMBs know that I have always contended that someday he’ll come good, especially if he’s smart enough to learn some lessons from his disastrous few months at the Bridge. The transition at White Hart Lane ought to be a tad easier in one sense: Spurs don’t really have any legends in the locker room to alienate.

On the flip side, Tottenham doesn’t have Roman Abramovich’s deep pockets, either. Which makes me wonder about the latest rumoring. As Julian “The Application” Bravo was reporting over on the Facebook page, there is now some racket being made that Spurs will buy Hulk and/or João Moutinho. One can’t help wondering: with whose money, exactly. Porto appears to have the Hulkster badly overpriced (Chelsea is balking at the price tag, it isn’t like every other top club in Europe is lining up to submit a bid, and the lack of vultures circling ought to tell you something, right?) and they also think pretty damned highly of JM, who Spurs seem to think is a replacement for Luka Modric.

Porto value Moutinho at around £28 million which would likely be around the same fee they can expect from Modric’s sale. Villas-Boas would have to convince Levy to sanction a club-record fee for Moutinho, significantly more than the £16.75 million they paid Dinamo Zagreb for Modric in 2008.

Maybe. I guess if you can’t hold onto Modric Moutinho is a respectable plan B, but if you come out of that exchange having paid more for Moutinho than you got for Modric I’m not sure how much respect I have for your bargaining skills.

Then all you have to do is figure out how to pay for Hulk. Sell Van der Vaart? Hey, if you wait a year you can use the cash you’ll get when Gareth Bale forces a sale to Real.

In any case, it’s all good news for the Blues, especially if The Project’s machinations drop the Croatian Pirlo in our laps. Hulk is a fine young player, but Modric is a difference-making engine in the midfield. The idea of him as the go-forward half of RdM’s holding pair in the 4-2-3-1 (or as the center of the three-man attacking mid line with Lamps and Obi sitting behind him), with the likes of Hazard, Mata and Torres in front of him, that ought to keep Prem managers awake at night for years to come.


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