Manchester United will make their Old Trafford debut for the 2011-12 campaign on Monday versus Tottenham Hotspur. Ahead of the tie, we reached out to Cartilage Free Captain, the Spurs blog on the SB Nation network. Their manager, Kevin McCauley, was kind enough to answer the questions that were posed by you, our readers. Here is his take on the transfer rumors concerning Luka Modric and Emmanuel Adebayor, how they view our injury situation in defense, and the expectations for Spurs by their supporters.
TBB: Will Luka Modric still be there? Spurs manager Harry Redknapp seems to have give up while management has not. How much do you think Modric is valued at?
CFC: I think that Luka Modric will be at Tottenham for the rest of this season. I have a very good feeling that this will end up like the Cristiano Ronaldo or Cesc Fabregas transfer sagas where we hear about it for a year or two and he is eventually sold. The price at which they would let him go is probably £35 million.
TBB: With no substantial additions in the summer transfer window, how does the club hope to move up the table against the likes of Chelsea, City, United, and even Liverpool? Are there young players deemed ready to make an impact for the first team or are new players still a possibility with a couple weeks left in the window?
CFC: The club isn't going to pass any of those teams that you listed without new signings, period. All of our strikers should score at a higher rate than they did last season, but that won't be enough to bring us past Liverpool and Arsenal into fourth place. We're currently very strongly linked to Emmanuel Adebayor, Lassana Diarra, Willian and Bryan Ruiz, but I'm not sure we're going to be signing anyone at all. If we do, it will probably be a deadline deal like Rafael van der Vaart.
More Q&A after the jump...
TBB: A lot of talk regarding Emmanuel Adebayor and a possible loan move to White Hart Lane. Would you approve? If not, would it be because of wage demands, attitude, purely based on ability, or because he is an ex-Gooner? If not Adebayor, do you wish to sign a striker? If you do want one, who would you like?
CFF: I'd approve of Adebayor on loan with City paying half of his wages. We need a striker, he's quality, and his attitude was fine at Madrid. I don't really care that he used to play for Arsenal. William Gallas did as well, and he's been great for us. We need some kind of center forward, whether that be Adebayor or someone else.
TBB: Any general thoughts on facing United with so many injured defenders? Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Rafael, and possibly Patrice Evra will all be out. We feel comfortable with our cover (Chris Smalling, Phil Jones or Jonny Evans, and Fabio) but they are certainly young
CFF: If Manchester United had any of those four players healthy, they would have a back line good enough to shut out Spurs. With all four injured, one of Jones, Evans or Smalling is going to have to play fullback. In that situation, I like the chances of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale to get into dangerous positions, either to cross or shoot themselves. I will be extremely disappointed if Spurs are shut out against such a weak and inexperienced back line with at least one player starting out of position.
TBB: How do you see your chances on being Top 4 this season? Do Spurs want to win the Europa League or will they prioritize a top 4 finish? If Spurs don't finish top 4, do you see a rebuilding project coming. Specifically, would you expect Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart, Modric, or even Redknapp to return?
CFF: This depends on what we do in the transfer window. If we sign a striker and another player without losing Modric, top four is what I want to see us prioritize. If we don't do that, we're favorites for sixth and should probably put a little more emphasis on the cups. If Spurs are not top four or close to it at the end of this season, it would not be surprising to see Bale and Modric leave. Van der Vaart has already played for Madrid and said he wants to keep his family in London, but I believe that Bale and Modric will want to move on to bigger and better things. As for Redknapp, he'll leave if England comes calling and he'll stay if they don't. Either way, I won't be gutted.