There can be few experiences quite as chastening as a 3-0 home humbling in a London derby, particularly when the home team is a previously-impregnable Spurs side chasing Champions League qualification and the victors a lowly West Ham side struggling for goals.
And what a difference that shock result has made on the outlook of Spurs’ season. Now lying in seventh place with a goal difference of just +1, a campaign that seemed set to be built on a miserly defence now looks desperately short of goals.
Having scored only six all season, the joint lowest of all teams in the top half, Andre Villas Boas will be on the look out for firepower in January.
So far big-name signing Roberto Soldado is yet to find the back of the net from open play, while Jermain Defoe’s free-scoring exploits have been restricted to European and domestic cups, with his five Premier League appearances yet to bear fruit. Of their supporting cast, only Gylfi Sigurdsson has found the net on more than one occasion.
And though it remains early days yet for the Spurs era post-Bale, fans can’t help but harbour grumbling concerns about where the goals are going to come from following the departure of their prolific Welshman.
So expect AVB to be linked to number of forwards come January, with reports this morning suggesting that exciting Japanese talent Keisuke Honda is the man the Portuguese boss will be turning to, with the CSKA Moscow forward a free agent on January 1st.
Comfortable in many attacking roles, Honda is a creative livewire with a penchant for the spectacular. Possessing a left foot that boasts many a thunderbolt free-kick for both Japan and CSKA, White Hart Lane could once again be witness to regular goals from midfield.
Honda has long been admired and monitored by some of the biggest sides in Europe, with AC Milan indeed close to securing a £5m deal in the summer, and Spurs are certain to encounter stiff competition for his signature.
Liverpool, Juventus and free-spending Monaco are all said to have registered an interest, while Milan are sure to continue their pursuit. Honda admitted only this week that he will not be renewing his contract in Russia and is prepared to move, but with Spurs having made a net profit over the summer despite a number of big-money incomings – thanks, of course, to the huge Bale fee – they will be in a strong financial position to compete with Europe’s biggest clubs and entice the international to north London.