BANGKOK, THAILAND - JULY 24: Yossi Benayoun #10 of Chelsea contests the ball with Dagno Siaka of Thailand during the pre-season friendly match between the Thailand All Stars and Chelsea at Rajamangala National Stadium on July 24, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Earlier today, Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun tweeted (I'm not sure if the account is legitimate, but pretty much everyone else says he is, so hey. You win, democracy) that he was in negotiations with 'several' teams, which presumably means that he's expecting to leave Stamford Bridge before the transfer window is out and that the Blues are actively shopping him rather than simply fielding inquiries from interested teams.
Benayoun, of course, hasn't been as involved with the club as a player of his qualities might have hoped following a move from Liverpool last summer, but that's hardly his fault what with him sustaining a ruptured Achilles tendon very early in the season and taking all year to get back. The Israelis a good player, but probably no more than a backup ona Chelsea team that's trying to get younger in a hurry, and with the £23.5M signing of Juan Mata from Valencia he's probably expendable.
We already know that Arsenal are in the picture - Sky Sports have reported that the Gunners have made a bid and that Newcastle are also interested, but his final destination is a matter of some speculation. But there's mindless conjecture and then there's thinking something through, so let's have a pop at figuring out which of 'several teams' he'll most likely end up with. where is he likely to go, if he's talking to 'several teams'?
There's a pretty obvious answer in terms of need and fit, actually: Tottenham Hotspur. Rumours have been flying around about a deal for weeks, first as a makeshift in a potential Luka Modric deal and then as a standalone transfer. Apparently, Yossi himself has discussed a potential move to Spurs in private, although that's obviously impossible to confirm one way or another. Anyway, there are a few reasons this might make some sense.
The big one is the recent hamstring tear suffered by Rafael van der Vaart during the 5-1 home loss against Manchester City. The Dutch playmaker is an excellent player when fit, but unfortunately for Spurs he's also extremely fragile and they have very little in the way of backup. Benayoun could fill that role, and Spurs need someone to fill that role until van der Vaart returns.
Tottenham also have something Chelsea want. Although Spurs have claimed that the Luka Modric chase is over, Chelsea should still probably be inclined to sell to a team which they want something out of. Using Benayoun to knock down Modric's price makes a lot of sense for Michael Emenalo and company.
And finally, Benayoun is the sort of player Harry Redknapp seems inclined to admire, having done well in his six year stint in the Premier League. His quality has been adequately proven, he provides an alternative tactical option, and is good cover for van der Vaart when he inevitably gets injured.
Spurs might not be Benayoun's destination, but right now they're probably the best bet. What is almost certain is that when September first dawns, the Israeli will not be a Chelsea player.