Aaaaaaaaaand, I thank you.
Robbie Keane is back, making a mockery of Liverpool, Tottenham’s transfer policy and Keane himself. Yes, I know. We never wanted to sell him in the first place. It’s not been a pretty transfer window, has it? Or has it?
Re-signing someone we sold has been the general trend that Levy and Redknapp have adhered to this month. Financially we’ve written off a lot of debt (and the £8M more we spent to bring back Jermain Defoe cancels out the £8M we got from Liverpool for our Irish loan deal star). The whole sorry state of the Keane affair rests with the politics at Anfield between Rick Parry and Rafa Benitez.
“You want Gareth Barry? He’ll cost us £18M. I'm not bidding £18M for Barry. Let’s sign Robbie Keane instead for £20M. What’s that? You don’t want Robbie Keane? Tough. He’ll have to do”
You can't blame Keane too much. Boyhood dreams are hard to ignore. The obvious downside is that we’ve not had him for the past six months and his form and confidence is shot. Although if we had of kept him in the summer, re-signing Jermain Defoe from Pompey might not have happened. Then again we probably would have signed Defoe regardless. Even though both players don’t exactly have the best working relationship on the pitch, it’s doubtful Harry would have ignored the opportunity even if it doesn't make logical sense. He'll have to work out this particular conundrum in 10 weeks from now.
Defoe picking up a nasty injury (which did not apparently exist prior to him signing for us and occurred during an indoor training session) has more or less forced us into re-signing Keane.
10 weeks without JD means we could not afford to place all hopes on just Pav and Bent. And that Utd kid. Whatshisface. Fact is, as ridiculous as this whole back and forth transfer merry-go-round is and the added risk that Keane might not be the same player he was when teamed up with Berbatov there was no better option out there for us. Better the devil you know. He's scored over 100 goals for us. He has that urgency we need and he’ll hit the ground running, probably with the aim to appease the Spurs fans that are uncertain about his return and more so Liverpool and Benitez for letting him go so soon.
He’s still eligible for a winners medal (under PL Rule 22c) so he won’t be able to play in the game up at Anfield on the final day of the season if Liverpool are still in with a chance to grab the title. Major conflict of interest. But it’s far more likely he will play as Utd will have been crowned champions long before that game. Let’s hope we don’t have to win there to stay up.
Liverpool fan at work was positively beaming this morning, telling me to ‘…have your crap back’. That's £8M worth of crap, thank you very much.
As for the fans that are banging on about how we should have signed Arshavin in the summer. Well yes, possibly but Zenit are an atrocious excuse for a football club when it comes to dealing with payments. And AA along with his agent have managed to whore themselves across Europe waving their knickers and flashing anyone who dares to look in such a shameless and embarrassing way that the positive hype has been drained out of the whole affair.
Arsenal have completed the longest drawn out panic buy in Premiership history. The player is joining the only club that showed an interest in him, he’s that desperate for a big money move. Not that Arsenal are a bad choice if playing in England is 'his dream' for the week. If he reignites their push for 4th spot he’ll be just as happy as Wenger who will be hailed a genius for such an intelligent purchase. Where he fits in once they have all their players back is anyone’s guess, but here’s hoping he flops and Arsenal finish 5th. You know, for a laugh.
Class player, complete mercenary. Not convinced he would have been right for us considering we have Modric in the side. It’s bad enough that Pav had 5 months of Russian football behind him when he signed for us and is still not 100% match fit IMO. Arshavin is a player that would need to be bedded in softly softly. Maybe if he was signed in the summer it would have worked out ok. Still, he’s meant to be shit hot right? How many clubs lined up for him? I’ll shut up now. If he plays on Sunday, he’ll probably dick us.
Elsewhere, we tried to offload our £4.5M teenager dos Santos to Portsmouth for £7M (the logic here being a ‘healthy profit’ too good to turn down). The deal fell through due to the fact that dos Santos is not match fit and Adams requires players he can use from the off. I’ve spoken about this before. We have a culture at Spurs of dismissing young players without any respect for patience and development. He can’t be that bad, surely? Does Harry not rate him at all? Is Levy prepared to put this down as another dud buy from our departed friend Comolli? In fact, was he bought as ‘one for the future’? Considering he’s been out injured for a while and thus not match fit, why are we looking to offload him with such casual dismissiveness?
dos Santos was exceptional during his days in the Mexican U17 and U21 teams. He showed promise at Barcelona but in his final season was very hot and cold. They sacrificed him because of the wealth of young talent they have there (Bojan is outstanding and a far better prospect). Or did they know he flattered to deceive? A one-footed forward with no extra dimensions to his game. Maybe Harry simply doesn’t think he is cut out for the fight we have ahead of us. Confidence wise, it can’t be good for the young lad. Another ‘one for the future’ Tomas Pekhart has joined Slavia Prague on loan. And Gunter has gone to Preston for a month. I’m hoping our academy team (that continue to impress in all the world-wide tournaments they compete in) don’t disappear into obscurity when they all turn nineteen.
So. Defoe, Chimbonda, Cudicini, Keane, Palacios. Does Harry now have the proper players he requires to help balance the team and add depth to the squad? Appiah is still with us, and has another month of getting fit and proving his worth before we have to make a decision about offering him a contract. Even though we were meant to give him a decision a week back.
So was this January a success?
- We needed a quality number two to cover and compete with Gomes. Done.
- We needed a central midfielder. Preferably a holding or defensive midfielder. Combative is what we ended up with signing Palacios who has a bit of everything. Done, sort of (and it does mean that we might well have to rely on Zokora stepping up in that holding position).
- We needed defensive cover. Chimbonda. Love him or hate him, we can now play Corluka as centre-back if need be. Pascal can play across the back four if called upon. Done.
- We needed a striker. We re-signed Defoe. Done, but fate had other ideas.
- We needed another striker due to DJ's injury. We re-signed Keane. We don’t have to concern ourselves just yet with how we plan to fit JD and RK in a starting line-up. I guess any striker signed would have had to be in the same mould as a Keane and Defoe, so we would have had the same dilemma regardless. So done.
Compared to some of the other clubs, and regardless of the fact we have re-signed players, we haven't done that badly in terms of bringing in quality. It's whether it all works out, second time around. Will the jigsaw pieces fit alongside the ones already slotted into the puzzle?
So many questions. All could be answered in 90 minutes this Sunday. Selection, formation, tactics, application. Harry takes 50% responsibility. The other 50% is down to the players.
I'm smiling. Nervously.