Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Did the transfer window make you smile?

I was snowed in yesterday and worked from home. I did take a moment to venture outside. I like the crunchy sound snow makes when you walk around in it. I built a snowman. It stood proud in the garden for all of ten minutes before Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy drove past and offered me £15M for my creation. I accepted. Apparently he's a perfect replacement for Jermaine Jenas in midfield because he won't melt as fast when the spot light is on him.

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.


The BBC get their knickers in a twist


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.
But are we now defensively intelligent in midfield? Is Palacios the answer? What now for Jenas? Is the team (best starting eleven) now balanced from the back to the front? Can a team without a true left-winger work? Do we need a true left-winger? If Zokora is a Harry fav, then are we planning on sticking with the 5 in midfield and one upfront? Should we have signed a Crouchesque type of player (like we did with Kenwyne Jones)? Have we really improved the squad buying the player we need or have we opted for another round of scatter-gun bullet buys? Will Harry stop referring to the ‘we only had 2 points when I got here’ sound-bites?

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.

22 comments:

wanderingjonny said...

Finally.

Someone acknowledges that the responsibility is 50/50.

If the words 'bare bones', 'unbalanced', 'strong players', or similar, dare slip out of Redknapp's mouth...

Great site by the way.

Herts Henry said...

Part of says we've done ok this transfer window but the other half scream we have lost all direction and leadership from management level to the boardroom. I never liked (or disliked Comolli) but at least there was a clearer agenda when he was Director of Football. We just seem to be car-booting our way through the sales.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy. I don't think we are toothless up front anymore. Really believe that's been the problem this season with no spark between mid and the forwards. Started to work with Defoe. Well work with Keane I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

With regard to Dos Santos and his failed move to Pompey...Harry seems to be in love with Taarabt for some reason. Yes, he can be good, maybe great in the future, but as I have said before he is annoying to watch right now as his decision making is terible.
I have a feeling Harry does not particularly want two young up and coming stars competing for what is possibly one place. They are both attacking players, so maybe it would be best for their own development not to have to fight with each other for that place on the bench?
I am glad Gio is still with us though, I remember the pre-season games where he was probably in our 4 best players. I just hope his ankle is okay now and he can regain his fitness...Then show Harry just how good he really is.
Now, with regard to the transfers. We still do not have that left back or left midfielder. Jamie can do both, and if anyone remembers last years FA cp game vs manure can say he is very good at that role...He kept Ronaldo quiet apart from just one occasion. Yesterday we were linked with Quaresma, but Chelsea might have just done us a favour by nicking him. If they sign him at the end of the season, where does that leave Joe Cole?
Harry was the guy that gave him his first break, so maybe they could link up again.

Oops said...

Quaresma is not a player we need because he is the exact type of player we always buy.

I'm unsure of Adel. Seems to lack any footballing sense. Gio was great pre-season, and think he can still do a job for us. I think having two (options) is better than one and Harry shouldn't be so dismissive.

spooky said...

I forgot about Quaresma. Apparently we were never interested in him, but loads of suggestions he was at Spurs yesterday and then got driven to Chelsea (not the first time this has happened).

Not fussed we didn't sign him. Don't think he'll bring much to Chelsea other than some showboating and some decent one-off moments.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Keane is back. Should never have left the club in the first place. He should have known Rafa wouldn't have a clue about how to get the best out of him. Wasted 6 months that hasn't helped us in the slightest re league position.

Anonymous said...

Appiah won't be joining us or rather we won't be signing him. He doesn't have the fitness level to impact the Prem in the right way. Can't be signing someone (and paying him the amount he wants)based on the past.

filthy said...

Proves Liverpool have serious issues when it comes to their own transfer policy. Wasn't a Rafa signing, Keane never stood a chance. At least they have cleared some debts which should please the yanks. If they don't win the league goodbye Rafa. He'll walk.

Booster said...

Hey Spooky. I'm not sure you got the Keane/Liverpool maths right. Have we not paid them £16M meaning we've made £3M profit, so to speak?

Anonymous said...

Babel, Ngog and Kuyt. He wont be missed.

Anonymous said...

He won't be missed?? Keep on believing that mate. You're not Spanish by any chance?

Babel is inconsistent and is not a striker. N'gog is crap - does he score regularly? Nope. And Kuyt is the Dutch version of the Liverpool version of Robbie Keane.

Selling him is a huge mistake for Liverpool. Or is it policy to give up on £20M signings within 6 months?

Benitez has lost it. He hardly ever plays the names mentioned in their natural positions anyhow. Loony tunes football management. Kiss the title goodbye.

The Machine said...

We did not pay £16M for Robbie Keane.

Hector said...

What is the exact wording of this PL rule that says he can't play vs Liverpool?

Anonymous said...

Robbie Keane has been made captain. Thats quite incredible dont you think>?

Anonymous said...

I was snowed in yesterday and worked from home. I did take a moment to venture outside. I like the crunchy sound snow makes when you walk around in it. I built a snowman. It stood proud in the garden for all of ten minutes before Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy drove past and offered me £15M for my creation. I accepted. Apparently he's a perfect replacement for Jermaine Jenas in midfield because he won't melt as fast when the spot light is on him.




Very good.

spooky said...

Hmm. I'm hoping I haven't taken someone's word for it re: Rule 22c.

Rule aside, if he has played enough games to warrant a winners medal then allowing him to play is not something that's likely.

West Stand Bagel said...

Imagine:

Spurs need to win to remain in the Prem League.

Liverpool need to win to claim the title and Robbie would be eligible for a medal.

Rule 22c aside.......what would Robbie do?

So crazy, its bound to happen.

Stalky said...

I think dos Santos is in the same canoe with Hutton- a bit unlucky and/ or fragile this season. The only problem is that time is not on our side in the relegation struggle. Gio is silky smooth at times and a boy among men at others. I hope he gets the same chance we seem to constantly invest in Lennon/ T-bat, b/c I think there's something there.

Desktop said...

Will Keane command respect as captain? He could easily be perceived as 'failing' at pool; of being unable to hack it; of running back with his tail between his legs. Any resentment toward Keane will have to be put to one side. And Keane himself presumably will have to strike a careful balance between expressing humble contrition and self- and club-confidence.

Sure, that scenario may be wide of the mark. It's just one way of looking at it; and I'm only guessing at the dynamics of dressing-room relationships. But Keane will need character to do what must be done at Spurs while reconciling himself to the professional dent he suffered at pool.

The likely upshot is that most of the squad will recognise that there's precious little time for niceties or squabbling, put any resentment aside and get on with the task of climbing the table.

And all fall out of Faeces nightclub at the end of the season after we've managed to stay up. And we've won the Carling Cup. And the UEFA Cup.

Harrington said...

COYS.

Keane brace on Sunday.

pedant said...

we need to keep hiring new managers every 5 weeks so we can just enjoy their honeymoon period and skip the inevitable slump that ensues.
God, i hate redknapp, he's going to lead us down a fucking hole.