Saturday, March 25, 2006

Defoe - Cisse - Liverpool

Pic: Jermain Defoe - important to Spurs future success

There have been rumours in the past two transfer windows, both last summer and in January, that Spurs were interested in signing Cisse from Liverpool. With Spurs looking for a player to replace Fredi Kanoute, it is understandable that connections were made with the Liverpool player who is similar in style to their former player who went to Sevilla in August.

Also, with Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe competing for one striker's place alongside Mido there has been constant speculation that one or other of these players could be leaving White Hart Lane. Defoe was given the first opportunity by Martin Jol and started the season brightly but then his form tailed off and in my mind this was linked to his disappointment at not making the England team for the early season qualifying games when other forwards were unavailable.

Eventually, Defoe was left out of the Spurs' team and Robbie Keane who had waited patiently was given his chance. Keane also played well and started to score quite regularly and with Jol persisting with a tall/small striker combination, there was no room for both Defoe and Keane. The speculation continued through January as Spurs searched for a top class striker to lead the line and provide competition for Mido's place.

In spite of reported links to various international strikers, both in the press and on websites, they failed to sign anyone, but in the meantime, while Mido was with Egypt on African Nations Cup duty, Keane and Defoe played well together in the home game against Charlton. With a reported 'injury' to Mido, they were again selected to play together at Birmingham and both, in their own ways, contributed to the win. Defoe who had a quiet first half sprung into life to create the opening goal for Lennon and could have scored himself later in the game, while Keane who was hard working throughout, scored the crucial second goal with his last kick of the game as he was about to be substituted.

During this period there were rumours that Defoe would be going to Liverpool in the summer as the solution to their goalscoring problems.

Robbie Keane has recently signed a contract with Spurs which extends his stay at the club for another four years.

The agent of Cisse has been reported in newspapers that Tottenham are intersted in the player who will probably leave Liverpool in the summer with Spurs being a possible option.

This week Martin Jol reponded that Spurs had inquired about Cisse in the last transfer window, on a loan basis, but that was refused and there would be no further interest. Jol's statement on the subject seems quite understandable as Spurs were known to be trying to sign a tall striker who would compete with Mido for that leading role.

However, into the fray steps the Liverpool manager who at his press conference yesterday lambasted Spurs for trying to sign Cisse and also saying that they were desperate to sell Defoe whom they had offered in part exchange for their player.

Quite rightly, Tottenham Hotspur were unimpressed that their name was being castigated by a manager of another side in the Premiership. Chairman, Daniel Levy responded and accused Benitez of acting in an unprofessional manner and asked him to retract his comments.

A report in today's Daily Telegraph reports a Liverpool insider as follows:
'Sources at Anfield claim they were offered Defoe for a fee of £15 million and told that this was a sum Chelsea were prepared to pay. If Liverpool had a valuation on Defoe, it was half this and when they refused to take matters further, they were contacted again to ask if they would be interested in a deal for Cisse and cash.'

To make sense of all of this, the following points seem relevant to me:
  • Spurs are looking for a striker, similar in style to Cisse. However, in my opinion, they will be hoping to sign a higher class of striker than Cisse who is very like Kanoute - exceptional on 'his' day but at othwer times gives the impression of being totally disinterested. To sign Cisse would be to swop like for like, in other words they might as well have kept Kanoute.
  • Liverpool, in spite of their recent goal scoring feats, are desperate for a regular goal scorer. So desperate that they resigned Robbie Fowler, on the off chance that he might re-discover the goalscoring of many years ago. They have a greater need for Defoe but are looking to sign him on the cheap as they probably don't have the money to sign him.
  • Spurs don't need to sell Defoe - he signed an improved contract last season and they should be hoping to keep him and have him as an important part of the team as they hope to be in Europe next year. Keane and Defoe will have to compete for the second striker's role and as long as both players are given an opportunity in the team and are competing on merit, then competition is good for the players and the club.
  • Cisse's agent has a duty to his client to get the best possible deal for him and so if that includes using the name of Tottenham Hotspur to create interest and a possible bargaining tool, that will be fine by him.

My personal opinion is that I would hope that Jermain Defoe stays at White Hart Lane and that Cisse doesn't join the club. I would not like to see Spurs selling Defoe to any of their rivals, we don't want to strengthen the Liverpool squad because we all know that Defoe will score goals wherever he goes and so I want Tottenham Hotspur to keep their best players. To do that the team may have to ensure that they make it into Europe this season so that all the young players can widen their experience and have an increased opportunities to win trophies with Spurs.


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