Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tottenham Transfer Window Verdict

Spurs Could Have Done Better

Emmanuel Adebayor - Spurs new signing
The teacher in me reckons that an end of transfer window report on the transfer dealings of Tottenham Hotspur's Messrs. Levy and Redknapp must record, 'Could have done better.'

Three months of reported negotiations to strengthen the team while retaining our best players and releasing some of those who have for some time been surplus to requirement, have resulted in the signing of a forty year old goalkeeper on a free transfer, the acquisition of a striker on loan who has the potential be a great success at the club or rather troublesome and the final day signature of a midfield player whom we could have signed at the very start of the summer for more or less the same fee.

Retaining Players
The club has done exceptionally well to retain the best players  - Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart, but in particular Modric in whom there has been summer-long speculation that he would eventually join Chelsea who persisted with offers right up to the end when they made an exceptional offer of £40 million.  In spite of Daniel Levy's statement to rebuff the first enquiry from Chelsea, by clearly spelling out that he was not for sale at any price, many in the media and among fans felt it was the usual strategy to try to push up the price and that when an acceptable offer was made that like Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov before him, Modric would be off to the club of his choice.

Matters became more difficult with Modric not playing at Old Trafford or in the Europa League games and according to manager, Harry Redknapp, he requested that he should not play against Manchester City.  This was refused although it is questionable how effective the player actually was during the hour he was on the pitch.  Having retained Modric, it is up to the management to do whatever it takes to ensure that he is a fully committed member to the team in the coming weeks and that he isn't a dissatisfied player going through the motions until the transfer saga can recommence in January.

The club has made a statement on behalf of football that a player who has signed a long contract is expected to fulfil it and that he can't just leave as soon as a 'bigger' club comes knocking.  Certainly Modric has played a major part in assisting the club reach the level they achieved last season with their Champions League experience but the club had invested heavily in the player and helped to raise his profile - a two way self-help arrangement.  To sell Modric would have immediately unsettled the other 'star' players who would have started to think about joining a Champions League club rather than remaining at White Heart Lane with the intention of Tottenham reclaiming that position.

Releasing Players
The departure of a number of squad players was essential as many of them had become 'outsiders' at the club - getting an occasional 'bit' part or going out on loan knowing that they were never going  to achieve anything at Spurs.  Robbie Keane, Alan Hutton, Wilson Palacios and Peter Crouch (sold) and Jermaine Jenas  and David Bentley (on loan) have all seen new players arrive at the club to play in their positions so they knew that the opportunity of them getting into the team was even more unlikely.  For their own professional standing it was time to move on and have a fresh start at a club where they would be given an opportunity to play regularly and advance their careers.  This now frees up more places in the 25-man squad for younger players to gain experience and develop their careers.

Signing Players
For the past three Transfer Windows, Spurs have reportedly been after a goal scoring striker but have again failed to achieve this aim.  Many names have been mooted - Forlan, Rossi, Huntelaar among them with reported interest and offers refused - and once again come the end of the window none of these players has come to the club and in all reality never looked likely to either.  Emmanuel Adebayor has been acquired on loan from Manchester City for the season to replace Peter Crouch as a striker who can lead the line and link effectively with the other players.  He certainly can score goals as he has often shown when playing against Spurs but another proven striker would have been a great asset to the club as Jeramin Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko were so out of sorts last year where goal scoring was concerned.  Lack of goals was the one reason why Spurs failed to hold on to fourth place in the Premier League last season and so relinquished the coveted Champions League place.  In early spring they were in a very strong position to capture that spot but failed dismally in the final months of the season through lack of goals.  One can take the view that international standard strikers can not be as bad this year as they were last but we had that hope throughout last season and unfortunately they didn't show any improvement.

This season has started disappointingly with defensive frailties surfacing and with the continued absence of Ledley King and William Gallas through injury which is now affecting both of them on a regular basis, the reasons for attempting to sign Gary Cahill from Bolton in the final days of August were obvious.  However, it wasn't completed as the clubs couldn't agree on a fee.  With the lack of spending in the transfer window, along with the bonus from last season's Champions League and the fees acquired from the sale of four players and reduced salary bill, surely Tottenham could have gone that extra bit to sign a player with Premier League experience who undoubtedly would have strengthened the team.

The constant attempt to strike a last minute bargain signing is not always the best for the well-being of the team and on this occasion too many deals were left to the final day for completion, when we were told that work had been on-going throughout the summer to bring in the players who were needed at the club.  Sometimes a last minute signing can be a success but on other occasions it can simply be a panic acquisition to appease everyone.

Tottenham could come to regret their reluctance to spend big on even one player especially when both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool and belatedly Arsenal have used the summer to strengthen their teams, while a number of other clubs, Stoke and Queen's park Rangers, have invested in the transfer market in the final days.  Tottenham have not really shown the ambition required to achieve great things this season, it's more a case of playing it safe which could lead to another year outside Champions League qualification and another window focused on retaining players rather than improvement and advancement.


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