Bonfire of the Hotspurs

Posted on June 30, 2011

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Why yes Mr Redknapp, you could use the money to buy another midfielder.

The noted recluse Harry Redknapp has broken his stoic vow of silence this week.  He has announced that to fund a good size spree’s worth of summer transfers he’ll need to move on 4 or 5 players. You might feel sympathy for Redknapp, who’s ambition is being held back by a tight fisted chairman. Well, no. Considering that this was one of the only teams to actually leave out a senior player from their 25 man line-up last season (for comparison, neither Man Utd or Chelsea omitted players, and Man City only left out Kelvin Etuhu, who is currently in jail for assault), this team does seem a little on the large side. The omitted man, Jonathan Woodgate has already been released (and is now a free agent) but the club has wasted no time in starting shopping already by signing 40 year old Brad Freidel as a prospect for the future.

So the decision is whether Harry should keep the players he’s got or sell some to get investment money. Of course, since we’re talking about Harry Redknapp here, we may as well start figuring out who he’ll be getting shot of. Daniel Levy is on record as saying that Lennon, Bale and Modric aren’t to be sold at any price; and while I’m not convinced on at least one of those counts, let’s assume it to be true. Here are a few potential departures and the likelihood of them actually transpiring:

1. Niko Kranjcar 

Niko is a great mover of the ball with a keen eye for goal. He’s scored with more than one great strike for them in the past year. Unfortunately he’s also been at the same club as fellow Croatian and current Next Big Thing™ Luka Modric. They play in a broadly similar position (similar enough that neither is at their most effective when playing together). While I can see him being a suitable replacement for Luka, if the expected £30 million bid from Chelsea or Manchester is accepted, if Modric is still a Spurs player come September then I woul’t expect to see Kranjcar plying his trade somewhere else.

Likelihood: 4 out of 5 Redknapps


2. Jermain Defoe

Times are tough all over for Spurs strikers. None of them finished the season in particularly good form, Robbie Keane even managing to finish bottom of the table while on loan at West Ham. And with an age range of 28-30 and the knowledge that Redknapp appears to be interested in signing absolutely any Spanish striker, the current front line look like they have the longevity of an X-factor winner.

Pavlyuchenko’s opinion of the club seems to depend on how many appearances he’s made in a given month, Robbie Keane is…well, I’ll get to him and Crouch has, by all accounts, another 3 years to run on his contract. Also Defoe’s public criticism of Redknapp’s selection policy won’t do him any favours.

Likelihood: 3 out of 5 Redknapps

3. Danny Rose

He scored THAT goal on his league debut. And then…well not much really. He had a quiet loan at Bristol, then filled in for Assou-Ekotto for the last couple of matches. He still has plenty of potential, but is probably at least one more season from fulfilling it. Another season loan to one of the newly promoted (Norwich or Swansea), recently relegated (West Ham or Birmingham) or Championship promotion hopefuls (Cardiff, Reading, etc.) might be just what he needs.

This video is now one of my favourite bits of internet, even if they didn’t use Spurs cat.

Likelihood: 2 out of 5 Redknapps

4. Wilson Palacios

I like to describe Harry Redknapp as a man with a bloated mid-section who likes to have a bloated midfield. Before any new purchases the central midfield involves the choice of Modric, Kranjcar, Jenas, Huddlestone, Van Der Vaart, Sandro, Palacios. By all accounts Charlie Adam would have been added to that list if Redknapp had been successful in January. Napoli are seemingly interested and Harry might take a chance to try and get negotiations going for one the Italian sides promising strikers Cavani or Levezzi (either of whom could do quite a job for Spurs). The prevailing argument against is that, strangely when you look at the roster, it might leave Spurs lacking depth in that holding midfield position.

Likelihood: 3.5 out of 5 Redknapps

5.  David Bentley

Bentley hasn’t really been able to establish himself, due to the pace and ability shown by Aaron Lennon in the right wing position. After only 3 first team appearances, he was farmed out to Birmingham in what looked suspiciously like a last opportunity to prove himself. His time with the Brummies was inauspicious for the most part; he scored his one and only goal in a Blues shirt against Championship relegation contenders Coventry. With January signing Steven Pienaar also able to play in that position, Bentley looks surplus to requirements and his departure would be a relatively painless austerity measure.

Likelihood: 2.5 out of 5 Redknapps

6. Gomes

The personification of inconsistency. From the sublime to the ridiculous, often within seconds of each other. This trait was most apparent in the match against Blackpool when he made a great save from Charlie Adam’s penalty only to rugby tackle Gary Taylor-Fletcher 10 seconds later and concede the resulting second penalty. With Freidel now on the scene, Spurs have 4 keepers in Freidel, Gomes, Cudicini and Alnwick. That is at least one keeper too many and I think Gomes is too much of a liability for a club with the aims of Tottenham. Finding a suitor may be tough, given his well-publicised goalkeeping howlers.

Brad doesn't want to make anyone lose their position. He just likes to play football.

Likelihood: 1.5 out of 5 Redknapps

7. Robbie Keane

Well, it is a transfer window isn’t it? Of course Robbie Keane will be moving. I’m doubt that he even bothers unpacking his stuff anymore.

Likelihood: 7 out of 5 Redknapps

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Other Honourable Mentions

Peter Crouch – Unless a transfer sideways or (possibly but not likely) upwards comes knocking, I can’t see Crouch moving at this stage of his career.

Giovanni dos Santos – Quite possible, but I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about him.

Jermaine Jenas – Another outstanding midfielder. In that the place that he’s standing is likely to be out of the team soon.

Image credits:
Banner image thanks to Daniel Williams via Flickr
Redknapp face and 0.5 Redknapp face via Flickr
Sad Brad Freidel, as ever, via Wikipedia
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