It’s Tottenham Hotspur, it’s the transfer window and at Spurs that can mean only one thing – mayhem.
The Spurs fanzine My Eyes Have Seen the Glory keeps track of the rumours (http://archive.mehstg.com/targets_aug09.htm) and calculates that so far the media have linked us with 117 different players – and that was last Tuesday. So far, however, the outcome has been a distinct lack of signings. Faced with such temptation so openly on offer, many fans are as frustrated as an acne-ridden adolescent going home alone at the end of School Disco. This window, however, will be different, because it’s Redknapp who has his master on a leash.
Could. It’s an unassuming, inoffensive little word, at times gently uplifting even, connoting what is possible. However, in the hands of tabloid hacks it becomes tragically abused, rendered utterly meaningless when used in the phrase, ‘Spurs could be interested in…’ TOMM exclusive! Spurs could be interested in Carl Rook, Tonbridge Angels striker, a prolific goalscorer and target man in last season’s Ryman League. Or Lionel Messi. Or Peter Crouch. It’s true, they could be, but it doesn’t mean they are. I’m disappointed that the Plain English Society have not followed the example of the NSPCC and instituted a ‘Full Stop Now’ campaign.
In such uncertain times, many seek consolation in the comments of our manager. However, there’s scant solace to be found here, because Harry lies. He lies all the time. I’m not complaining: all good negotiators carefully guard their true intentions and Redknapp is an excellent negotiator.
When he says, for example, that he won’t necessarily buy anyone or that we have to sell before we buy, to my mind this is simply not accurate. Of course we have money and of course this squad is not good enough to mount a sustained challenge for honours next season. The only time Redknapp will reveal his actual plans, until a signing is made that is, is when he wishes to unsettle a player in preparation for the move, as he has done today in stating that Crouch is a target.
So don’t believe either the media or the manager. The real problem for Spurs fans is that we have history. Daniel Levy is the self-styled dealmaker extraordinary, biding his time, keeping his cards close to his chest and waiting until the last possible moment to extract the very best price. This worked well for a time, most notably with the original purchases of Keane and Lennon. Berbatov was more expensive but also fantastic value.
However, the tactic is far less effective when the competition for a player is more intense or the club itself is stronger. Brought to their knees by crippling financial woes, Leeds were ripe for exploitation, but dealing as we were this time last year with the gangster Russian billionaires at Zenit was a totally different matter. Everyone at Spurs thought Arshavin just had to put pen to paper. The Russians then asked for more at the last second. Levy looked them in the eyes and they just stared straight back.
Similarly, with no signings, in the last few days of the last summer window we frantically offered inflated sums for Heskey, Ashton, any big centre forward, but ended up with a Manchester United reserve.
This time, things will be different. When Redknapp took over, part of the deal was that total control of transfers rested with the manager. After successive fiascos with Arnesen and Commolli, Levy was only too willing to wash his hands of the whole dirty business. Stick to the money, that’s what he knows about and what he does well. Levy is now Redknapp’s poodle. What Harry wants, Harry gets. If Redknapp seriously wants a player, Levy dare not procrastinate.
So that’s where we will all find our relief. Harry will sort us something decent out, and anyway Daniel, what’s a few million either way?