The transfer window is closed and Tottenham Hotspur have concluded their business.
Is it safe? Is it safe? I detest the window, or more accurately the hullabaloo that surrounds it. I love the banter and camaraderie of the messageboards, so why is it that as deadline day nears, everyone goes mental? The bloke who texts the Sky Sports News ticker that his cousin’s best mate’s dad is a taxi driver and he’s been told to pick up Van der Vaart from Heathrow to take him to White Hart Lane is not telling the truth. Yet these and other similar rumours have been picked over and debated for the past few weeks on the boards. Oh, and is it too late to mention Van der Vaart was in the Dutch squad for an international at the time???
I am currently holidaying in not-sodding-sunny Cornwall and mercifully have been spared the ghastly spectacle of Sky Sports News on deadline day. Oh these gorgeous Cornwall villages and their cottages, oak beams, slate floors, roses growing round the window and only 5 T V channels – so delightfully quaint! I am therefore indebted to the Guardian online for the information that SSN knew big things were in store for Spurs today because, “Normally Harry Redknapp gives us a wave when he arrives at the training ground.”
I expect it was a full day of Standing Outside in the Cold news. Why do they have to stand outside a training ground or stadium to tell us what is happening? That is actually the last place to be, not only away from where decisions are being made but also out of touch with other news-gathering sources. I’ll tell you what is happening outside the grounds – nothing. So then they spend several minutes telling us in excited, conspiratorial tones that nothing is happening.
As technology goes, Teletext will in years to come be regarded as the media equivalent of betamax. I never really mastered the knack of going back one page without it going through every page over again, and then missing out the one I wanted. But oh how I miss the humble page 302 now. Information. Plain and simple. This has happened. That’s all I needed to know. If the chief teletext reporter had a moustache like Ned Sanders, it was hidden from view. Irrelevant.
Pass the oil of cloves, deep breaths, HOLD and relax. The last few days have been good for Spurs. Kranjcar is a superb player, technically gifted, good on the ball and highly astute. Good for a passing game and for retaining possession, links well with the strikers, does things at set pieces. A steal at that price: this blog is unreservedly delighted at his arrival.
This is no short-term over for Modric’s injury nor squad-building, although we do have strength and quality in depth. He could initially slot in on the left but could play anywhere in midfield. Maybe Luka will settle into centre midfield, probably his preferred position, or we adopt the flexibility of the Croatian team, where they have a hard working, fluid midfield who support the man on the ball and use the space without having totally fixed positions across the field. Palacios will enable them to play. The prospects are genuinely exciting.
O’Hara’s loan looked at first glance as a sign that he was on the way out, but now it’s more like a sweetener to seal the Kranjcar deal. Portsmouth needed to bring players in before any could leave, because their squad looks well sort of Premier League quality. They will struggle and Boeteng will not help their cause. In 40 years of watching Spurs, I have never been so underwhelmed by a substantial signing. His brief performances proved only that he was a liability, full of hasty late tackles, conceding possession and positional naivety. Being skilful and promising takes you only so far. 4 million – thank you very much.
Finally, kudos to Daniel Levy. I’ve been extremely critical of his work in the transfer market in the past. This time last year he was desperate to buy any striker at any price and still failed, whilst letting Arshavin slip through our fingers is a cardinal sin. However, in the past he has shrewdly played clubs who he feels are weaker than us. Taking Keane and Lennon at the last minute from Leeds is a case in point, as is our ability to come up with cash for Sheffield United and the Kyles, and thereby outmanoeuvre our rivals Everton. All three deals with Portsmouth have been perfectly judged.