I thought the point of this window was to leave the squad, a squad that should be geared towards a full-scale assault on 4th place, stronger when it shut than when it opened.
Now we have no cover at right full back and have let go a striker and captain, one who is albeit off form but form can return. Pav is not fit, clearly, because he thought he was off. The cover for two experienced and able centre halves is promising but has a lot to learn.
No back up keeper
And we are 4th.
There’s always action around Spurs in any window. As the Sky reporters jockey for seniority, surely the real mark of achievement is who gets to wear the badge of honour and stand outside the Lodge on transfer deadline day. “I can tell you exclusively, Jim, that here at Chigwell absolutely nothing is happening. WHATSOEVER!!! Just look at that – it’s a car park!! With cars!” Rolling news, thank goodness for the 21st century.
Closer to the real action, Spurs fans are accustomed to the strange and mysterious, with the peak (or trough) coming a few years ago with a frantic midnight search for a striker, any striker, which culminated in equipping Juande Ramos for his charge at the league with a Manchester United reserve. That combination of mismanagement and absurdity will never be surpassed (please…) but yesterday’s events were bewildering.
I know I have said this before, but whatever the relative merits of players, why at this point do we need to let any of our first team squad go anywhere? So Hutton, Keane and Pav stew on the bench, with limited opportunities. So what? They will have chances to play as the pressure builds towards the end of the season. They provide different tactical options, either from the start or during the match. Or they don’t play at all. So what?
Naughton can gain experience elsewhere, fair enough. But already there is serious consideration being given to Kaboul, a centre half who is talented but very much a work in progress, at full back or midfield. He’s the cover, but if we had kept established internationals who can play there if needed, the cover is totally unnecessary except in dire emergency.
Keane is a good player who occasionally showed flashes of greatness but ultimately his technique does not equip him for the very top. Sometimes when it all flows, or when men like Berbatov were combining effortlessly with him, Keano was the perfect modern striker, able to drop deep and link front and back, pick out the pass with a touch or canny flick, and strike like a rapier in front of goal. At other times, sadly exhibited so often this season, he needs that extra moment or three or unleashes that clumsy airshot like an unco-ordinated 10 year old trying to be a parklife Messi.
Now he has his dream move. No, hang on, that was Liverpool, or wait, back to the Lane…Well anyway, he’s off to Celtic but it could have been West Ham or Sunderland. Obviously Harry has said he’s surplus to requirements, at least for now. I knew that something was not right when he came over to the Shelf late on against Fulham. The brightness in the eyes of this wholehearted competitor had dimmed. Sad to see him off-form, but form returns. Captain, goalscorer, international – there is no reason to let him go at this point in the biggest season for years and years.
Pav’s a good player who has played in Spurs teams where the tactics did not fully utilise is talents. He’s no lone target man, for sure. His mobility could be very handy, but maybe that is as much a reflection of my frustration with Crouch as it is of his skill.
But my assessment is less important (amazing, I know) than Harry’s, and so what has happened in the last few weeks to turn him from an unfit lazy no hoper on his way out, with the club touting him around, to suddenly a crucial element of our strikeforce for the rest of the season? That description is not mine, it’s how Harry perceived him and how Harry talked about him, openly dismissive only comparatively recently. I assume that no one came in with the right offer so we are left with him and I hope he takes his chance, but having destroyed him, is Uncle H now going to put his armround his shoulders? Not long now until Harry takes full credit, saying that he always knew Pav had it in him and that he wanted to give him an opportunity.
The whole thing smacks of a lack of planning or consistency. Keane’s departure will save us around 250k a month, so in the absence of any other coherent strategy, this could be a sign that we need to watch the pennies. Maybe Levy is just being prudent, but on the field this is our chance. None of this is about who is better, Defoe or Keane, Crouch or Pav, Corluka or, um… There is no imperative to weaken our efforts to achieve fourth place. No reason at all.
Five Live last night, Harry – 3 youth teamplayers on the bench for Leeds, I don’t have a very big squad and Naughton, Hutton and Keane have gone. Even allowing for Harry’s Big Gob, words fail me. Not a good thing for a blogger, but hey, I haven’t time to worry about that. As a lifelong atheist, I’m off to find a deity and pray night and day that Gomes does not get injured. Join hands everyone….