Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer Transfer Window Review

Since the summer of 2004, and the arrival of a Dane with questionable loyalty, Spurs Lodge has been fitted with a revolving door, allowing for the enormous turnover seen over the last two years. Whilst this scatter gun approach to recruitment can’t have been helped by changing Sporting Directors after a year, it is remarkable how many players the club have got through. So given Spurs’ previous transfer market form, this summer The Waddler was glued to the message boards, hitting F5 for dear life, hoping for THFC related gossip and rumour to brighten an otherwise painfully slow moving close season (World Cup? Yes, well England’s never started did it?).

The window began very promisingly, with the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov from Bayer Leverkusen for £10.9m. At that price, he was always going to be the main purchase of the summer and it looks like Spurs have got themselves a genuine star. With his Andy Garcia looks, an excellent goal scoring record in Germany, and the confident air of man that means business, The Waddler is looking forward to watching the man in action from the posh seats in the West Stand this season. At this stage, The Waddler thinks he looks like Mido and Kanoute rolled into one, thankfully without the temper tantrums.

Another early buy was Benoir Assou-Ekotto. Clearly a Damien Comolli purchase as Big Martin Jol admitted that he had never seen him play; he looks like a real find. Quick, direct, nice passing, some have whispered that he looks like Ashley Cole. Shhhhh! Lets wait and see shall we.

Next up was Didier Zokora, the Ivory Coast midfield player. Unfortunately, The Waddler’s summer holiday clashed with Ivory Coast’s World Cup matches, and Big Martin Jol has so far only allowed the White Hart Lane faithful a cameo of the man known as “Maestro”, so it is too early to judge him. He looks very neat and tidy, and hopefully he is just being eased into English football.

The departure of Michael Carrick during the summer was a blow, albeit softened by £18.6m. His passing and close control reminded The Waddler of watching that other 80s legend, Glenn Hoddle. He will be missed, but then again he lacked that extra something to make him a great player, or even an England regular. He couldn’t tackle hard; he didn’t score many goals, his killer balls rarely resulted in a direct assist, and his dribbling, whilst excellent, was seen all too rarely. Perhaps he’ll find that extra something once he’s been on the receiving end of a Sir Alex Hairdryer.

So with all that money burning a hole in Little Danny Levy’s pocket, The Waddler was on full rumour and gossip overdrive, with Spurs being linked to every player in the world. It was clear that a backup for Berbatov was needed, unless Big Martin Jol wanted to go for the little and little partnership that failed to hang on to a Champions League place last season. Also on the shopping list was a new right back, as the Canadian chap last season joined a list frequented by such luminaries as Gary Doherty, Stuart Nethercott and Justin Edinburgh as The Waddler’s most hated current player. Of course the left wing problem was still prevalent but hopes of a solution were high, with the rumour hounds bringing back names such as Martin Petrov of Athletico Madrid. However, little Daniel loves the brinkmanship of the closing of a transfer window, so the faithful had to wait almost to the end to see who the club brought in.

As it was, The Waddler was pleasantly surprised to see the return of Mido, who was not given enough credit for his pre-ANC displays last season. At his best he is tough, good in the air, and knows where the goal is – an ideal partner for Defoe, Keane and Berbatov. So long as he doesn’t fill up on his Mum’s cooking as he did on his trip home to Egypt last season, he should be an excellent re-addition. Pascal Chimbonda flew in late on deadline day to be our new right back. The Waddler watched little of Wigan last year, as there were pins to be placed in eyes, so there is little to say other than anyone who is named in the PFA team of the year, and who is not Paul Stalteri, will be given the thumbs up. The most intriguing signing is that of Steed Malbranque, who seems to be a proper Spurs player. Skill, flair, an eye for goal, The Waddler is looking forward to watching him. Sadly it won’t be until Christmas.

So to the trail of the left winger. The excitement and desperation of the transfer window got to The Waddler a little bit, so much so in fact that the news of bid for Stewart Downing was met with some form of giddy happiness. Luckily, that has now passed, and all faculties are restored. Thankfully Middlesbrough turned down THFC’s offer, believed to be the bulk of the Carrick money, and hopefully that will be the end of the matter. The mighty Tottenham Hotspur can do better than that.