September 4, 2011

Our squad under Redknapp – a constant work in progress

Follow me on Twitter – @WindyCOYS.

I have been clear in my support of Redknapp’s on-pitch achievements thus far, and I do think that until January of this year, he was doing a great job – delivering over-par achievements.

The majority of my criticism of Redknapp has been based on his off-pitch activity. I will not go into the detail of what I see as his short-comings, as they were covered more succinctly than I could ever have managed in Ewan Roberts‘ superb article – One In The Hole blog.

The issue I would like to touch on is the constant “work in progress” state of our squad. Our signings this summer have been hailed by some, and I take the point that we have addressed key areas, and that the players that we have signed should be good signings for this season. However, Friedel at 40, and on a two-year contract, Adebayor on a one-year loan, and Parker (31 in October, albeit on a four-year contract) are not long-term signings; they are signings that will leave us in transition again in the near future.

We now have similar issues in almost every area of our team – players will need replacing in the next one/two/three years, and that is ignoring the fact that our manager is unlikely to be in his post this time next year.

Goalkeepers

Gomes, linked with a late move away, and seemingly not trusted anymore by Redknapp.

Brad Friedel, 40 years old with two years left on his contract.

Carlo Cudicini, 37 years old with one year left on his contract.

Defenders

William Gallas, 34 years old with two years left on his contract.

Ledley King, 30 years old with one year left on his contract and well-known injury problems.

Midfielders

Scott Parker, 31 in October and with a history of injuries.

Luka Modric, almost certain to leave in a year unless we challenge for the title.

Forwards

Emmanuel Adebayor, on a one-year loan and on wages that we could not match on a permanent basis.

Jermain Defoe, 28 years old and seemingly declining at a rapid rate.

Roman Pavlyuchenko, 29 years old and losing value at a similarly rapid rate.

We have also failed to permanently ship out some of the fringe players that Redknapp clearly doesn’t have faith in. Jenas and Bentley have moved, but only on loan. Bassong’s agent confirmed that a deal to QPR was all but tied up, and would presumably have gone ahead had we signed Cahill. Alnwick has managed to cling on to his Spurs career and was given a one year contract in the summer. Giovani Dos Santos failed to secure a move away. None of these players are likely to play more than 5 or 10 games this season.

Redknapp has admitted to interest in Phil Neville and Joe Cole, and has also been linked to Craig Bellamy and Owen Hargreaves. The constant links with ageing players who have question marks over either their fitness, ability, or mental state is worrying.

I have gone into the last few windows thinking what a large amount of work we have had to do – not just in terms of signing top-class players, but also in clearing the decks. The list above highlights the amount of work that Redknapp’s replacement will have, and in my opinion could tempt Levy into another “Director of Football” structure once Redknapp departs.

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  • Anonymous says:

    im sorry but harry didnt get the players he wanted in the window,eg another striker and a defender.he should have no blame at all for that,its the chairmans job

  • I have come to terms with the fact that “quality” players do not want to sign for Tottenham… for whatever reason it may be (salary, status, etc.). And that’s fine with me.

    My issue is that if these types of players are out of our reach, we should be working very hard to make the efficient / long-term prospect types of signings.

    Our club seems to be a bit short-sighted at this point in time.

  • Anonymous says:

    This article kinda misses the point that Redknapp wants more experienced players in. Let’s see where we are at the end of the season, and which players have done well. That will be the time to judge. I’m sure Spurs will be busy in Jan.

    BTW What Scott Parker injuries are you on about? He’s played the majority of the season for the last five years? Which player hasn’t had an injury before?

  • Affa Chan says:

    I agree, Levy has f’up with transfer windows since Berbatov left, we had since had no replacement for someone in his quality, and Modric is a forced situation of him to admen this fault of his. But as a result, we should had sold the cry baby and buy the players we really needed.

    Why did he think he was in a position to reject Suraze’s deal was a bit funny, back then we still had promise to players that we could be in CL again, but now, our work this summer and press image certainly do not attract any world class players, even if we wish to get players purely for money, the new era of Man City wipe us off, we are not even good enough to be a stepping stone for players to come and join due to our players handling and a curse of injuries every year.

    Harry plays favorite, this system make us dependent on a fixed set of players, once a couple of them injured, we are not a rich squad to have such depth to fill the holes. Now that VDV is down, we have no one even similar to him, Modric is great but they are great in different ways and are no each other replacement.

    At the same time, Harry seems to lack vision in spotting potential good players who are not EPL proven, so we ended up losing the wanted players to another club, or to be told no.

    Of course, VDV and Souleymane Coulibaly are fantastic signing, and credit to Levy for VDV special deal, as I have heard it was Levy’s doing.

    A lot of us typically say, next window us Spurs will sort it out and buy what was lacking in January, however we have been through this phase last Jan as well, and we did not reinforce our striker force, the one striker with any moment I give credit to was Crouch, and now we got Adebayor (whos father is a gentleman, the mum I adore) which is a great upgrade, but once he is down, we have noone else in near his quality to step in, of course I am presuming he is at least 70% as great as he was in Arsenal 2007-8.

    A lot of us agree Harry is not someone that would take us any higher than 4th, or just to 4th this season, but our squad and spending habit is also not attracting any better manager or be able to support their idea, making Harry possibility a very fitting manager we CAN have.

  • Windy says:

    Anon @ 12:52 – So had he got the players he wanted – say, J Cole, Bellamy and G Cahill – would you have been happier?

    elwehbi@ibleedhotspur – Spot on. We need more Sandro-style signings. Leandro Damiao would have been ideal.

    Anon @ 13:28 – MORE experienced players? We already have a fair few experienced players, and he’s brought in mainly 27 year old + players – Keane, VDV, Friedel, Gallas, Pienaar, Crouch etc.

    Re: Parker – he had serious knee injury whilst at West Ham, didn’t he? I could be wrong.

  • Windy says:

    Affa Chan – some very good points!

  • Affa Chan says:

    Hi Windy, to get a bit noisy to your last couple of comment, I personally think getting Cole, Bellamy is another price and quality range that spurs can afford, I agree they are not great and does not resolve problems our squad has for the club future, however they add depth to overcome some of our injury luck. If thous two together is 13 mil, I would had think they would give us half a chance against a top four team the first half the season.

    Parker did have a long term injury, however he has proven last season to be doing well, combain his endless motoring style really would contribute to our squad almost with any players, however this raised a question, why couldn’t Harry give the chance to Woodgate if you are taking one on Parker? Woodgate is pay as you play anyway, but I guess with Harry playing favorite style, for Woodgate’s sake he better had left.

  • Bales Left boot says:

    Windy you’re full of hot hair!

    If you’re really a Spurs reporter get behind your team, or at least offer some constructive criticism on how we can improve!

    Coulibaly for example looks an awesome prospect, as do Livermore and Townsend. We will finally see Harry give our youth a chance – that’s a great thing for Spurs!

    Also I wouldn’t mind betting that our transfer policy is being dictated by the obvious need for a new stadium so that we can compete on wages for players like Adebayor.

    COYS!

  • Anonymous says:

    Walker, Dawson, bae, lennon, Sandro, hudd, modric, rose, livermore, townsed, bale, kr anjcar, rafa, defoe, pav. Plenty of players in our squad who Will be around for a while. We will sign Damiao and Cahill. Or similar in Jan. Stop moaning and get behind your team!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    You’ve highlighted the older players but all clubs have them and its managing their departures that we should focus on. Football clubs, prudent ones at least, should try to bring youth through whilst adding experience at appropriate moments. In an ideal world the youth would in due course become the experience of later years but I dread to think what the mortality rate of youth footballers is in terms of how many make it through to retirement at their boyhood clubs: less than 5% I’d guess.

    Few managers have the longevity to have an effect on clubs from cradle to grave. Fergie has had that benefit with the added riches and club profile to attract young and old alike. We don’t although I’d hazard that we have a siginficant pulling power in the London area. Then of course you have the finances to consider. Are you running on a shoestring or a silk scarf? Are you an oligarch’s plaything or a properly run business?

  • Windy says:

    Bales Left boot s – I’ve never not got behind the team, and I think it’s a bit off to question my support. I’ve written 1000s of words on the team I love in the last few years. My constructive criticism is this – go and buy long-term prospects to allow us to bring through a side that will play together for the foreseeable future. I think there’s a lot stronger likelihood that our transfer policy is more down to Levy having to rein Redknapp in than worrying about the stadium, which comes from an entirely separate fund.

    Anon @ 14:37 – I’m not not getting behind my team, I’m simply questioning Redknapp’s transfer policies. Yes, we have plenty of good players who should be around for a while, but those I’ve highlighted are key areas – the very spine of our team will need to be changed yet again in 12-18 months.

    Anon @ 14:43 – You make some excellent points. I think this is the key. I would not have so much of an issue with the situation had we signed some long-term prospects as well.

  • east stand dave says:

    First of all well done on reporting the youth side consistently it’s always interesting to see how the youngsters are doing.

    I have thought for years that we don’t seem to build consistently just make and mend however there is no doubt in my mind that Levy is now restricting Harry as he is looking ahead to the next manager.I think the Harry/ Levy combination has done a good job in stabilising the team and providing the beginning of a platform for longer term improvement however we need to rebuild further and I don’t think Harry is the one to do that.
    Ultimately we better off after the transfer window than we were however it’s interesting that the squad we named for the league contains 4 goalkeepers!If anything illustrates a lack of common sense this has to be it. Had we named 24 then there was the possibility of a free transfer or we could have included somebody like woodgate on a pay and play deal to make the 25.
    Personally I think we need to improve the scouting network significantly and continue to give players like Livermore a longer spell in the first team . I don’t like the Europa League competition however it at least gives us the chance to play the youngsters and I hope Spurs do this as much as possible.

  • James says:

    I think you make a decent point Windy. Friedel is a decent signing but I’m surprised we didn’t go in for Stekelenburg given that he was available for a pittance and is a top international keeper. We will be in exactly the same situation again two years down the line. Defence/midfield I don’t think are such significant issues, we are already learning to cope without King/Gallas so they are hardly the spine of the team, whilst we have sufficient depth in midfield to only need minor tinkering given the departures of either of the two you mention.
    The massive issue in my opinion is the forwards department! Adebayor will almost certainly be gone at the end of the season, Pav will be out of contract and go for free if he doesn’t go for a cut price deal in January, and if Defoe has another season like last year he will also be surplus to requirements. So, we face the prospect of starting next season with a completely different strike force to this one. Not a great reflection of long term thinking! One would hope Kane will force his way into the equation by next year, and we may indeed sign Leandro – but that is an awful lot of wishful thinking and would still leave us needing one/two quality strikers next summer. Which, as we now know well, aren’t the easiest to get hold of!!

  • SpursSimon says:

    Fair article Windy and it is a fact that we seem to be in a constant state of flux and transition.
    To me, and this has been covered all over the net, the issue does seem to be the Redknapp / Levy relationship over transfers and signings.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article. Windy i love your youth reports and goal analysis by the way! We have a great team now compared to a few years ago. Levy is the one calling the shots and he loves it. We tried to sign Cahill and still might so we will upgrade on Bassong. Caulker may come through when Gallas retires, every team is a work in progress, as you always expects transfers in and out every window. Parker is good for 4 years, that’s a long time in football. Livermore is coming through though and Sandro and hudd are young. In fact we have a good balance of youth and experience for every position bar the keeper. Defoe will come good again and we will make Adebayor permanent if he does well plus sign Damiao in Jan. In 3 years harry has spent 100 mill but recouped 60, so net 40 over 3 years compared to the other big teams is great business and makes the fact we played in the Cl amazing. Levy knows this is harry’s last season so is saving a war chest for the new manager.

  • onetottenham says:

    My concern is not with the recent signings, or lack of. More of Harry’s reluctance to change from the ever so predictable 4-4-2 formation. The best footballing sides are able to adjust the formation or starting eleven depending on the opposition.

    There is no doubt we have quality players, Harry needs to concentrate on working with them on the training field instead of whoring the media at every opportunity.

    Tottenham will continue to be in a transitional period until details of a new stadium are confirmed. The new training facilities are not far away from completion, the youth system is starting to show some promise and once all three come together I have no doubt Spurs will be in a position to fight for top honours again.

  • Anonymous says:

    Its the best first 11 in last 20 years. We missed a trick on not signing more top players after we qualified fir the Cl though.

    ………………….Friedel.
    Walker..Dawson..Gallas..Bae.
    Lennon..Parker..Modric..Bale.
    …………………….Vdv.
    …………………Adebayor.

  • Daniel B says:

    Good article Windy, raising some very good points, as ever.

    One of the only things I’ll say regarding the matter is that when Redknapp does vacate the premises, I’m almost certain that Daniel Levy we reinstate the Direct of Football position. I seem to remember that one of the conditions of Redknapp joining was that we abolished the position and Levy hasn’t stated that he is happy with the current policy as is.

    I personally quite like the idea. I miss Daniel Comolli like he was a player – he brought a lot of young, exciting talent to the club (as well as drivel, admittedly), and he is doing a grand job at bringing in the same talent at Liverpool. A lot of fans have said that we have missed a trick with Suarez. We wouldn’t have missed that trick had Comolli been at Tottenham, because he brought in Suarez at Anfield. Redknapp instead likened him to VDV. Pleb.

  • Windy says:

    east stand dave – Thanks, mate, I appreciate that! I agree with absolutely everything you say – from the breakdown in the Redknapp/Levy relationship, to the Europa League. Fingers crossed that we’ll get to see a few more youngsters this season.

    James – That’s exactly it – we should have realised that we have these issues facing us at the end of the season and brought in a younger striker who could have time to bed in. Leandro in January would be nice, but is he alone enough? Kane and Coulibaly look a way off first team football to me – they need time to develop at their own speed.

    SpursSimon – I agree. And whilst I side with Levy, I think he could come to regret not making a firm decision either way this time next year.

    Anon @ 16:57 – Cheers! I agree that we’re definitely an improved side, especially with Adebayor up front. I admire your optimism!

    onetottenham – I think we’ve played 4-4-1-1 and 4-2-3-1 a fair bit, but just done it badly. City gave us a master class last week.

    Anon @ 17:22 – Parker instead of Sandro?

    Daniel B – I agree about DoF – I think it’s fine not to have one if your manager is knowledgeable and good in the transfer market, but Redknapp simply isn’t.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sandro still has time. In the theme of the article, when parker leaves/retires in 4 years Sandro Will be 26 and entering his prime.

  • Anonymous says:

    Id drop Lennon on current form and change formation with attacking full backs.

    Friedel
    walker gallas king bale
    hudd
    parker sandro
    vdv modric
    adebayor

  • Anonymous says:

    Harry has signed 12 of the current first team squad. They are better than what he inherited so its been good progress. He has even sold a few of his early signings on as they were bought to keep us up now we have moved up a level. The list highlights we needed Cahill though and should have tried to keep woodgate

    Friedel…Gomes
    new cb…bassong
    walker…hutton
    Kaboul…woodgate
    Gallas…chimbonda
    Pienaar…Bentley
    Sandro…Jenas
    parker…Palacios
    Kranjcar…o hara
    adebayor…crouch
    defoe…bent
    Vdv…Keane

  • Anonymous says:

    Every squad is a squad in transition, you can look at all the top clubs and see that they buy between 1 and 3 quality first team/squad players. So I’m not sure what the real point is in this one windy.

    It’s worth understanding with the keepers that Gomes allegedly won’t sign his new deal, and only has 2 years left on his deal Cud has a season left and Friedel 2 as well, which neatly dovetails with the view down the lane, as you probablt know windy that we may well actually be soon seeing one of our own produced keepers making the squad, playing in all the cup games in the expectation that he’ll be able to make the upgrade to first team keeper in a couple of years. If that is the case then the decisions made so far are smart ones.

    The problem with top class keepers is firstly they’ve now got very expensive and an secondly when you sign one, if they’re half as good as you hope then when you sign them at around mid twenties (the norm) then you’re locking the position out to any homegrown keeper for at least 5 years. As for the rest, have you forgotten Caulker, Khulmo (spelling) add Cahil to that and along with Dawson and Kaboul you have some great potential CB’s and can hopefully easily then say cheerio to Gallas and King, just as we have done to Woody.

    Parker gives Sandro a great opportunity to learn, to grow and to be rotated and even to play with him, as for Modric I personally hope we can hold onto him for a couple of years so that Dean Parrett can show the quality he has really got, if not, then we start the search for his replacement, can’t see how you blame him going on redknapp, seems a bit daft to me.

    As for the strikers, how do you know that when Ade’s contract ends with city that he won’t be more realistic about his earnings? Don’t get all this negativity about our strike options now, by all accounts we could see the Brazilian join us in in Jan, we have invested in youth so it would be good to see Pav got rid of sooner than later and defoe has at least aother 3 years in him. As for the fringe players, not one them are worth worrying about, and can’t see how you blame redknapp for them anyway, JJ, Bentley, Gio , only Bassong is one of Harry’s and I’m glad that he was ready to sell him, as he’s just not good enough. It looks to me that we’re in not bad shape at all, whoever comes in after redknapp may well find that if one or two of our youth go all the way that they only have to make 3-4 signings. Most new managers would think that’s prety good.

  • Anonymous says:

    What it boils down to is this. We really really REALLY needed to add one more world class player. For the sake of morale at least. I understand why we couldn’t/wouldn’t, but that doesn’t inspire the players or fans at all. Would paying over the odds for cahill really damage spurs? Going by what we seen of him the other night, I honestly don’t think so. If you want to keep top players you need to get them excited about our prospects and ambitions. I personally think that the jury is out, until Jan at least. For now, they need to battle and survive. And we have the perfect manager for that.
    I think we have better reinforcements than last year. Ade instead of crouch, parker instead of palacios, Friedel looks confident. Kyle looks to have trumped Hutton, woodgate is just as non existent as last season, and we have townsend and livermore coming through and they look very good.
    Man U and Man C killed us because we had kranjcar in the middle who offered no cover for the cbs at all.
    Think positive fellow spuds.
    COYS!

  • Windy says:

    Anon @ 19:25 – I agree, but Sandro was also one of our best players from January on last year and attracted interest from lots of clubs. He is potentially a far better Parker IMO, and it would be a shame for him to get sick of waiting…

    Anon @ 21:38 – Agree about dropping Lennon. He needs some time as an impact sub.

    Anon @ 22:02 – I think that’s a little disingenuous, given that he signed Crouch, Keane, Chimbonda, Bassong. You say that they were bought to keep us up, and that’s exactly my point – short term signings, and they were ones that cost an awful lot of money. Why not aim long term? Also, Redknapp had nothing to do with the Sandro and VDV signings.

    Anon @ 09:07 – I disagree that every squad is in transition. Most squads try to upgrade one or two players a year, but very few have the issue that we will in the very spine of our team. I would love to think that Button will make the first team in a couple of years, but I can’t see it personally.

    I’ve not forgotten Caulker – in fact, I’d have kept him around and used him this season. Khumalo is having a torrid time at Reading and the cynical side of me thinks he was bought more for commercial reasons. I like Dean Parrett, and hope that he does break through, but he is no Modric replacement.

    Anon @ 11:11 – Some good points, but “spuds”?!

  • Anonymous says:

    What i saw of Khumalo in pre-seaob confirms what you windy – dont think he’s a likely CB for us. Caulker is a far better prospect.

    Would like to see more of the younger plyers in Lge Cup and Europa – not worried about their age, if good enough they are old enough.

  • bonse says:

    hmm, must have missed this one. Interesting points all, and like most I wonder if one year loan deals and promising kids isnt a sign of Levy preparing for a change of structure/managership.

    I do though feel we were pinning a bit too much hope to Cahill, a fine defender and worthy of an England place but I see him as a replacement for Dawson/Kaboul/Bassong, he’s a power and pace defender, and while he would be an upgrade we still need more of a Gallas/King/Woodgate type positional defender, and Cahill’s positioning is pretty weak. I agree with Anon above that with the little I have seen of Caulker he appears to be a player like this, indeed he was the sole bright light of the arsenal league cup debacle.

  • Anonymous says:

    The question is who will take over after Redknapp and whether he will accept the DoF structure, which I think is the sensible way forward as it provides continuity. It’s difficult to know what is going on behind the scenes between Levy and Redknapp, the latter seeming to be playing chicken with his never-ending moaning about Modric. The obvious point is that Levy picked a short term manager, aged over 60, who in turn has been trying to get short term results. Admittedly, he has done well and produced attractive football; he may even do well with England.
    Sweetsman
    Sweetsman

  • Sraah says:

    Although there are some good points, this article really makes me sad.

    Bales Left boot – you make a good point.

    Who cares about age, the name of the game is to win and not only that with great team spirit. There is no law against being over 30 in football, and those that quit before are often injured. Friedel is a great goalkeeper, better than Gomes, so who cares that he is 40. In fact a lot of goalkeepers play into their early 40s. Some of the greatest goalkeepers have been over 40, Van der Sar was selected as the worlds best goalkeeper, in 2011.

    You have been quick to mention the elders who have joined, but you seem to have missed out some other signings and return loans that happened this summer:
    Kyle Walker (age 21)
    Danny Rose (21)
    Andros Townsend (20)
    Jake Livermore (21)
    Giovani Dos Santos (22)
    and the 16 year old Souleymane Coulibaly

    It’s good to have a balance of youth and experience. If we buy any more youngsters we will end up like A*senal.

    Now we have had our first win, our season has started. Let the games begin…

    @sbrizzle11

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