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Time to move Pavlyuchenko and Dos Santos on?

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Thursdays game at PAOK gave Spurs fans a huge insight into the strength in depth at the club.

11-year-old looking Tom Carroll looked a seasoned pro in the middle of the park, made all the more impressive by the white-hot atmosphere created by fans of the Greek side.

Meanwhile, Andros Townsend is improving with each passing game, Yago Falque could well give Lennon some much needed competition on the right-hand side while Carlo Cudicini, penalty aside, gave another impressive performance behind Sebastien Bassong and Vedran Corluka.

However, two players caught the attention of fans but for all the wrong reasons. Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani Dos Santos were the two, some could say, more senior members of the squad in the final third.

Yet, both looked well off the pace in comparison to their younger team-mates. The likes of Harry Kane, Carroll and Falque looked more like seasoned professionals in comparison to the two aforementioned stars.

Starting with Pavlyuchenko first, after an impressive showing at Euro 2008, there was much excitement and anticipation when his signing was announced prior to the close of the summer transfer window.

Fans were quick to forgive him for some lacklustre performances early on, having played eight months of football prior to his move to North London.

Many expected a rejuvenated Pav to return the following summer with a bang after a pro-longed, and much needed, rest from the game.

However, his chances were somewhat limited with Redknapp preferring the partnership of Crouch and Defoe for the top four gaining season.

That isn’t to be said that the Russians season wasn’t a total failure and it was his goals the following early into the new year that boosted Tottenham’s top four credentials.

A quick-fire double away at Wigan saw him go on an extended run of scoring that saw Spurs pick up maximum points when they were needed most.

Made all the more impressive by the fact that he was close to leaving White Hart Lane over the Christmas period, Pavlyuchenko then saw himself given an extended run in the starting XI and when he started, the goals followed.

Fans were delighted to see the 29-year-old begin to live up to his hype and many felt that he would begin banging in the goals for fun last season.

But, with Rafael Van der Vaart joining Spurs, and Defoe injured, Redknapp opted to pair the Dutchman with Crouch which, in the first few months, worked to detrimental effect.

The partnership saw Pav benched again despite an impressive goals-to-game ratio, impressive considering our strikers couldn’t hit a cows backside with a banjo, from the bench, Redknapp never really trusted the Russian to start from the first whistle, using him as an impact sub.

Again, he became frustrated and disillusioned with life at Spurs and can you blame him? Reports suggest he never wanted to join the club in the first place, insisting he was happy in Russia due to family reasons.

Furthermore, his ratio being the most impressive of the four strikers at the time should have seen him starting more often than not and while he may not be the most technically gifted striker in the world, at least he knew where the net was.

Fast forward to the present day, Pav has started two of Spurs’ six competitive fixture this season, both culminating in 0-0 draws against so-called ‘lesser opposition’. Against Hearts he looked dis-interested and PAOK, simply not good enough.

He cast a forlorn figure to the one that was banging the goals in for fun at the beginning of 2010 and having been relegated to third, potentially fourth, choice striker, chances are he will leave the club come January after moves to Anzhi Makhachkala, Spartak Moscow and Premier League rivals Sunderland materialised into little more than speculation.

As for little Dos Santos, the Mexican arrived from Barcelona in the same window as Pav with a heap of potential and was a household name before, strangely at the time, Barcelona sold him to Spurs for a small sum of between £4.5m and £6m.

Fans were understandably excited about the signing, once dubbed the new Ronaldinho, and under then coach Juande Ramos, was expected to excel on the left-wing.

However, results dramatically slipped under Ramos and when Redknapp came in, Dos Santos was used sparingly at best, often making cameo appearances from the bench.

Loan spells with Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander left fans mystified as to why he wasn’t starting. Some heard he enjoyed the London nightlife a little too much while other speculated that Redknapp was less than impressed with his lacklustre attitude to training and his tardiness.

Nonetheless, impressive outings at both the World Cup and Gold Cup saw Dos Santos showcase his ability on the international stage but many were pondering whether he could replicate his international form for club level.

He impressed enough at Santander that Sevilla and Udinese registered an interest in the pint-sized forward and he came close to joining the Spanish side on the last day of the transfer window only to see Spurs pull the plug on the move at the very last moment, much to the displeasure of the player.

Back to the modern day and last weeks 2-0 win over Wolves saw Dos Santos make his first Spurs appearance for over a year as many expected to see the 22-year-old feature more often, now that the move to Sevilla fell through.

As expected, Dos Santos started the game against PAOK on Thursday, hoping to prove his worth to the backroom staff only for him to fail to really test the Greek sides defence.

Often running into a blind alley when close to the opponents box, it was a surprise he wasn’t substituted earlier. Some assume that Dos Santos was given an opportunity to impress after performing in training for Redknapp but chances are, he will be used to hike up his price-tag in time a January exit.

Another speculative suggestion is that Daniel Levy already has a replacement for Redknapp lined, especially with rumours of a deteriorating relationship, and the new man wants Dos Santos at his arrival when he arrives.

We shall learn more on the futures of both Pavlyuchenko and Dos Santos as the season wears on but chances are high that both will be moved on come the new year.

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