So, it’s all over until the summer. No more signings, no more exits; Harry Redknapp and co. have to make do with what they have until the end of the season. With that in mind, To the Lane and Back has taken the opportunity to overlook the arrivals and departures in depth.
Yago Falque – Signed during the summer on-loan from Juventus, many took his arrival with a pinch of salt. However, Spurs opted to turn his loan deal into a permanent one in early January, before subsequently loaning him out to Championship title contenders Southampton. Used sparingly by Redknapp this season, making a majority of his appearances in the Europa League before Rubin Kazan and PAOK knocked us out of the competition, he has shown glimpses of his talent.
Has the ability to get in behind the defence, while his pace and trickery can prove to be a real asset in the future, his time with Saints will only do him the world of good. Must have done something to impress the coaching staff, otherwise the deal wouldn’t have been made permanent six months before his loan deal was set to expire. Following the recent precedent set by the management of buying young before sending on-loan to a League 1/Championship club.
Louis Saha – Having been linked with moves Leandro Damiao and Didier Drogba, the news that Louis Saha would be signing for Spurs took most, if not all, fans completely by surprise. Following the arrival of Nikica Jelavic at Goodison Park, Saha found his position in the Toffees first-team compromised by the Croatian. However, the Frenchman follows the recent trend of bringing in proven Premier League experience by Redknapp.
At 33-years-old, his best days are easily behind him, but he hasn’t come in to break into the starting XI. Will arrive as third choice behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe and offers more than Roman Pavlyuchenko coming off the bench. Goals haven’t necessarily been a part of his game, as evidenced during his spell at Everton, but his work off the ball will prove a great asset when attempting to see out games. And anyway, the vast array of creative talent supporting the former Manchester United and Fulham striker, there is no way he won’t be able to chip in with a few goals.
Ryan Nelsen – Like Saha, Ryan Nelsen was another surprise addition by Redknapp and one that was only confirmed today after the New Zealander had his contract terminated by Blackburn Rovers. At 34-years-old, he isn’t going to force his way into the starting XI, but brings with him a wealth of Premier League experience that can prove pivotal in the long-run.
Can do a job when called upon, providing he isn’t injured at the time (he has mustered just one league appearance this season due to injury) and, in a similar vein to Saha, isn’t expecting a starting spot, unlike Sebastien Bassong who today admitted he was happy to swap Spurs’ title hunt in the search of first-team football. Another Premiership experienced veteran, but only a short-term signing.
Roman Pavlyuchenko – After three-and-a-half years at White Hart Lane, Spurs bid farewell to Roman Pavlyuchenko. Like Bassong, was after first-team football, something Redknapp couldn’t guarantee. A bit of an enigma with the fans, he can produce moments of absolute brilliance, but usurp his hard work with a number of lackadaisical performances leading the front-line. His off-ball work was what let him down in the end often appearing lazy and un-interested despite being given ample time to showcase his worth.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; when it comes to finding the back if the net, there isn’t many better than Pavlova. His finishing, technically, is up there with the best of the best, in my opinion. But, as I mentioned, it his play off the ball that really let him down. Either way, three separate occasions require his thanks. 1) His goalscoring run in the second-half of the 09/10 season. 2) His screaming effort against Young Boys and 3) His winner against Sunderland earlier this season. He frustrated the hell out of me, but deserves a big thanks and my blessing to succeed at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Yago Falque – see above.
Harry Kane – Scored his first senior goal for Spurs in the 4-0 rout of Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League, Harry Kane has the physical attributes to really make a name for himself in the game. Some fans jumped on his back after failing to score in the tournament, but he knows how to put his weight around on the football pitch as witnessed in Europe.
Now on loan with Millwall for the remainder of the campaign, the 18-year-old gets his chance to shine in the Championship and his goals will be vital if the Lions are to sustain their status in the second tier of English football.
John Bostock – Some consider this last chance saloon for the temperamental youngster. Bought by Spurs in 2008, the 20-year-old has, thus far, failed to live up to his early promise he showcased while at Crystal Palace. Redknapp and co. beat off a host of competition to bring him to White Hart Lane with many predicting the midfielder to have a bright future in at the lane.
However, subsequent spells with Brentford, Hull City and now Sheffield Wednesday has seen him fail to reach his potential, thus far. Attitude problems appear to have hindered his opportunities with Spurs, but a decent showing with Wednesday in League One could go a long way to forcing himself into the first-team and back into Redknapp’s plans.
Andros Townsend – Another to have made a name for himself with some assured displays in the Europa League, Andros Townsend has the chance to prove his worth with Leeds United. Looks a real prospect and some first-team action will aid his development tremendously especially if he can help the Championship outfit out of their recent poor league form.
Many felt he didn’t warrant a further short-term move away from White Hart Lane, but with first-team action available, it will help him in the long run. However, he has showcased that he has the potential to prove a reliable back-up for Aaron Lennon or Gareth Bale should one, or both, forced into an extended spell on the sidelines through suspension or injury.
Tom Carroll – Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects to have gone on loan, Tom Carroll looks to be a real gem of a find. Comfortable on the ball, excellent passing ability and superb vision has Carroll down as one-to-watch over the next few months. The style of football Nigel Clough has Derby County playing, despite their perilous league position, will suit the youngster perfectly.
Scored on his debut and looking likely to start the Rams next Championship encounter against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how he progresses between now and the end of the season and I, for one, will be keen to see how he develops playing regular first-team at Pride Park.
Vedran Corluka – When Vedran Corluka first moved to White Hart Lane in 2008, he firmly secured his sport in the starting XI, developing an excellent partnership with Lennon in the process. Ahead of this season, he was first-choice under Harry Redknapp as the two wrecked havoc down the right-side with Corluka often supporting the England winger, both defensively and in the attack.
However, the return of Kyle Walker has seen his chances limited while a succession on injuries hindering his opportunity of usurping the England hopeful at right-back. Still capable of performing at the highest level, it was only right to allow the Croatian the prospect of first-team football at Bayer Leverkusen, especially with Euro 2012 fast approaching. A permanent move is on the table at the end of the season and if the Bundesliga side don’t agree to sign him in the summer, many would be very surprised.
Sebastien Bassong – Another hindered by a lack of first-team action, Sebastien Bassong has found opportunities few and far between. Wolves have managed to pluck a Premier League experienced centre-back from Redknapp and with it, increased their chances of securing a third successive season in England’s top tier.
Started off exceptionally well with Spurs, scoring in the 2-1 win over Liverpool that kick started our push for a top-four finish, Redknapp appears to have lost faith in the Cameroonian international with Younes Kaboul, Ledley King and William Gallas all comfortably ahead of him in the pecking order. Now given the chance to prove himself once again with Wolves, Mick McCarthy has done well to secure his signature on a short-term basis.
Adam Smith – Bought back from MK Dons after six months with the League One side, Adam Smith was shipped out straight away on loan once more, this time to join team-mate Townsend at Leeds United. Picked up numerous accolades and won many plaudits during his spell with the Dons, the opportunity to send him to a Championship side to further his development.
Worth keeping an eye on, especially with Corluka gone as well, he can excel with the Whites for the remainder of the season.
Steven Pienaar – A perplexing signing 12 months ago, Steven Pienaar’s Spurs career never really took off from the start. With a number of players already at the club in his position, the South African was always going to find breaking into the first-team a mammoth task. Injuries didn’t help his cause and, as a result, was granted the opportunity to return to Everton on-loan for the remainder of the campaign.
A hard working, tenacious midfielder, it was a shame his time at Spurs never worked out. Was exceptional during the famous 1-0 win over AC Milan at the San Siro last February, but, as previously mentioned, found first-team chances hard to come by. A reuniting with David Moyes at Goodison Park should see his career re-ignite again after it stalled somewhat at White Hart Lane.
In a nutshell, Redknapp bought in Premier League experience and players that are happy to play a bit-part role. With Pavlyuchenko and Bassong now gone, two players that were hankering for first-team football, Spurs have replaced them in Saha and Nelsen and, although they aren’t two marquee signings we as Spurs fans were hoping for, they bring with them a wealth of knowledge of the Premiership and follows the recent mould of bringing in Premier League experienced players.
However, both are simply short-term fixes and with the money that has been accumulated both last summer and in January, you can expect plenty of investment once the season ends.