It was a shock, that’s a given, but when it was announced that Tottenham Hotspur had come to an agreement to sell Michael Dawson to Queen’s Park Ranger, I wasn’t all too surprised. A number of Spurs fans voiced their sadness on Twitter and who can blame them? I mean, this was Michael Dawson, a player who had performed with his heart of his sleeve for the best part of five-and-a-half years, not including his injury riddled season last year.
Believe me, I understand the sadness that goes with Dawson leaving; I feel it also. I’m sad about a player who regularly wore his heart on his sleeve may is set to depart White Hart Lane. I’m upset that a defender who would happily put his neck on the line in order to prevent a goal is ready to leave the club.
But let’s face; sentiment is an emotion that is wasted in football. You only have to look at the story surrounding Sam Mitten in the recent issue of FourFourTwo to understand how cut throat a business the game really is. The same can be said of Dawson at Spurs. A fan favourite in every essence of the word, alarm bells were ringing when the news was announced through various media outlets.
When Andre Villas-Boas was appointed head-coach at the beginning of July, fans were excited about his arrival, the brand of football that would be on show and what was next for Spurs. Furthermore, he was prepared to allow a number of the fringe players a chance to showcase their quality in front of the watching 34-year-old before he passed judgement and decided on their future at the club.
Many would never have expected Dawson to be one of those fighting for his future during Spurs’ pre-season preparations. The likes of David Bentley, Heurelho Gomes and Jermaine Jenas, many understood, but Dawson? Granted, he only made seven appearances for the club last season following Achilles and knee injuries, but his previous record means he deserves to stay at the club, right?
Wrong. To put it bluntly; Villas-Boas and Dawson simply don’t mix. The 28-year-old has a similar playing ability to John Terry, of whom the Portuguese tactician managed during his spell with Chelsea. With his high defensive line and Terry’s slow turn of pace, it was destined for disaster at Stamford Bridge.
However, captaining the Blues meant Terry couldn’t be sold. The same can’t be said of Dawson. Unfortunately, his lack of pace, coupled with Villas-Boas’ system, means it was likely that he would be sold, should a club lodge a reasonable. A stalwart and a club legend yes, but a player capable of replicating the 34-year-old’s plans, he is not. It’s a shame for the player, but if he was rarely going to feature, it’s best for the player to move him on and reinvest it back into the squad.
Like Dawson, seeing Tom Huddlestone leave, albeit on loan, isn’t a surprise. When on his game, the husky midfielder is capable of unlocking defences in the blink of an eye. However, like his soon-to-be-former-teammate, he suffered from injury last season. An ankle problem saw the England international sidelined for most of the season, restricting him to just three outings in all competitions last year.
In a three man midfield, Huddlestone has all the potential to really succeed, in the middle of the park; his creativity an asset to any manager that can get their hands on him. His immobility means that working with just one partner, he is easily found out, no matter how hard they may work. A lack of match fitness would see him caught out more often than not this season and it’s exactly this reason as to why he has gone on loan.
Stoke City looks the most likely destination for the midfielder, and even though they may not play the most visually appealing football, no offence, chances are Tony Pulis will look to utilise Huddlestone in the middle of the park. The move will work well for both parties, especially if the big man can gain first-team football. Furthermore, Spurs have inserted a clause in his contract that can see him recalled in January, so it isn’t all THAT bad really.
The chances of Sebastien Bassong remaining at the club beyond this summer were, at best, slim to none. Cast into the catacombs of the White Hart Lane changing room, dusted down for Europa League games, his time with Spurs was always set to end sooner rather than later. As it stands, Norwich City have a defender that is more than capable of handling himself in the Premiership.
Chris Hughton initially took Bassong to England back in 2008 when in charge of Newcastle United so is well aware of his talents. He was instrumental in the back-four during his first year with Spurs, often filling in for Dawson and Ledley King in the heart of the defence, but his playing was always going to be limited once Younes Kaboul returned and Williams Gallas arrived.
All he needs is the confidence boost from his manager that was so desperately lacking during the latter stages of Harry Redknapp’s reign at Spurs and Hughton is likely to provide that. On top of that, a regular run in the starting XI will see him grow into his role at Norwich and the possibility of him rediscovering his form that he showed with Newcastle and his first year at Spurs is certainly high.
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