Is it safe to come out yet?
Gut reaction to the transfer window? Looks like Levy is taking a gamble, looking forward to the next manager perhaps, with what might well be a war chest of funds (if the money isn’t lost in and around Northumberland Park). Pressure is now on Redknapp to excel to leave behind some reminisce of a legacy that includes more than just scapegoating, sound-biting and talking about results as manager of Tottenham rather than Harry Redknapp, currently at Tottenham. Still, responsibility is one to be measured collectively, so the players need to step up too.
One or two of you have already echoed this, but the squad *is* still strong. It’s improved (be it not to the extent most would have wished for) but improved it has. And Redknapp now needs to improve his focus and show everyone that he didn’t just get lucky in 2010. Selection, tactics...inspiring team talks. It's all in the hands (and mouth) of the manager, influencing the feet of the players. Foot and mouth that is bound to drive everyone mad.
We could have really gone for it in this window. Ruiz ended up at Fulham (I guess we don’t rate him) and regardless of where Harry will be next season the new manager in is unlikely to be too concerned about having top quality players bought a season earlier. Unless Levy is expecting change in the New Year. Have to say, selling Crouch in the manner we did suggests that even though the chairman ‘buys’ players Harry wants he also looks to sell players he believes are no longer necessary. Would be interesting to know if he simply sold Crouch because nobody bid for Pav. Would also be doubly interesting to know if Harry finally admitted Crouch is hardly suited the way we should be playing football.
It’s not been slick and it’s a shame we haven’t moved forward with fluidity on and off the pitch, but if this is considered a problem, it’s a good one to have. We’re hardly mid-table with no direction. And if we were heading there, then the Harry-haters will get their wish at Christmas. If Harry pulls it out the bag again, then stability is regained and the next man in arrives without the soap opera dramatics that surround a sacking.
It all smells of yet more Machiavellian tactics from the chairman who is quite content to hold back to see how things play out. If that’s the case, then Redknapp is hardly in the best position meaning that he might not retain the sufficient focus that’s required. The hope is Harry still cares about his brand name to produce the goods. Harry being Harry can not be seen to lose face. Although quite how one loses a face like his, especially when said face endures a 5-1 home thrashing is any ones guess. Tabloids might be able to answer that gem.
From Levy’s perspective, the gamble is that if we fail to finish top four, the likes of Modric and Bale would most definitely be off. So if you take the profits from those two and add to the money made this window and the money from the CL – there has to be a fair bit to spend. Guess the chairman requires a manager that sees eye to eye with him. It's all just assumption based at the moment. But we are definitely set up to be 'safe' for any eventuality.
So, in summary...
The three kids we’ve signed are unlikely to figure. Freidel allows for competition for the number one shirt and Adebayor will solve the problem we’ve had in terms of finishing off gilt-ridden chances. He’ll prove a far better target for our midfield and flankers than Crouch. For now at least (with Rafa injured) it looks like it’s going to be 442. Back to basics.
Parker is a player that I’ve always been quick to criticise and will gladly admit I’m wrong if he proves me wrong. I do (perhaps in desperation) understand what he will bring fundamentally in terms of engine-room dynamics and leadership. Something we are seriously lacking when King is not available (the latter that is). Engine-room we don’t have full stop, what with Sandro on the sidelines too. So a perfect opportunity for Parker to prove he can influence when surrounded by a better quality of player(s).
Should add that Luka (on form) provides that deep-lying engine room with allowing possession to flow in our favour, so Parker will bring much needed protection. Could end up being a wonderful combination. If Luka sorts out that delicate little head.
We could have done with a centre-back (was Cahill worth the £10M punt?) and a right-sided winger/forward (Ruiz not fancied). But apparently we at least attempted to sign Cahill but regardless we are left with King, Gallas, Dawson, Bassong and Kaboul. Once upon a time Bassong was signed as potential, had a great season and has now been forgotten about. If we’re going to spend money, we can at least attempt to place some faith in our signings. We’ll have to hope (how often do I use that word?) for the best and that injuries are kind to us at the back.
Players out has been a fruitful one re: wage bill. Obviously the secret of success is to be on the ball with the fiscal rather than the physical. So Levy achieved some smart house-keeping. None of the players had a future at the club (perhaps Crouch at a push – push not strong enough by Harry and Kevin). Top four nailed on now.
Jenas could still have done a job for us. Seriously, don't be laughing. He seems to do well when expectation is not high (that’s when coming off the bench or deputising). Someone will no doubt quote the stat that we apparently win more points per game when JJ plays than when he doesn’t. Stats aside, Levy’s poster-boy mantra has failed. On loan at Villa, it will be of massive interest to see if he re-invents himself as a consistent performer. Here’s hoping he scores a brace against the scum.
As for Bentley. I guess West Ham United require someone who can kick balls into skips. What’s that? That’s not a skip, it’s the Chicken Run? Soz. Couldn’t tell the difference.
So are we stronger? Yes. Are we stronger in terms of matching Utd and City? Of course not. One team has Ferguson the other has unlimited funds and a wage structure that allows for the club to pay the players taxes. Don’t kid yourself, we can’t compete with that.
Liverpool have bought some solid players but are hardly sexy, par that over-rated Suarez up front who just flatters to deceive with this goals and his assists. Arsenal have signed players that we would have been mocked for had we signed them. Although they only have to be 2% better than us to dominate North London in the Prem. Times are changing, and regardless of some of the knee-jerking – it’s hardly suicide watch.
Yes, we should have spent more money and done our business fair earlier in the transfer window, but it seems we waited too long for certain players before opting for the textbook ones. Yes, Harry has lost his mojo (lucky or not, he still got us into the CL). Best we can do (as fans) is support players/club and then freak out when we’re sitting with two points from eight or so games.
It wasn’t a perfect window but it was not a disaster. We held onto our best players. Be it our very best player has been a **** for most of the summer. Everyone is accountable. Window is shut. The dramatics are over.
There might be a twist or turn or three by Christmas or we might be competing for 4th and then all the haters can dream about the summer of 2012. Although I expect us to splash some of that money in January (if we have any sense) – if we’re competing top four.
But it's way too early to start bitching about stuff that hasn’t even played out yet.
From the world famous secret studio of The Fighting Cock podcast team, it's episode six. Discussed in part one: Twitter re-tweet mission update. Man City debacle autopsy. Livermore > Modric. The truth behind Luka's performance against City. Formation headaches. Centre-back headaches. Positivity and negativity. Harry Redknapp is dissected (it gets ugly) along with our transfer dealings (pre-deadline day) and Neil the Cabbie is back with a brand new rant. In part two we laugh at the scum (lol) and whether we should in fact be laughing at them. We laugh at them anyway. We've got emails. Also Daniel Levy. Do we love him? Or do we not? Do you love him? A twist on the Tottenham Whisper. And we end with a super-quick game of Killer.
Love the shirt.