If you missed the introductory first part, you can read it here.
The Aftermath of the Berbatov Saga
Dear Mr Levy,
When people throw superlatives around concerning our bank balance, the re-development of the proposed new stadium and the consistent supply of top quality club DVD releases, I always respond in the same composed manner. I laugh, slap the naïve fool in the face, and state two words: Dimitar Berbatov.
Yes, yes. Old news. Been here before. Blah blah. But this serves a purpose as a stern reminder that there is simply no excuse for a repeat showing this summer.
The Bulgarian was the catalyst in the downfall of Martin Jol and in no uncertain terms the protagonist that helped aid your misguided stand against Ferguson and Manchester United which proved to be several nails in the coffin of Juande Ramos. Berbatov was a year into his 'I want to leave and join Man Utd' sulk, and rather than just sell him the second the season ended, you built a moat around White Hart Lane to warn off attacks that was about an inch deep. There was simply no defence in place for the prolonged attack that followed, which was more cold war than in the trenches. All Ferguson did was wait until the final day of the window, when you inexplicably accepted a transfer bid from Manchester City which was Berbatov's passport to fly up to Old Trafford. Which he did. Illegally or not, the player agreed terms with United. You know this. We all know this. Which meant that you either had to reject Utd's bid to spite Utd and Berbatov - and then deal with the consequences of a player that doesn't want to be at the club or you accepted it but only if they topped it up by an extra few million quid.
So in the end, we sold him to the team that had spent an age tapping him up, even though arguably, he had already made up his mind a season into his Spurs contract that he wanted to leave, sacked Martin Jol, put up with Berbatov's continued sulks/strikes/mood swings, then sell him to Utd in a last gasp deal in the final moments before the window closed. And for what exactly? £5M more than United wanted to pay?
Then followed your assault on the injustice of it all, with a threat here and a PR letter there. Placing aside your fit of rage over how things concluded, you topped it off by agreeing the signing of Frazier Campbell on loan. So, we lose our talisman. We don’t quite replace him. And then we get a youth player in as a replacement from the club that have just taken away the only world class player we had (at the time).
That's a little bit like finding out your supermodel girlfriend doesn't love you anymore, you then get dumped after a long bout of pretence that she won't leave as you fool yourself into believing you can make her stay even though she's made you look like a complete dick, and when she does finally leave her new boyfriend hands you a copy of Razzle and tells you, "You're be just fine with this mate".
Ferguson, mugged us off. And what did we do with the money? We re-signed Robbie Keane in the Jan window. Because there was no time left to replace the departing Bulgarian in the summer one. Prior to all this, we paid £14M for Roman Pavlyuchenko but wouldn't pay Zenit the £20M they wanted for Arshavin. Both having already played the best part of the Russian league season and the European Championships in the summer - there were obvious questions about what type of impact they would have. The Arshavin deal never went through, and thank God, because he looks really really uncomfortable out of position on the left for Arsenal. And as for Pav? He's scored a few, but he doesn't have the look of a world class player. It's like we've signed the Russian Bobby Zamora who keeps trying to re-enact the video to Radioheads Just. GET UP FROM THE FLOOR AND STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF FFS!
So, we end up with a strike-force of Bent, Pav and Campbell. We sign Bentley who is meant to supply the crosses for a target man, except we don't actually have anyone capable of fulfilling that role. And Bentley inexplicably forgets how to take a set-piece which renders him completely redundant unless confronted with a skip. Then in the January window we re-sign Defoe (Keane to follow) and have two players that have never quite worked playing up front together.
In the aftermath of the Berbatov saga, we are left weakened and desperate. Regardless of the self-inflicted implosion by Ramos regarding tactics and selection, we had three strikers that sort of came together by accident and ironically all three could well be departing this summer. Campbell back to Utd. Bent will be sold at a loss and how we plan to reclaim any of the £14M spent on Roman is going to be a hoot to watch.
Add to the mix David Bentley who hasn’t started a game for months, who seems to be superglued to the bench and has been cited by Harry as not really fitting into his team selection. Mark Hughes, got any spare change, guv? Anyone would think that if he played a certain amount of games we'd have to pay Blackburn more money. If Harry doesn’t fancy him, and he's sold on, then that's another transfer loss deficit. We've already re-signed Chimbonda that is arguably akin to taking out the rubbish and then bringing it back in again. It's fucking pointless. Leave it outside for Gods sake! It's where it belongs.
Daniel, we simply need to be spot on this summer. There is no Comolli. I'm sure there's still a scouting system in place. We all know Harry likes his random players with unpronounceable names, but he does strike gold more often than not. Bringing Defoe back was inspired, if obvious, and actually ridiculous all things considered. But it will work. Keane coming back was embarrassing for all concerned - him, Liverpool and us. He's tainted at the moment but will no doubt reclaim some of that intensity. Even his hand waving complaints seem limp wristed.
We need to reclaim some composure. More players like Wilson Palacios are required. Players that improve the side with immediate impact. No more soap opera dramatics and enforced donations to the Tottenham Foundation. There is no room for complacency. No room for unwanted back page headlines. Let the likes of City dominate the exclusives as they chase £100M players, while we pluck out quality that goes towards building a team rather than a set of individuals. We need to be direct and avoid long boring played out in the public domain transfer tussles. Get in there, sign them up for a competitive price, and sit there with a smug grin on your face when they repay us on the pitch.
And please, let's not be talking about 'The aftermath of the Modric saga' this time next year.
To follow in Parts II and IV:
- David Bentley, Jenas and The Opus
- Harry Redknapp