Chimbo, Pav and Bent: Love them. Hate them.
Morning. More DML awards celebrating the end of the 2009 season. Enjoy.
Most Confusing Transfer
Imagine buying something from a shop. Second hand, but it's in decent nick. You try to get the best out of the item but it leaves you feeling a little empty. And as time goes by you actually get a little annoyed with having it laying around the house, unused. So, you stick it on eBay and not long after you've sold it for a tidy sum. You replace the item with one or two new ones which you are more than happy with and you get on with your life. Then, not long after, you get back on eBay and buy the original item back. No real reason. It was just there. Available. It's back in your ownership. Only to then leave it laying around the house once more unused.
Welcome to the Pascal Chimbonda Show. A transfer shenanigan too far. I'm not going to mention Willie McKay and his ties to Harry and the fact he is Pascal's agent. Apart from just then. Let's move on.
In pure footballing terms I attempted to justify the return of Chimbo by telling myself that we have got him back to do a specific job. Utility Man. He's a right-back but he can play on the left (not that well) and as a centre-back (not too shabby) so we have plenty of cover if need be and considering our plight at the time, we needed some cover and strength. I'm probably wrong, but I can only remember one appearance made since he re-signed. He might have made more. But I'm struggling to even remember the appearance that I do remember, well sort of remember. Corluka has slotted into the centre-back position when required. Before his injury, Dawson helped out if King was unavailable. Hutton - who has been lost to injury for an absolute age and prior to it was having a nightmare season on the pitch, has found himself back in the first team ahead of Pascal. Although there might be an element of 'shop window' with that - who knows. As for the left-side, that belongs to BAE.
Honestly, why did we re-sign this bloke if he never plays? Answers, postcard…etc.
The Honorary Rebrov Award for Patience
He's tired. Unfit. Russian. Can't speak the language. New to the country. New to English culture. Living in a hotel (until recently). Spotted in Waltham Abbey Tesco with a man-bag. Played a full Russian season and the European Championships. Did I mention he's tired?
Roman Pavlyuchenko was signed for £14M as a Robbie Keane replacement. Or was he meant to be a Berbatov replacement? Or was he meant to be a brand new type of forward altogether? His own man.
He turned up all smiles (a vast improvement on the sulky Bulgarian) but failed to make the same type of impact, leaving us with frowns. Once more, much like Bentley, several sound-bites started to do the rounds about how (as mentioned already) Roman was tired and unfit and possibly injured. Rushed into playing for Spurs and thus making things more difficult for him to adapt. Not his fault we were desperate to have someone who could help get us out of the bottom of the table, but typical Spurs that we would force the issue with a brand new signing in this manner. Even more typical Spurs that we would sign Roman in the first place. For the money we did. All things considered, when you've just lost two big players in Keane and Berbatov you need to make sure that the money spent is for a can-hit-the-ground-running type of forward. Berba took his time to adapt and get into the swing of things, but you could tell he oozed class and was doing everything else fine. Then the goals flowed.
With Roman, you want to believe he will have something to offer when he is completely refreshed and content with life in England. But at the moment, all we see is a player with that apologetic Bambi look about him, failing to control the ball with his first touch and always ballooning it over the bar when he has time to look up and shoot. He can stick them away ok when in front of goal. Poaching isn't a problem for him. And he can hold the ball up fairly well. But there is no obvious stand-out vision or that little spark of world-class about him. For an extra £6M or so we could have signed Arshavin (or possibly not considering that Zenit were/are a pain the backside to deal with). But you get my point. £14M for someone who isn't 100% is a massive massive gamble especially when it all feels like the second prize in a raffle.
Shades of when we signed Armstrong and Arsenal signed Bergkamp.
I've been a stern defender of Roman from the start. Ask "the bloke who stands next to me with all the sound-bites" at the Lane. He thinks the player is f**king shit. And many others think we've spunked a ton of money (again) on the wrong type of striker.
Interpreter running up and down the training field translating instructions, whispers of a transfer away and and struggle to learn English - one or two are expecting him to move on (escape) shortly. Others would prefer to see how he performs after a summers rest and decent pre-season. He could still turn out to be great. But that would mean that what we've seen so far (all the negative stuff) is down to circumstances fitness and that he can actually shoot on target from distance and does have a silky first touch.
One positive, and it's a big one I guess, is that regardless of the criticism, he's still notched up several goals. So he can't be that bad, can he?
Which brings me onto...
Much Maligned Player of the Season
He's our top goal scorer. And yet he is perceived as the most likely to be sold in the summer months. Here's a player that at one point wasn't considered as good as Harry Redknapps wife. A player that many Spurs fans believe is not right for our side. Too one-dimensional. Can only really play to full effect if we take up a Charltonesque style of counter-attacking football. Type of tactic that works away from home, where Bent has has plenty of success. In any other type of formation he struggles. He struggles because he doesn't offer that much in the way of team play. It's a running joke, counting the amount of times he touches the ball in a game. He can disappear for long periods and appear isolated. He doesn't come deep or bring others into the game. He just floats around. Goal-hangs if you will.
So what does Darren Bent to exactly?
He scores. Whether it flies off his ankle or hits his bum, Darren Bent sticks the ball into the onion bag.
So, why do we not rate him again?
The argument in support of Bent usually sounds like this: ''Well he scores goals, so what else do you want? Isn't the point of a forward to score goals? Does it matter how he scores them as long as he does?"
It's a good point isn't it? But would you say he is as consistent as a Gary Lineker? Or offers more to us than Jermain Defoe? People who do not rate him will be quite vocal in the fact that - for example - a partnership of Keane and Berbatov will offer an abundance more than a partnership of Keane and Bent. So for £16M you'd expect to have a player who can create and craft and generally offer a lot more than just, well, scoring.
I know, I know. It's sort of a paradox. But the point is - we could have someone in there who is overall a more all-round type of forward.
The irony is, we are linked with the likes of Jones (Heskey clone) and already have Pavlyuchenko.
Better the devil you know? I'm wondering, if he does end up going, whether we end up regretting it.
I'm going to gamble and say: No. No we won't.
More awards on their way.
For the full list, including the previous DML Award articles, just click here. Or use the tag below this post.