With one of the most unpredictable and dramatic days of the footballing year finally coming to a close, fans everywhere were able to take stock and review whether their team had done well or poorly in the transfer window. I, like many spurs followers, was initially sceptical over Tottenham's dealings - I mean Louis Saha, Ryan Nelson? I know ‘Arry likes a seasoned, experience player but Christ, their collective age would get them a bus pass. However, having thought about it a bit more I came to the conclusion that Daniel Levy and co. have, yet again, been pretty astute.
Firstly, two things to point out:
1 - We all know Daniel Levy runs a tight ship - there are ceiling caps on wages, sell-on value is always a factor, the club won't be mortgaged to bring in some Galactios.
2 - Last night's game against Wigan was completely irrelevant in terms of bringing players in. So any injuries sustained cannot be used retroactively to throw at Redknap and Levy while shouting ‘WE NEEDED COVEEEEEER'.
As has been pointed out by Harry repeatedly, he was only interested in bringing in a world class player this window - someone who would clearly improve the squad. This suggests that overall he is happy with his current squad and believes they can still push the Manchester clubs all the way this season. I personally agree with him; I think we have one of the best teams in the Premiership and on our day can outplay anyone (on a side note, does anyone else take a certain smug satisfaction that these teams that have blown huge amounts of money over the last year are no more competitive that Spurs? I frequently remind my United friends of the price difference between Friedel and De Gea)
Reports in the press suggested that attempts were made to land a mythical ‘Big Signing' but were thwarted by the financial restrictions on the club (Remy and Klasic). If you had asked me whether I wanted either of these players I would have said yes but at the cost of discarding Spurs prudent financial management? No, so it's hard to be too disappointed by this.
The second set of transfers are far more telling and interesting in my opinion. These are the sale of Pavlyuchenko and various loans. At first they look like the dealings of a mid-table club. Do you think the Manchester clubs or Chelsea were looking at Saha and thinking well Rio said he was good, plus there both top, top lads? I doubt it. Here is my breakdown of these seemly unambitious deals:
- Pavlyuchenko has been on the way out for a while. Spurs needed someone to spend some money on him and clear him from the wage bill. The market for him was in Russia, Russian clubs are buying now, he needed to be sold. While everyone agreed he could score goals his game style and effort levels would never have made him a regular starter for Spurs and he wasn't happy not playing.
- Bassong, Pienaar and Charlie are all surplus to requirements with Bassong in particular making it clear he's not happy warming the bench. These loans will get them back on the radar as all should be starters at the clubs they've joined. I would also be very surprised if all of these loan deals didn't have a buy option at the end of the season. I think it's very likely that Bassong and Charlie will stay on at their loan clubs.
- With these clear outs Tottenham needed a bit of cover, especially up front, and the deal for Saha could be very clever. They have brought in experienced player in the last final years of his career who will know from the outset that he will be performing a bit part at best. I wouldn't be surprised if the initial deal is for the remaining 6 months with an extension option if a certain amount of appearances or goals are achieved. Wage bill is lowered, the club has experienced cover if needed (that won't complain when not) plus the experience he brings will naturally be shared with the rest of the squad, especially the younger players (I was going to talk about Nelson as well but that doesn't look like it's happened - I thought that would have been a smart move too).
At the end of the season we should see a slimmer squad with hopefully a (top, top) player or two being bought in the post-season transfer period or equally exciting some more youth players breaking into the first team (my favourite Spurs move in January? Falque on a permanent deal. I think he's looks a lot like a Rafa Mk2). Either way this has been, for all intents and purposes, a consolidation window (and season) in terms of signings in preparation for what I anticipate being an exciting summer. On the plus side, take a look at our league position. We should probably consolidate more often...