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Bringing A Bafana Bafana To White Hart Lane: Steven Pienaar Joins Spurs

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An agreement has been reached has been reached with Everton star Steven Pienaar on a contract to bring him to Tottenham. With an expiring contract, Pienaar has been able to negotiate a new contract and has pushed firmly into the transfer season discussion. His rumored £70,000 per week wage tag is nothing to sneeze at, but just when Spurs get him is up in the air. An initial idea had been to wait until the end of the season to sign Pienaar, when they could get him on a free transfer. The Daily Mail reports though that Tottenham will have to buy him now at £2 million to avoid letting him get snatched up by Chelsea. Does this make move make sense for Spurs? 

I think the key to that opinion depends on what role you see Pienaar filling. He's been mostly a left midfielder for Everton this season, has played on the right wing as well, and mostly plays as a central attacking midfielder for South Africa. All in all though, Pienaar is an attacking midfielder, and no matter where he lines up on the field he will cut in towards goal.

In the Everton system David Moyes runs, Pienaar is allowed this, as he cuts in on his preferred right foot whilst the excellent Leighton Baines provides width down the left wing. Pienaar has excellent dribbling that he can combine with his pace to make him a threat to the defense. However, he's the epitome of a tweener-he doesn't have the pace or cross to dominate the wings, he doesn't distribute assists when attacking the goal and he does not score regularly. Throw in the fact that he is an ineffective tackler and does little defensive work and you begin to see Pienaar's flaws.

The numbers for Pienaar are not encouraging this season, in his 26 games (24 starts) he has 1 goal and no assists, pretty appalling numbers. Even more so, he would not be in the first XI, as Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, and Rafael van der Vaart all are superior players to Pienaar. Even worse, this wage for Pienaar would but him above or near that trio. And when you consider that Spurs might already have better cover in these positions with Niko Kranjcar, signing Pienaar seems to make even less sense.  The man is 28, he may very well be sliding away from the prime of his career, and his sell-on value is likely to be small. Financially, it makes the move a bit hard to swallow.

Pienaar doesn't fix any of Spurs' biggest needs, but that is not to say he isn't a useful player. He has international pedigree and could be a perfect super sub for this team. The wage bill isn't strained, so Pienaar could be a valuable piece in the club's push on in three fronts. Still, the £2 million transfer fee is what gives me doubt. At that price I could deal with buying him, but any higher and I would definitely say no. Midfield is the deepest area of this team, so if getting Pienaar means forgoing strengthening the team's weaknesses, it makes this transfer have dubious wisdom. But if Pienaar is part of widespread strengthening of the squad, I could approve.