Friday, September 01, 2006

A review of this summer's transfer activity

And so another transfer window closes after a hectic summer of rumours, on-off deals, loan moves and permanent transfers. We can now all look forward to a quiet few months without the daily “will we… won’t we” scenarios. At this point in time I thought it would be worthwhile to look over what has happened this summer, as there has been more activity involving Spurs than usual.

From a keeper perspective there have been no changes, although it was well publicised that third choice keeper Martin Fulop was frustrated that he wasn’t allowed to move to Coventry. To be honest though, I don’t think that many Spurs fans will give too much thought to the fortunes of a reserve team substitute.

In defence there has been a lot of talk about who should be the first choice full backs. After a whole summer of sparring with Wigan we have finally signed Pascal Chimbonda who will undoubtedly become our regular right back (with Stalteri as back-up). On the left hand side, we’ve brought in Benoit Assou-Ekotto who has so far made the left back berth his own. However, now that Lee Young-Pyo’s proposed move to Roma fell through (apparently due to his religious beliefs) it will be interesting to see who is favoured as first choice. Earlier on this summer it was announced that we’d signed a young French defender – Dorian Dervite – but for the time being he’ll just have to make do with the label “one for the future”. Kelly, Bunje and Naybet have all left without too many tears shed, and the defender with the most appropriate name, Rodrigo Defendi, has joined Roma for a season-long loan. All in all, a huge thumbs up to Levy, Comolli and Jol for their significant improvements to our defensive ranks.

My personal view is that we finish the summer in a neutral position when it comes to midfield. Although losing Reid, Marney, Jackson and Yeates (the latter just for a season), the massive loss is obviously Michael Carrick. We may have got more than we deserved for him but it is a huge hole that will take some time to fill. Zokora has been brought in as his replacement and the early signs, in my opinion, look promising. That said, it will take time for Didier to adjust to London, to the Premiership, and to Spurs. With recent rumours of a falling out with the Pit-bull and the disappointing start we’ve had to the season, I think it’s fair to say that Zokora is finding it a tough baptism. I was annoyed to hear yesterday that Routledge is off to Fulham for a season, as I really think he should be given a chance – I was pretty impressed with him pre-season. And as I said earlier this week, the signing of a crocked Steed Malbranque (even if it’s for only £2 million) doesn’t fill me with joy. We still have a problem on the left side, and it may not be adequately solved until the January transfer window.

Up front though and it’s a case of ‘A+’ for the Spurs management team. The signing of Berbatov is superb news – he’s looked great all pre-season and got off the mark in the league on his home debut. As long as he stays fit, I expect close to 20 goals from him this season. I’m a little surprised that we have re-signed Mido, as I do think he will struggle to feature in the first team – but it’s good news for us that he has such a high opinion of the place and the people that he was willing to hold out for a permanent move back here. Away from the first team, El Hamdaoui has moved on – but considering he never really settled it’s not major news.

So all in all, I think it’s been a good summer of transfer activity. We still have one problem position, but as we’ve coped for long enough without a proper left winger we shouldn’t be using that as an excuse. And despite our rocky start to the new campaign I’m still optimistic and hopeful… Come on you Spurs!

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