Unusually, Spurs hit the loan trail, perhaps showing the state of the game at that time, but luckily, they picked up a player of Stephane Dalmat's quality from Internazionale without having to shell out big money on him.
Dalmat's career started at Chateauroux in France in 1997, but moved on to RC Lens in 1998 and shortly went to Marseilles, where he suffered being played out of position and thus kept his role call of clubs growing with a transfer to Paris St. Germain. he did well in midfield there, winning some rave reviews, but with the coming of a new manager, who didn't fancy him, he was on the road once more. This time it was to Internazionale in 2001, where he fitted inw ell to start with, but once more a falling out with the coaching staff after not getting a decent run of games saw him farmed out on loan.
Joining in September 2003, Stephane's arrangement was until the end of the 2003-04 season and he was brought in to add a little creativity to the midfield. On the ball, he was strong and although left footed, preferred to play on the right side of midfield. A silky dribbler, he has an edge to his game that sees him tackle back if required, although needed to get used to the English game and the physical demands that brought.
The Frenchman had a great passing range, knocking the ball effortlessly fifty yards to the feet of a team-mate and he liked to get forward to join in with the attack. He could have made the move permanently at the end of the season, but the main reason he came to Tottenham was because of Glenn Hoddle.
Dalmat showed in flashes why he would have been a fantastic player, but there were times when he lacked commitment in the full 90 minute battle that is the Premiership. He did score some cracking goals and also showed some skill while he dictated play in midfield. However, Hoddle's sacking left him lacking the man who wanted him at the club.
When the manager had gone and the Director of Football brought down from the board room, Pleat used the media to criticise Dalmat and made comments about his head being right, but the temper flared in training, with a bust-up with Jamie O'Hara rumoured to have taken place, so he was sent back to Inter earlier than he was due to go on 27th April 2004. The war of words about his attitude and how Tottenham treated him lingered long after his brief time at the club.
He returned to Italy, but was let out on loan again, this time back to France with Toulouse, where he sparkled in the early days, but a broken foot picked up in a friendly match restricted his availability to the end of the season, which saw the club fail to gain a place in Europe, so Stephane went back to his home club once more.
However, Racing Santander come to his rescue by taking him to Spain in 2005 for a season long deal, with his brother being signed too. However, when they returned late for duty after Christmas, his less than outstanding performances brought to a quick end, his time in the Northern city. Further moves back to France on free transfers to Bordeaux and Souchaux have seen him playing, but not realising the performances he is capable of.
While Dalmat's star burnt brightly at White Hart Lane for a short period, his demise was perhaps characteristic of his career, where he has been dogged by a trail of clubs and also a series of managers making unfavourable comments about his attitude. Shame, as he could have been a fine player.