At £11 million, Rebrov was the record signing for Tottenham Hotspur. A forward that the fans had all been hoping for and his arrival sparked hopes that this would be the corner turned for Spurs, as he seemed to be someone who could turn chances into goals on a consistent basis. The reality once Sergei made it into the Premier League proved to be somewhat different.
Sergei began his career with Shakhtar Donetsk as a youth team player in 1990 and graduated to the first team in 1991, scoring his first goal as a 17 year old, although as a schoolboy, he had also excelled at basketball and volleyball. The Soviet Union league transformed in 1991 and the club then played in the Ukraine league, with Rebrov notching 10 goals in 19 games in the inaugural season. Later in 1992, the little striker moved to Dynamo Kiev, where he won eight league titles and five cups in the colours of the club and formed a proved to be a prolific scorer alongside Andrei Shevchenko (later of AC Milan and Chelsea), both at club and international level. However, he sought to free himself from the comparisons with his team-mate by trying his luck in England when he was sold to Tottenham. Although short, he had good ability in the air, a turn of pace and knew where the goal was.
In interviews, he has expressed his desire to work hard for the side and to ensure that he is a success with Tottenham. Music to the ears of management and fans alike and having played in the Champions League for Dynamo Kiev, he should have had nothing to fear in the Premier League, with the only problem being where the service would come from.
After arriving in May 2000, he made a quiet start. His first goal came against Everton in his fourth match. His first touch was sublime and he looked to be a top class player, but it was a question of how the rest of the team would get on with him. With Rebrov being an amateur radio enthusiast, we hoped they could get on the same wavelength as him !!
Despite carrying an injury (not something that was unusual in the Spurs squad), he battled away and scored more goals as the season moved into it's last few months, including two in the FA Cup 6th round tie against West Ham United. But the physical side of the Premier League and the inability of the rest of the side to provide him with the service he needed (i.e. not the high balls pumped up to him), lead to him being bullied out of games. Isolated up front, Sergei often found himself up against strapping centre-halves who rarely allowed him a kick of the ball and often handed out a kick for his troubles. Therefore, best of the little Ukrainian didn't materialise at Tottenham. He was side-lined through non-selection for the majority of the 2001-02 season and failed to make the bench for the first match of 2002-03. Rumours of a sale had been circulating during the summer, but nothing concrete happened, with Hoddle proclaiming that Sergei had a part to play in the Spurs season ahead.
In January 2003, he went on loan to Fenerbahce for 18 months and was part of the team that won the Turkish league in 2003-04 and returned to Tottenham when his loan spell ended, but David Pleat did not want to play him and he left on a free transfer for West Ham United in 2004, losing Spurs millions in the process.
Unsuccessful at the Boleyn Ground, he departed for his first club Dynamo Kiev in 2005, where he regained some form, as he was moved back into midfield and appointed as captain, also winning back his place in the Ukraine national team.