transfer window august 2006
With Tottenham's pursuit of Stewart Downing, I am starting to despair with this obsession with English players. I am all for it when they show something that the Spurs team lacks, but do we really need a wide-man who lacks the effort to get involved and when he gets the ball gives it away ?
Steve McClaren's selection of players is said to be not dictated by reputation. So, it is not Lampard that I wonder about, but the fact that he might have seen Downing have a good game in the Middlesbrough reserves once and has continued to pick him on the strength of that. I know we need a left sided midfield/winger, but when this man cuts back onto his right foot all the time and then just slings the ball into the box with no precision or touch, it defied my simple logic as to why we couldn't be playing Routledge there.
I only hope that the signing of Steed Malbranque does nto turn out to be a panic buy of Rasiak proportions. A good player, but will he be shipped out when Jol finally gets the man he really wants ? With the Brazilian performing seal Denilson available on a free, perhaps he might have made a more entertaining alternative ?
I trust Jol and will back him, but the number of players passing through the transfer window revolving door is increasing all the time, which makes it look like we have to buy someone, even if it is not the main transfer target we want. Stop gaps are fine, but even they can't wedge the window open any further.
There's nowhere left to run, nowhere left to go but upwards. I'm very pleased with the signings made, especially as it means I no longer have to bang on about the 'full-back problem', as it's finally been solved. Also, what a coup in signing the excellent Steed Malbranque for just £2m, most unexpected indeed, as I thought that Downing was our man. As good as Downing is, he's not a patch on a fully-fit, focused Malbranque, who's got a touch of the Ginola about him. The Gallic maestro has pace, power, skill and two good feet, so I think he'll bring more to the team than Downing. He'll take a lot of pressure off of Lennon, who's been getting double man-marked lately.
The question in regards to Chimbonda and Malbranque is can they make the step up in class and consistency ? It's easy to be a star at clubs like Fulham and Wigan, where the expectancy levels aren't so high, but at Tottenham the fans expect a certain amount of quality. We all know what Mido can do and I'm chuffed that he's back where he truly belongs.
There are no excuses now. MJ finally has the right personnel and has to get them playing the football that we all want to see. It's too bad we couldn't get rid of Davids, Lee and Stalteri, as there will always be the frightening prospect of one or more of them being involved in the first team. Sad really, as their continued presence in the squad means that O'Hara, McKenna, Huddlestone, and Ifil are held back yet further.
Whatever happens, I'm happy with the signings and progress made off pitch, hoping that it carries over onto the pitch.
S J Wightman
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