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
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