During the January transfer window, it seemed that Harry Redknapp's unique approach was to try to bring back all of the players who had left the club in the previous twelve months. Now in the summer he has accomplished what was clearly his real ambition - building a team that includes both the tallest and the shortest player in the Premier League.
No doubt the 5ft 5in Aaron Lennon will provide plenty of service for the 6ft 7in Peter Crouch, and hopefully the big man will make better use of that service than the departing Darren Bent. Although he was the club's leading scorer last season, Bent has been the subject of the same type of criticism that used to be leveled at the more prolific Andy (sorry, Andrew) Cole - namely that his conversion rate does not stack up well against the number of chances created for him by his teammates. The nadir of his Spurs career was perhaps the "Harry's missus" miss (ironically against Crouch's Portsmouth). From that moment on Bent's tenure at the club looked to be on shaky ground, not only as a result of the error itself, but also because of the player's reaction to his manager's criticism. Perhaps no surprise then that Bent's transfer has been accompanied by his recriminations both in interviews and on Twitter.
What is a genuine surprise is that Steve Bruce has been prepared to shell out £10 million, with that fee potentially rising to something like the £16.5 million that Spurs paid for Bent two years ago. This is a very good result, especially in light of the fact that his direct replacement cost less money and is a superior footballer. While Crouch may lack Bent's pace, he has much more in his locker, including a better first touch, formidable aerial power, and the ability to hold the ball up front. Redknapp obviously has considerable faith in the player with whom he worked at Southampton and also at Portsmouth, where Crouch paired up with Jermaine Defoe. The prospect of that same front two playing off each other and linking up with Modric and Lennon is a mouthwatering one. Quite where it leaves Robbie Keane is a whole other question.
Harry's other major acquisition was in some sense forced upon him. Injuries to Woodgate and Dawson, along with Ledley King's ongoing problems have necessitated the purchase of a center back. In the circumstances, Redknapp could hardly have done better than signing Sebsatien Bassong, one of the few bright lights in the truly awful Newcastle side. While the Frenchman only cost £500,000 when he moved to Tyneside from Metz a year ago, the £8 million invested in him does not look overinflated, especially given some of the crazy fees being paid out in recent weeks (£16 million for Kolo Touré anyone?). Bassong comes out of the Clairefontaine football academy whose alumni include Anelka, Gallas, Saha and Henry, and is young enough to develop under the tutelage of Woodgate and King. As a bonus, the timing of his signing means that he has already served the suspension that might have prevented his appearance in the season opener against Liverpool. It can't come quickly enough.