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Tottenham Hotspur
Posted by Colin McCullough on 08/24/2010

While the game against Stoke may not live long in the memory - except perhaps for Gareth Bale’s wonderful volley - it has been a very eventful week. The arrival of a former Arsenal captain has been met with dismay by some sections of the Spurs support but, as the game against Young Boys demonstrated, the team could certainly use an experienced central defender. They don't come with much more experience than the 33 year old William Gallas, who in addition to spending almost a decade in the Premier League, has been capped 84 times by France.

Harry Redknapp described the acquisition of Gallas as "a no brainer" and in that he's correct. The defender has arrived on a free transfer and has a one year deal (with an option for a further year if he starts 30 games), so the risk seems minimal. The manager went on to say that,

"He's a footballer, a great lad, smashing, and he'll improve Tottenham. He's got the bottle to come and play here and I'm sure the fans will give him a good reception. "

That last statement may be a little dubious. Some of the fans will balk at the sight of Gallas in a Spurs shirt and there is precious little that he can do about that, except to try to win them over with his commitment. Whether he is a "great lad" remains to be seen. His petulant display against Birmingham in February of 2008 is an enduring image, and he was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy the following season for being overly critical of his teammates. In the last few days Arsene Wenger has characterized this kind of behaviour as indicative of a player who demands 100% from everyone around him, but of course it is easy to be gracious about someone who is on the way out.

Questions of attitude aside, there is no doubt that Spurs need Gallas, or someone very like him. Ledley King clearly cannot play in every game, while Jonathan Woodgate may be forced to retire through injury. Bassong, as he showed against Young Boys, is still raw, while Kaboul, at fault for the goal conceded against Stoke at the weekend, is erratic. Most significantly of all, Michael Dawson - also poor on the plastic pitch in Bern - is a much better player with an assured veteran alongside him, balancing his effort and work rate with positional and tactical awareness. Presumably Harry's preferred central defensive partnership will now be either King/Dawson or Gallas/Dawson. Gallas brings the added bonus of being able to play at left-back, although this is a position where Spurs are relatively well covered.

With that deal done, there has also been speculation about Robbie Keane's future, with talk of some sort of "swap" for West Ham's Scott Parker. The terms of this remain unclear, which is hardly a surprise given that proceedings are still at the rumour stage. It is being reported simultaneously that Parker plans to sign a new contract at Upton Park. If, however, an arrangement could be made, Harry should dust off his "no brainer" phrase for some additional use.


Comments

Posted by Theodore on 08/24/2010

With Champions league football, why is Tottenham considering selling Robbie Keane & Peter Crouch??

Both players have tasted Champions League football and are great strikers.

I just don't understand it. Tottenham need to solve the defence problem. With Woodgate out with injury & King only playing when he can.

The signing of William Gallas is a good move.

Posted by Ryan M on 08/24/2010

I think Gallas' ability to play left back is understated. I really like seeing Bale in the midfield but BAE doesnt look comfortable back there. If we can get King healthy then we should make Gallas our left back.

Also: over/under 6.5 goals for Spurs in their next Premier League game against Wigan? I'll take the over.

Posted by Ed on 08/24/2010

Hello Colin,

I was reading l'equipe.com yesterday and with Lass Diarra surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu it was rumoured that 'Arry is interested in him, but so far has balked at the 10 million asked for him. I for one think that he'd be a great buy at that price seeing as he's only 25. You put any stock in these whispers?

I feel he'd be a much better buy than an aging Scott Parker (regardless of the fact that I love the commitment and drive Parker provides) - as he'll be 30 in October.

Also, unless Spurs can be guaranteed of buying a quality striker to replace Keane (crossing the proverbial fingers of course)we'll need him being in the CL, FA and Carling Cups plus the league. He'll get more than enough chances to play. They all will.

Posted by mgunwin on 08/24/2010

Good article as always Colin.
I am very happy with the Gallas signing, on a free, one year deal is a good piece of business. Although Keane has looked a shadow of his former self since he returned to the lane I don't understand this rumored swap for Scott Parker. It would leave us very thin up top as the Stoke game showed with only one fit striker. We already have a few DM's in the increasingly erratic Palacious, Huddlestone, and the soon to be arriving Sandro. Unless 'Arry is able to bring in a replacement striker of quality (Fabiano?) the deal makes no sense. It would be like two years ago when we let go of Berbatov, Keane, and Defoe and were left with only 2 strikers, the frustrating Bent and an unproven Pav. We need a class striker ASAP.

Posted by Nikko on 08/24/2010

I agree Colin. Spurs need someone like him and to come at a free transfer is ever better! That YB match was horrid to watch and must make amends.
So is Gallas CL tied or he's good to go against YB?
COYS!

Posted by Damion on 08/24/2010

BAE is a solid right back. He's proven himself worthy - people need to stop jumping on his back when he has a bad game. He only had a few bad games all last season, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Crouch and Keane are mediocre players. They are simply not good enough for a team with aspirations to become a regular participant in the CL.

Diarra is a MUCH better and younger option than Parker for only slightly less money.

Spurs defense is fine. I fail to see why everyone is focusing on the poor performance against Young Boys while forgetting the great performance against Man City where they never looked close to scoring.

Posted by simo on 08/25/2010

Agreed, BAE is a solid fullback, if unspectacular. his "kick it to crouch" strategy is really effective, and he played rather well with gareth bale over the last 2 weekends.

i also think scotty parker is not really what the club needs; i mean modric is running the midfield well. you can't reallly play both of them and i would prefer modric to parker.

but clearly 'arry has his favourites..

I would agree with everyone that a REALLYGOD striker is the teams priority - especially with JD injured - but we've known that all summer, and nada has happened.

Posted by Enrique Jesus Briceño on 08/25/2010

Nikko..

Gallas isn't eligible to play in the qualifying round as he wasn't on the roster for the first game at Young Boys, he will be able to play in the group stages if Spurs qualify. On a side-note, Fabiano won't be cup-tied to Sevilla since they failed to qualify today against Braga.

Posted by Mike on 08/25/2010

Agree with the positive BAE sentiment. Sure, he's not the attacking back Bale would be, but he's solid defensibly and his passing and distribution has been excellent.

Still a little angry with Gallas, but if he proves himself Ill certainly warm to him.

Sidenote: Does anyone remember a year or so ago when Palacios said, more or less, he'd jump ship without second thought if R.Madrid came calling? Anyone think we should swap the 2?

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