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With everything happening since Harry Redknapp took over, it is surprising the the arch "wheeler dealer" has been so quiet since the season ended and he has had a chance to beef up the squad with his own purchases.  Is it that he has to sell to buy after spending big in January to keep Spurs in the Premier League ? 

There has not been a great deal of movement anywhere in the transfer market so far, with only a few big money moves and with Chelsea, Manchesters United and City all being flush with cash, it kind of rules other clubs out of the running in this country and with Real Madrid and Barcelona being able to offer huge wages and low tax rates, it is perhaps not surprising that players are choosing to go elsewhere than the Prem.  But Tottenham lack even the lure of Europa League football, having lost out on the last day of the season to Fulham.

And this is why this season will be even harder. 

Some of the players who came in last season will have one campaign under their belts, but look at some of the other teams that finished around Tottenham in the table.  Manchester City are skewing the market with the funny money they are offering in transfer fees and wages, leaving even the top four clubs struggling to compete with their terms.  Everton are strengthening in a modest way, but then David Moyes appears to be able to do that relatively successfully, while Wigan Athletic have a new boss and money from the sale of Valencia to Man U.  Aston Villa will be less of a force without Barry and it really depends who they bring in to fill that gap and to improve their squad, as Fulham are going about adding to their squad with European football adding to the number of games they will be playing and Roy Hodgson is a shrewd manager.  Oh, yes ... and then there's West Ham United, who, fortunately are West Ham United.  Even Sunderland are having lots of cash to spend from a new investor and are snapping up players for big money.

So this season will need to start well and get better if Spurs are to seriously move into the elite group around the top of the table.  Frankly, I can't see it.  Once more, pre-season training has started and no new signings are in place, leaving any in-comers playing catch-up with team play and planning.

The pre-season starts this week and without a full squad in place, it might lead to another stuttering start, but hopefully nowhere as bad as last year.  Harry Redknapp did well when he took over from Juande Ramos in October last year, but he would have done well to have done worse.  He certainly seems to have the side bonding and the comments about some players are no doubt intended to give them a boot up the backside, but some might not receive those comments this season, as they will have been shipped out. 

David Bentley is one who Harry clearly doesn't fancy from comments he has made, but who will take him on and how much will Spurs lose on the deal ?  Heurelho Gomes looks to have come through his nightmare start thanks to the introduction of Tony Parks as the new goalkeeping coach.

Unfortunately, Darren Bent lacked sufficient confidence, despite being the club's top scorer last season.  He can take a chance, but look at those he missed, including the one that brought the remark about Harry's wife scoring it.  The one on one against Arsenal in his first season and others make him look like one who will not be favoured by Redknapp.  Trying to get our money back from him will be difficult, but perhaps with money sloshing around like it is going out of fashion, we might manage it.  Comments that Harry has made about Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko and Bale indicate that they will not be among his favourites, but frankly, we will have to spend big to replace them and they have their strengths, which the manager needs to work on.  Certainly, I would prefer them to some of the names being mentioned, as given a chance, they could prove to be effective players for the club.  Joey Barton, Nigel Reo-Coker, Barry Ferguson, Richard Dunne, Sylvain Distin, Lee Cattermole, Scott Loach and Scott Brown are neither the names I want the club to be linked with nor the ones which I can see taking Tottenham to the next level.

I realise that Harry Redknapp knows the game a great deal better than me, but the newspapers are surely having a bit of a laugh at Tottenham's expense with the rumours which have linked us with nearly 120 players since the closure of the last window.  Surely, the stories are all being drummed up as the market is so quiet of late.

The return of Jermain Defoe worked well, despite his injury ruling him out of the end of the season's run-in, while Robbie Keane didn't look quite the same player who left for Liverpool, but did grab some important goals to help the club survive.  Of all the players brought in, it was Wilson Palacios who had the biggest impact on the side.  Never one who will have the best disciplinary record, his dynamic hustling and tackling made him a thorn in the side of the other side's players and his contribution cannot be under-estimated.  The sort of player Tottenham have needed for some time, the Honduran also had heart break at the end of the season, with his brother being killed by kidnappers in his homeland.  With that being in the back of his mind, his performances take on even more kudos.

The side is shaping up, with the fitness of the players being crucial to the progress they can make, but more importantly is the team spirit, which is an area that Redknapp excels in honing.  The appearance on Soccer AM on Sky Sports, where the team take on the Crossbar Challenge (trying to hit the bar from the halfway line) showed the atmosphere in the squad was a very happy one. 

While Harry Redknapp takes a lot of the credit for keeping Tottenham in the Premier League and the top half at that, we should not forget that the reason he was there was because of the decisive move by Daniel Levy to admit his chase for Juande Ramos was ultimately an unsuccessful experiment.  Not only did he terminate the reign of the Spaniard, but also swept away the Director of Football role to allow Redknapp to operate in the way he wants.  Although small in stature, it takes a big man to admit he was wrong and make the move to put things back on course.  While he does not always do everything that Spurs fans might want, this move was a vital one with the new ground plans on the table.

The new stadium does look impressive, but I am not sure about how it will look in the surrounding area, as I know it is supposed to regenerate the area, but the effect that it will have in the short term in the environs of N17 will not improve things for the people who live there.  It might make house prices more in time, but the lack of an improved tube link to the ground and the limited prospect of more buses will not make it that more accessible.  The 36,000 coming away from the ground at the moment cause enough rigor in the area, so what congestion 58,000 will make is hard to imagine. 

With a month to go until the serious stuff begins, I hope that the newcomers can be brought in as early as possible, to avoid the last minute haggling that Spurs normally get involved in and the players having missed a good few matches before their integration into the side.

Enjoy the remainder of close season and pre-season and as always ...


Keep the faith.




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