Tottenham Hotspur: 10 Biggest Letdowns of Harry Redknapp Era
It's finally set in. After a week, the shock of Tottenham sacking Harry Redknapp has become a reality.
There's a lot of reasons for Redknapp's need to step down at White Hart Lane. His tactics weren't always the best and he caused a distraction or two during Spurs' title run this season.
However, in my opinion, it was the expensive letdowns that did Redknapp in.
Players like Peter Crouch, Alan Hutton and Ricardo Rocha were a drain on the limited finances the club was willing to spend in the first place. These players and more never produced quality enough to consistently qualify for the lucrative Champions League.
Redknapp was a great motivator and leader, but his (and the club's) choices of players was ultimately his undoing.
Who were the biggest letdowns of the Harry Redknapp era? Join me and find out.
10. Louis Saha
I know that it's hard for former Everton man Louis Saha to be considered a letdown. After all, how many expectations were placed on the 33-year-old after he decided to come over to White Hart Lane during the most recent winter transfer window?
Admittedly, not much—until he played extensively at Liverpool days after signing, scored a brace in the first 20 minutes of a 5-0 blowout against Newcastle United. He scored another in Tottenham's humiliating 5-2 loss to Arsenal. Three goals in three matches. Expectations were there for the Frenchman.
And then the letdown came.
From there, he made six more appearances without getting anywhere near another score.
9. Bongani Khumalo
Bongani Khumalo is everything Tottenham needs at centre-back these days—he's young, he's a mammoth of a man and he's a brute when it comes to dispossessing opponents.
There's only one small problem: Khumalo's not very good.
Claimed from South African club SuperSport United in January of 2011 for a transfer fee of £1.5 million, Khumalo hasn't made it onto the pitch for one meaningful match for Spurs, opting rather as first-choice for loaning out to such lower-tier clubs as Preston North End and Reading.
8. Steven Pienaar
In January of 2011, attacking winger Pienaar was in the middle of a tug-of-war match between Tottenham and Chelsea with the former earning his services with the promise of a transfer fee of £3 million and a four-year contract.
Expectations were moderate.
After all, it was a few million euros and a four-year contract to boot.
Less than one year later, he was on the transfer block again, having only been good enough for 18 appearances in all competitions and not scoring in any of them.
7. Wilson Palacios
In January of 2009, Tottenham thought the answers to their midfield problems were solved. They had wrestled centre-midfielder Wilson Palacios away from struggling Wigan Athletic, but for a king's ransom—the transfer fee alone was £12 million!
As one of the most expensive signings in Spurs history, expectations were high for Palacios to perform and for the club to be better in possession and defense.
The second half of the 2008-2009 season, he learned Tottenham's tactics and he started the majority of the 2009-2010 season, earning 33 appearances, but a nagging knee injury handicapped him, leaving him to only earn 11 appearances in the 2010-11 season—his last at White Hart Lane.
He jumped ship in August of 2011 with Peter Crouch as the pair went on to Stoke City where Palacios is still hampered by inconsistency in fitness.
6. Peter Crouch
I wouldn't have put Peter Crouch so high on the list if it wasn't for the massive (£10 million!) transfer fee Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy agreed to when they went after the then-Portsmouth forward.
He played two full seasons, but with only 12 league goals in those two years, "Crouchy" wasn't worth the money thrown at him.
Of course now that he's at Stoke City, he's scored nearly as many league goals in his one season there as he did in two seasons at White Hart Lane.
5. Roman Pavlyuchenko
Coming to Tottenham from Spartak Moscow for a £14 million transfer fee, expectations were high for Pavlyuchenko when he came to Spurs in 2008.
He didn't quite respond in his first season in league play, collecting only five goals from the striker position, but he did well against inferior competition in FA Cup and League Cup play, earning nine goals in eight appearances.
His second season, he was relegated to just 16 league appearances, but that seemed to light a fire under him. In his third season, 2010-11, he had 14 goals in all appearances, including four in European play.
The honeymoon didn't last long.
According to The Daily Mail, a training ground run-in with Tottenham's second-in-command manager, Kevin Bond, was his undoing. Weeks later, he was back in Russia, with Lokomotiv Moscow for just £8 million, nearly half the transfer fee it cost to get him to London in the first place.
4. Alan Hutton
Never establishing himself as the right-back Harry Redknapp was looking for, Scotland's Alan Hutton played four seasons for Tottenham and earned an average of 13 appearances per season.
According to the BBC, it cost Tottenham "in the region of £9 million" to sign him, but he was unseated by upstart Kyle Walker by the end of the 2010-11 season.
3. Ricardo Rocha
Rocha came on a year before Redknapp was installed as manager, but his transfer fee of £3.3 million was never even close to repaid, nor were expectations fulfilled from his glory days at Benfica.
The Portuguese centre-back made 18 appearances in his three seasons at White Hart Lane, and never even saw the pitch after Redknapp moved to Tottenham from Portsmouth.
2. Pascal Chimbonda
Chimbonda had two stints at White Hart Lane.
His first was from 2006-2008, when he appeared in 65 matches at various defensive positions. His transfer fee was £4.5 million, but it seemed that Spurs had found their centre-back of the future.
However, it was during the beginning of his first season with Tottenham that it was discovered that he'd been playing on significant knee ligament damage which was caused by a strong challenge from Chelsea's Frank Lampard.
Despite knowing the condition of his knees, Redknapp re-signed him in 2009 for a fee of nearly £3 million. He made three appearances.
1. David Bentley
Here we have it—the crème de la crème of letdowns in Tottenham's history: David Bentley.
The fourth-most expensive signing in Spurs history, Bentley came to White Hart Lane from Blackburn Rovers for a transfer fee of £15 million with the option to earn £2 million in performance incentives.
What did Redknapp get for his lucrative investment in the gifted winger? 42 league appearances and three goals.
Tottenham was able to loan him out to sides Birmingham City and West Ham United, but he was never able to establish himself in the first-team and was sent packing from both second-tier clubs.