It was confirmed earlier today that veteran United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel has signed a two-year contract for Tottenham Hotspur. The experience of the shot-stopper is undisputed; however, it remains to be seen whether signing a player at 40 years of age is the positive, forward-thinking move that Spurs fans would like to see.
With Heurelho Gomes having had a controversial season between the sticks for Spurs, having supplied his usual mixture of fantastic saves and abominable blunders, many fans were calling for a new goalkeeper to be signed to replace the inconsistent Brazilian international.
Otherwise, Carlo Cudicini, Spurs' ex-Chelsea backup 'keeper, had been called upon at various times throughout the 2010-11 campaign to step in for an injured or out-of-form Gomes. There is little doubt that the Italian has done a bad job. Indeed, he played solidly over the last few games of the season, including a clean-sheet performance at Anfield against a solid Liverpool side that was challenging Spurs for fifth place in the Barclays Premier League. Yet with the arrival of Friedel, it seems that the cool Cudicini will find himself the as third choice for a side that he has served well since being signed in 2009.
There a few major doubts in the signing of Friedel for a lot of Spurs fans; there will be aficionados wondering if he promises a long-term solution to the club's lack of an outright and reliable first-choice goalkeeper. They'll also wonder if he has the quality to play for a side that is challenging to become a regular in Champions League, and to potentially forge a good claim to the Premier League title.
At 40, the club couldn't have offered a contract of more than a duration of two years to the aged ex-Blackburn and Liverpool goalie. His age is a questionable point of interest of fans, but it must be said that he has managed to keep himself in a good physical condition and has still been performing as, arguably, one of the most superior keepers in the league. Despite his age, he could offer reliability, good experience, and leadership qualities to a side that contains young talents such as Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker, and Danny Rose. If a fan would also consider that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is a coach that knows how to maximise the effectiveness of experienced ageing players—shown in his handling of William Gallas at Spurs, and Sol Campbell and David James at Portsmouth—then Spurs could have made a very fine and astute purchase.
However, there is a counter-argument: Shouldn't the club be willing to spend a large amount of money on a superb and youthful goalkeeper instead of seeking offering contracts to unattached players such as Friedel? There were rumours linking the Birmingham City and England international goalkeeper Ben Foster to Redknapp's Spurs, and also whispers that the experienced manager was also looking to make a transfer bid for Manchester United's perennial deputy Tomasz Kuszczak. Yet Redknapp has seemingly targeted experience over youth, and readiness over great cost.
There is little reason not to trust Redknapp's judgment in the transfer market. His shrewdness and astute dealings in the past have suggested that he is a manager who rarely misjudges the players he signs. But this remains a questionable signing, and one that will divide opinion.
What do you think? Has Redknapp made a brilliant signing in Friedel—having recently departed Aston Villa—or has he got it wrong? Who should Redknapp have signed. Do you feel that there is still room for more wheeling-and-dealing in the transfer market?
Also, check out the confirmation article from the Spurs official website by clicking here.