Tottenham Hotspur have made either one of the best signings of the year, or one of their worst.
Only time will be the appropriate judge.
Today the Spurs have completed the signing of England defender Jonathan Woodgate from Middlesbrough.
Ever since his first call-up with Leeds United in 1998, Woodgate has proven to be a game-changing defender.
He has garnered a reputation for being unflappable and having a keen nose for the ball. Unfortunately, he has rarely showcased these talents, due to various injuries that have plagued him throughout his career.
While Woodgate's health has been questioned throughout his career, his ability has not. This is most notably evident in his 2004 transfer to Real Madrid, while he was still out with a thigh injury. He soon regained his health and played true to form, winning over the fans, but not the critics.
Woodgate returned back home to Middlesbrough on a loan in 2006, and the deal was made permanent in April 2007. Since his return to England he has been playing injury-free football, even collecting the Prince’s Trust North East Player of the Year award in 2007.
This is coach Juande Ramos’ first major signing with his new club, and it could ultimately determine his tenure there. If Woodgate remains healthy and plays at the level he is capable of, Ramos will have secured his position for the time being.
However, if Woodgate relapses into the injury-prone player of his past, then he will be just another big name talent the Spurs lured to White Hart Lane only to disappoint. If such is the case, then Ramos may find himself in hot water for taking such a gamble.
Personally, I hope the signing works out for the Spurs. After a dismal start to the campaign they’re making a surge, winning five of their last eight games, with two of those losses coming from Chelsea and Arsenal—nothing to be ashamed of.
And as much as I have enjoyed watching the Gunners defeat the Spurs these last eight years, last Wednesday’s thrashing shows that Tottenham is back on the upswing and hopefully will produce a more thrilling North London Derby.