World Football Report Cards: Grading Tottenham's Summer Transfer Window
If you're a regular follower of my articles, then you may remember that earlier in August I went through the 20 biggest clubs in Europe and graded each and every club's transfers in and transfers out, before assigning a final overall grade.
Now that the transfer window has closed until January and most players have had the opportunity to play with their teammates or at least know where they fit in their new team's plans, I've decided to go back through all 20 clubs I reviewed in August and assign new final grades on each club's transfer activity.
The format will be as follows: Each day, starting today, September 1st, and ending September 10th, I will be publishing "report cards" for two of the teams I reviewed in August. The schedule should look like this:
September 1st: Tottenham Hotspur
September 3rd: Arsenal
September 6th: Lyon and Marseille
September 7th: Paris Saint-Germain and Lille
September 9th: Milan and Inter Milan
September 10th: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
September 12th: Real Madrid and Barcelona
Stay tuned, and enjoy!
Transfers In: B-
Transfers In: GK Brad Friedel, AM Cristian Ceballos, ST Souleymane Coulibaly, CM Scott Parker (CF Emmanuel Adebayor, AM Yago Falque on loan)
Tottenham's transfer acquisitions for its first team this summer haven't been ideal; most possess the potential to be good enough, but not amazing. Brad Friedel, at 40 years old, is a "good enough" replacement for Gomes, but surely doesn't have more than one or two years in him before he retires, and there are still lingering doubts on his own reliability in goal since his flap in preseason.
The same holds true with Scott Parker. He's certainly "good enough" to provide a boost to Tottenham's midfield, but at 30 years old, how much longer does he have in the beautiful game? And wouldn't Lassana Diarra have been a much better option?
Adebayor, at only 27 years old, still has the potential to reclaim the brilliance he showed at Arsenal, but there are huge question marks on his commitment to Tottenham and how his attitude will be at the club. The fact that he's only at the club on loan also makes the chances that he'll be a long-time contributor to the Tottenham cause unlikely.
Finally, the club's failed pursuit of Gary Cahill really put a huge damper on the couple of successes Tottenham emerged with from the transfer window. Had Cahill joined the team, the club would've arguably transferred in a player for each of the club's weak spots, and would have had one of the best center back pairings in the league, and maybe even the world (Dawson - Cahill).
The signings of Ceballos and Coulibaly are nice, but they are both players for the future, not the present.
Transfers Out: A-
Transfers Out: CB Jonathan Woodgate, CM Paul-Jose M'Poku, CM Jamie O'Hara, ST Robbie Keane, CM Wilson Palacios, RB Alan Hutton, CF Peter Crouch (CM Jermaine Jenas, RM David Bentley, CB Steve Caulker, RB Kyle Naughton, CB Bongani Khumalo on loan)
Although Daniel Levy waited until the last possible minute, as always, to push the majority of these deals through, in the end Tottenham managed to shed most of the deadweight players in the squad.
Peter Crouch, the one-trick beanpole, was somehow sold for £12 million (with add-ons) to Stoke City, and the sale of Alan Hutton and Wilson Palacios reportedly brought in another £12 million (£4 and £8 million, respectively). David Bentley went on loan to West Ham as part of the deal to bring Scott Parker to Tottenham, and Jermaine Jenas left for Aston Villa on loan. And of course Robbie Keane brought in £3.5 million more to the Tottenham coffers by moving to the LA Galaxy.
It has become a huge debate whether or not it would've been wise to sell Luka Modric to Chelsea this summer, and if indeed the last reported offer was true £30 million + Alex, then it probably would've been a wise decision to sell Modric. Still, if Modric can return to his best, then maybe Daniel Levy will not end up regretting his decisions.
Overall Grade: B
As strange as it may be, the success/failure of this transfer window comes down to Gary Cahill.
Had Tottenham managed to sign the England center back, he would've proved to be a huge boost to the Tottenham squad. At only 25, he would've been the only first-team signing who would be tied to a long-term future with Tottenham, and would've immensely improved a Tottenham defense that has look very shaky in recent weeks. And of course, he's English, which means that Harry Redknapp would've gotten along excellently with him.
At the same time, it is frustrating that Daniel Levy would pull out of negotiations for such a good player. Everyone knows Bolton's asking price from the start of the summer for Gary Cahill has been £16 million, so to attempt to negotiate that price was pure stupidity on Daniel Levy's part. Things become even more frustrating when you consider that Arsenal had already bid £10 million for Gary Cahill and were turned down, meaning that difference in valuation between Tottenham's bid and Bolton's price was likely £2 - £4 million, peanuts in today's market.
Then, when you consider that Tottenham has made at least £30 million off player sales and spent only £5.5 million of that cash, things get even more ridiculous. That isn't even counting the tremendous amount of savings the club will have, considering that eight ex-starters with decent wage packages were offloaded this summer, and replaced with only three similarly paid players.
Tottenham may have plugged the biggest two holes (CF and GK) this summer with decent replacements, but they could've been so much more successful, and Harry Redknapp definitely has his work cut out for him if he still intends to aim for the Champions League.
What do you think?
Do you believe that the grades are too harsh on Tottenham? Maybe too lenient? Do you believe there are some players Tottenham should've pursued with greater intensity, or players Tottenham have retained that should've been sold?
Also, I'd love to hear your predictions on where you think Tottenham will finish in the 2011-12 season based on its transfer acquisitions and sales. I, personally, believe Tottenham can expect to finish sixth with the strengthening they've done this summer, though had Gary Cahill joined I'd probably have given Tottenham an outside shot at fourth.
Looking forward to hearing your opinions and reading your comments!