September 4 ~ Harry Redknapp driving away from the Spurs training ground two hours before the transfer deadline on Wednesday wasn't quite what we've come to expect from the media-crowned king of last-minute bargain deals. Having already signed Brad Friedel on a free, and Emmanuel Adebayor and Yago Falqué on loan deals, Spurs fans will have been hoping for one more quality striker to liven up their jaded forward-line and a cultured centre-half to partner the stoic Michael Dawson. Instead they got yet another midfielder, Scott Parker, for their already midfield-heavy squad.
A deal for Gary Cahill fell through and, though hardly a cultured defender, he would have been a good signing. He's young, fit and reliable – something Spurs' other centre-backs (with the exception of Dawson) certainly aren't. Leaking eight goals in their first two league games was doubly tough for Spurs fans with Jonathan Woodgate turning out Man-of-the-Match displays for Stoke. The 30-year-old Parker is a player Redknapp had been after for a while, and he'll add some bite to the Spurs midfield, but Tom Huddlestone and last season's most improved player, Sandro, will wonder what they've done wrong.
Signing players in their 30s and others on loan gives the impression that Spurs are not looking too much to the future. Redknapp is apparently the public's choice for England manager when Capello steps down next year and he needs this season to make his claim undeniable. Daniel Levy seems reluctant to let Harry spend heavily only to jump ship at the end of the season and leaving the new manager with unwanted clutter. Look at Harry's transfer dealings since he took over at Spurs and it's hard not to follow Levy's logic.
Redknapp has bought Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch, Sébastien Bassong, Steven Pienaar, William Gallas, Friedel, Bongani Khumalo, Sandro and re-signed Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Younes Kaboul. Gallas played well in some important games last season but did Spurs need another ageing injury-prone defender? The once hot-and-cold Defoe is now just tepid, and can anyone see the point of signing Pienaar? Redknapp inherited a great squad with the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric and Dawson. It seems that, for the most part, his signings haven't really improved the squad. Rafael van der Vaart is a success but that signing was down to Levy. Redknapp admits he had nothing to do with it.
Levy has done well to keep Modric, despite Redknapp announcing that if they sold him he could get four players and have a better team. But players with Modric's quality on the ball are hard to find and one wonders whether Redknapp could really be trusted to find suitable replacements. While the Spurs manager will do his utmost to have a good season with the England job in his sights, it looks like the fans will have to wait until next season to see the reinforcements their team needs. Paul Carstairs