Jermaine Defoe will be hoping his second spell at Tottenham is more fruitful than his first.
The England striker has always been popular with the North Londoners and his £15m (after add-ons of course – nothing is paid up front anymore, is it?) move from Portsmouth has been greeted with widespread approval from the White Hart Lane faithful.
But Spurs loyal followers of ‘Arry’s Army should remind themselves exactly why Defoe is returning to their ranks.
A year ago, Portsmouth were a football club enjoying heights they’d never reached before. Acquisitions such as Distin, Kranjcar, Muntari and Diarra helped them to their first FA Cup since 1939. On that occasion, they kept Wolves at bay in a 4-1 win.
Behind the scenes of their latest cup win however, the Wolves knocking at the door did not play in gold and black: the only colour representing them was green.
Portsmouth’s success had come at a price – they possessed one of the highest wage bills in the league. Diarra was reportedly signed on a £100,000-a-week contract, for starters. But surely it was worth it given the success Portsmouth had? You can’t put a price on AC Milan visiting Fratton Park on a blustery Thursday night, can you?
But for every Diarra, there was a David Nugent. The wages that Muntari earnt were merely collected by Milan Baros. This, coupled with some extortionate transfer fees (£7m for John Utaka, anyone?), has left Portsmouth in financial trouble. Harry Redknapp jumped ship as the Titanic sank, ironically a ship which set off from Southampton.
See a pattern emerging? West Ham fans do, as they currently find themselves suffering Pompey’s fate. Of course, this time around it isn’t Redknapp’s fault, but the name Marco Boogers still gets up the nose of many Hammers fans. After selling Rio Ferdinand for £18m to balance the books, Redknapp left six months later. It only took two seasons for West Ham to be relegated – they have never regained financial security since.
As far as I’m concerned, Redknapp is not a good manager. A manager is someone who manages the club; someone who creates an infrastructure within the club that only an earth-shattering earthquake of financial ruin and future incompetence can destroy. Redknapp is a good coach and a very good motivator; but a good manager never leaves a club with debris to be hoovered up by nice guys desperate for a job (Roeder) or a young, untested manager (his very own Rodney, Tony Adams).
But stability doesn’t exist in Del Boy’s world. ‘Arry goes for a machine-gun approach with his transfers as his treble swoop for Defoe, Crouch and Johnson shows. Defoe is fair enough, but Crouch and Johnson would certainly be questionable buys. For me, Hutton – albeit injured at the moment – and Corluka are two of the best defenders in the division whilst Crouch would be an unnecessary luxury.
Jack’s thoughts on his transfer policy correlates with mine. While his new signings propel Spurs to mid-table safety, the Bents and Bales of the squad will eventually rot on the bench by day and a Soho barstool by night, simultaneously eating away at the club’s finances.
Maybe being at a more wealthy club will give him extra license to spend. Perhaps Levy’s millions will give him a bigger margin of error than Lowe’s did. But don’t be surprised if Jermaine Defoe and Michael Dawson move to St. James’ Park in 18 months time.
They’re great players, ‘Arry would love to have them there.