Category Archives: Player Articles

£4.5 million per player: The Surprising Cost of Tottenham Hotspur’s First 11

With all the talk of inflated transfer fees in the Premier League these days, it is perhaps interesting to note that the first choice team for Spurs cost about £1million pound cheaper than a certain goal-shy spaniard.

This season’s tremendous wheeling and dealing from Harry and Mr.Levy, bringing in Friedel for a whopping £0, Adebayor for a purse-stretching £0 and Parker for half a Rebrov, around £5 million, has meant that the total cost of our first choice eleven has dropped to a meagre £49million. A very large chunk of this, 34%, was spent on Luka Modric alone at £17million.

In goal…
Brad Friedel (Free, Aston Villa)

A defence of…
Kyle Walker (£4m from Sheff Utd)
Ledley King (Youth Team, Free)
Michael Dawson (£4m from Nottm. Forest)
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (£3.5m from Lens)

A midfield of…
Aaron Lennon (£1m from a bankrupt Leeds)
Scott Parker (£5m from West Ham)
Luka Modric (£17m from Dinamo Zagreb)
Gareth Bale (£7m from Southampton)

And a forward pairing of…
Rafael Van Der Vaart (£8m from Real Madrid)
Emmanuel Adebayor (Loan from Man City)

Can we finally drop the Goalkeeper Rumours?

I was skimming over various news items regarding Tottenham today, and came across one that really grated on me. It’s not the most shocking piece, nor is it that original, yet the Daily Mail are still continuing to invent new rumours regarding an “alternative” to Heurelho Gomes. It seems absurd the way that the papers are still continuing to grip on to his early season mistakes, yet even then it was clear that he was a quality keeper. He has been a significant improvement to Paul Robinson let’s not forget, who I seriously cannot remember making more than a handful of saves last season, yet the rumours persist.

The underrated Gomes has been magnificent for Spurs recently

The underrated Gomes has been magnificent for Spurs recently

Way back in November I believe, Martin Tyler produced a list of the stats of Premier League goalkeepers in his weekly column, and if im not very much mistaken, Gomes was the top of the shot-to-save ratio lists, just ahead of Shay Given. Forget about the amount of clean sheets, as that is a figure that is very much down to the strenght of the defence, but when you come down to straight saves, it is only the skill of the goalkeeper that can help out the team. Edwin Van Der Sar’s recent record of 1,311 minutes without conceding was impressive, yes, but with perhaps the best defensive talent in the league spread across the back four he was rarely tested or called upon. Gomes does not have this luxury, his defence is good, but at the same time prone to some pretty poor shows, yet throughout the season he has been there to make those crucial saves. In light of this, we have produced a list of his game saving performances that have helped us to a share of the points.

31/08/2008
Cheslea 1 – 1 Spurs

A fine performance from Gomes at Stamford Bridge when Tottenham needed everyone to be at their best to get something from a ground where we have not found the greatest amount of success in recent years. He was excellent when called upon to pick up all manner of crosses and corners, and really proved a thorn in the side of the Chelsea side when coming forward. His showing was topped off with an excellent save early in the fifth minute, brilliantly diving backwards to tip a Frank Lampard chip over the bar.

Dealt well with every cross that came his way on the day

Dealt well with every cross that came his way on the day

21/09/2008
Spurs 0 – 0 Wigan

The first clean sheet of his Spurs career was overshadowed by a failing from the Tottenham attack to convert their chances, yet Gomes showed that he was the deserving owner of the No.1 Jersey with a good game. Undoubtedly the busy of the two stoppers in the first half, Gomes made a wonderful full-stretch save to prevent Paul Scharner from scoring a well hit volley just before the break. When the sides changed ends Tottenham took more of the game to the Wigan defence and Gomes was left fairly untested, but gripped on tightly to the point with another good save, this time from the right boot of Olivier Kapo.

29/10/08
Arsenal 4 – 4 Spurs

It is not often you will see a keeper who has let in four goals recieve praise for his contribution to the match, but on this occasion I think that Gomes deserves some credit for our remarkable comeback against the other team from North London. His early game saves when still 1-0 up from a Van Persie freekick and a low Cesc Fabregas drive kept us in the game, and followed this up with a smart save from Denilson in the second half. Although not his greatest game, he showed his excellent shot stopping ability to aid a superb team comeback.

01/11/08
Spurs 2 – 1 Liverpool

His next performance was just as good as the Arsenal game, producing two excellent saves to help us grab the full three points. The first was a smart little reaction save from a poor Darren Bent clearance that sliced back towards goal, but the second was really something to be proud of. Perhaps his best save of the season, and definately a contender for the Premier League save of the season , it was made that much sweeter after the comeback that followed it. It came on the stroke of 50 minutes and after a powerful Gerrard shot skimmed off a Ledley King block, Gomes dove at full stretch to tip the ball onto the post and keep Spurs in the game,and enabled them to go on and win it.

Gomes saves brilliantly from a Park Ji-Sung shot

Gomes saves brilliantly from a Park Ji-Sung shot

13/12/08
Spurs 0 – 0 Man Utd

Another sensational performance here from Gomes, who started to prove that he can really up his game against the biggest teams in the league. Not much of note in the first half, with only a Rio Ferdinand drive testing him, but when Man Utd came back out in the second half they threw alot more at the Brazilian, testing him with some routine saves from Park Ji-Sung and Vidic. Then, seven minutes from time, the ever improving keeper defied gravity to fly through the air and tip and Park Ji-Sung shot over the bar. Tottenham were holding on to the death, but if it were not for another remarkable save from Gomes, the points would have travelled back to Manchester. Marvelously diving across his goal to turn away a Ryan Gigg’s free kick that looked certain to hit the back of the net, Gomes helped Tottenham to a much deserved point against the league champions.

15/03/09
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Spurs

Not an outstanding performance from Gomes in terms of remarkable saves, yet I think that this match shows the real progress he has made to the English game. One save of note in blocking a shot from Martin Petrov well with his body, but it was his ability to come out and collect the ball from crosses, corners and set pieces that really aided in our win, and prevented Villa from really making use of their strong strikers John Carew and Emile Heskey.

21/03/09
Spurs 1 – 0 Chelsea

It was clear that Gomes took his excellent performance from the Villa game into the clash with Chelsea at the Lane, with another fine performance from our No.1. Two good saves in the first half from Essien and Anelka’s shots respectively proved to be all that troubled him before the break. After the short interval, Chelsea came out with a slighlty better attitude, testing Gomes with numerous high balls that he delt with comfortably, but it was 11 minutes from time that the Brazilian came to the rescue again with a splendid reaction save to stop John Terry’s close range header from going into the bottom left corner of the goal. A splendid performance from Gomes, matched only perhaps by the draw with Man Utd in December.

Tottenham’s Best Young Players – 1 Year On

We profiled seven of Tottenham’s best young prospects way back in May of 2008, highlighting who we felt would be the future stars of Spurs, or indeed who could make the step up to the first team in a few years. Since then we have seen a fair amount of activity regarding these young hopefuls, much more so since the inclusion of Harry Redknapp as manager. So we went back to take another look at them and see how they have grown over the last eleven months.

At the top of our list was Adel Taarabt, highlighted as the brightest of our prospects, yet at the beginning of the season he was not even given a number by manager Juande Ramos. It seemed like Tottenham were looking to loan him out for some much needed first-team football, yet the move never came and rumors came from within the Spurs camp that Ramos did not see him as part of Spurs’ future. He sat in the reserves for much of the season, and despite regaining his squad number from Harry Redknapp, his opportunities to prove himself were limited by the clubs relegation battle. Thankfully, Taarabt was sent off to West London to join up with QPR and went straight into their first team. Since his arrival, Taarabt has undoubtedly been QPR’s best player of those three games, contributing a handful of assists and a goal on top of his typical dazzling dribbles. Hopefully throughout the rest of the season he can build on this success and continue his adaptation to the British game. It seems likely that if he keeps up this rich vein of form, then a call up to the first team squad seems more than likely.

In stark contrast to Taarabt’s ever increasing promise, Tomas Pekhart has had a much harder time. At the start of the season it was believed he would have a place in the first team due to the departures of both Keane and Berbatov, though with the rushed loan signing of Campbell and Ramos’ preference for a lone striker, his chances were limited. A short loan spell to Southampton proved fruitless, with only nine appearances producing one goal, and he returned to the Tottenham reserves. Pekhart publicly stated that he believed he would have to leave Tottenham if he wanted first-team football and it is assumed that his loan spell at Slavia Prague till January 2010 could well turn into a permanent move.

Chris Gunter, now on loan at Nottingham Forest

Chris Gunter, now on loan at Nottingham Forest

Next up is the other of our Welsh full-backs, Chris Gunter, who despite already gaining fifteen caps at international level, has only made five appearances for Spurs. Ignoring the fact that he shares a flat with a Gooner (Welsh team-mate Aaron Ramsay), he is not too far off from the finished product at the moment, providing some excellent defensive displays for Wales and a notable start at right-back in our early season clash with Chelsea. He has since moved to Nottingham Forest on loan till the end of the season to get more first team football. It is unlikely that he will ever become a world beater in terms of his attacking prowess, but he could possibly make the step up to become a good squad player in the next few years, yet our current plethora of right-backs means that he will have to wait a while if we do indeed decide to keep him.

French central defender Dorian Dervitte has made perhaps the most significant progress out of the bunch, with two Under-21 appearances now to his name. One who has kept somewhat under the radar since his arrival in 2006, his progress has been slow, yet a loan spell to Southend United in January has proved to be an amazing piece of work by the Tottenham bosses. In his 12 outings for the seaside club, the Shrimpers have won 9 games and kept 6 clean sheets, and it has been widely agreed that the 6ft 4in defender has been integral to these results. Dervitte perhaps needs another loan spell, maybe in the Championship before we should think about bringing him into the first team, but if he proves himself there then there would be no reason not to view him as the natural successor to Ledley King.

Now it comes to the English contingent, our homegrown heroes (well it is Spurs so this will count as just being English and young), the ones that could possibly fill that hole in our Tottenham and England hearts simultaneously. First up is the most promising of the trio, Tottenham’s youngest ever player, John Bostock. It is hard to evaluate him as easy as the others due to his age, having only just turned 17, so first team appearances may be too soon yet whatever level they are at, yet his decent display in the UEFA cup shows that we may see a few more appearances for him in the next few years. No loan deal for him on the horizon, but some good showings at youth level mean that he is still very much one to keep an eye on.

Pacy winger Danny Rose has had a frustrating time with injury

Pacy winger Danny Rose has had a frustrating time with injury

Finally we come to the remaining two players, each sharing the same amount of success as the other at this time. Danny Rose has had a season troubled with injury, and the pacy winger has yet to show himself at his best. A loan move to Watford has just happened, yet he has not yet made a start due to the international break. Hopefully we will see what the potential solution to Spurs’ left handed problems can do. Then we have Dean Parrett, who despite a big money move a few years back, has yet to feature in the first-team, and still seems a good few years off of a loan move, so not much to report on that front.

So there we have it, hopefully a little insight into how these bright youngsters are doing, and of course we will come back in another year to see how they are all doing, and hopefully add a few more to the list to boot.

One Spurs Player in Euro 2008…We know who we are going to support!

The only player in Euro 2008 that is under contract at Spurs has funnily enough never played for Spurs nor has he attended a single training session. Yes, it is new summer signing Luca Modric!

The Croatian playmaker is, according to many pundits, set to be a key player in Croatia’s campaign and as the only Spurs player at the competition, we are rooting for him. So to help you also root for him, which I know of course you will, we at Tottenham Tattler will be following him through his whole journey in the land of lederhosen and tax evaders.

His first three matches are against hosts Austria on the 8th of June, Germany on the 12th and Poland on the 16th. Come the day before the games to get a match preview and probably line-ups including all the facts and figures that you would ever want to know.

Tottenham’s Brightest Young Talents

It is fair to say that over the last few seasons, Tottenham have been building up a fairly impressive portfolio of young stars. The breakthrough of Lennon, Huddlestone and Bale into the first team have shown Spur’s willingness to give the youth players a go and will no doubt start to pay off over the next 5 years. Some of these buys have been a little unwise, like the purchases of Boateng and Kaboul, yet some of the other, lower profiled moves have brought us some of Europes best prospects.

Adel Taarabt
The first on this list is arguably the brightest of Tottenham’s youth team and a regular in the reserves, and at only 18, Adel Taarabt has a very promising future ahead of him. He is supremely confident and almost arrogant on the ball, and is one of the best dribblers in the Premiership already. After arriving from Lens on loan in early 2007, he made his move permanent in the summer and in the following season made a handful of appearances for the first team, including an extremely memorable cameo in the 4-0 victory over Derby. His talent is still quite raw at the moment, and has not yet developed the mental attitude to play in the top flight, but if we can hold onto him he will undoubtbly be a key player in the future.

Next up is Czech under 21 international, Tomas Pekhart. The towering striker has been on our books for just about two years now and has already made an impact in the reserves, scoring 19 goals in 20 games in his first season.  Drawing very close comparisons to fellow Czech Republic international Jan Koller, Pekhart has good height and strength but also a very good eye for goal and can act as a target man or a out-and-out striker, much like our own Dimitar Berbatov. His venture into under-21 football has also been very promising, and despite being much younger than a lot of his team mates at only 18, has scored 5 goals in 5 games for the team. Clearly a very promising prospect and I could see him breaking his way onto the sub bench for next season with the departures of Bent and Berbatov.

Tomas Pekhart
Another star on the verge of first team action is recent signing Chris Gunter, who joined us in January from Cardiff City for a fee of around £3million. He has already worked his way into the Welsh national team, replacing team-mate Gareth Bale while he is out injured, and a series of impressive performances against Ireland and Germany helped to improve his growing reputation. Chris is a very capable defender and, unlike alot of modern day wingbacks, will focus more on the defensive side of his role first, strengthening the backline, and then looking to aid the attack also. Would fit well into the side as cover for either Hutton, where he prefers to play, or also switching to the left side where he is just as confident.

The next star in this long list is young defender Dorian Dervitte who at 19 is the oldest of the group. Dervitte joined from French side Lille in the summer of 2006 and was a regular in the French under-15’s, 16’s and 17’s. He broke his way into the reserve team fairly early on in his Spurs career and after a series of impressive performances, made his first team debut in 2006 against Port Vale in the Carling Cup.  Dervitte stands at a height of 6ft 4in, and looms above any attacker, and this, combined with his strength and aerial ability makes him a vital player in set piece situations but also to restrict the presence of a team’s target man. Injury has restricted his opportunities so far, but has recovered well and with some loan experience could break into the first team in a few years.

Dorian Dervitte

One more Spurs star for the future is that of left midfielder Danny Rose. The first englishman in the list, Rose has made many appearances in the reserves and England at youth level and was an unused sub in the victory over Sunderland in early January 2008. He arrived from Leeds in the summer of 2007 and despite suffering an injury setback has shown himself to be a good addition to the squad. Displaying all the traits of a classic attacking winger, with good pace and an eye for goal, he shows off some of the traits of fellow winger Aaron Lennon, yet his ability to play on the left could be something that Tottenham are looking for in their youth players. It is unlikely that Rose would break into the first team in the coming years but could be a good squad player with a couple of seasons loan practice in him.

The final two of Tottenham’s bright prospects are also Englishmen, and serve the same sort of role. Dean Parrett and John Bostock both play in an attacking midfield type of role and have both proved themselves at youth level in many international and domestic stages. Upon his arrival from QPR in early 2007, Parrett became the most expensive youth player ever at just 15 with a potential transfer of £3million. Despite the large transfer fee though he has showed some promise and displays a good first touch and vision for the game at such a young age. Bostock is the more recent addition of the two though, signing from Crystal Palace in the Summer of 2008. Bostock shows a great deal of flair, unique for an English player and his ability to run with the ball has had some draw comparisons between him and England midfielder Joe Cole.

Tottenham look like they have a very exciting team building up here, and with the right guidance and some first-team football they could grow into some very good Premier league players, hopefuly dazzling the rest of the teams along the way.

Robbie Keane – A Tottenham Legend

It is inevitable that as soon as the veteran striker retires, Robbie Keane will be inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur hall of fame. Before he came to Spurs he was somewhat of a nomad within the footballing world, playing at Wolves, Coventry, Inter and Leeds, all before he had turned 22. Yet after his £7million move to Tottenham in the summer of 2002, Robbie Keane had noidea that his latest in a long line of clubs would be his home for the next 6 years, a fact manager Glenn Hoddle had alluded to at the time.

Keane made a solid debut in the 3-2 victory over West Ham, winning a penalty at the same time, yet his debut goal did not come until the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers. He continued to contribute to many victories during the season, with a marvelous hattrick over Evertonat the lane and finished the season with 13 goals, though Tottenham only managed to finish in 10th place. His superb goalscoring record for Spurs continued into the next season, where although Tottenhamwere battling with relegation, he racked up a tally of 16 for the campaign.

Robbie Keane’s future at the club was then thrown into much doubt after the 04-05 season, where, although Keane scored 17 goals in the season, he was playing as the 4th striker for much of it. Then after storming off down the tunnel after being an unused sub in the game against Birmingham, his future looked pretty much doomed, and the travelling Irishman looked like he was to move on again.

No transfer emerged during the summer, with the transfer of Kanoute leaving Spurs with no option but to hold onto Keane, and that was possibly the best bit of news that the Spurs faithful had heard, though they were not to know it yet. Keane again started out on the bench, but as Defoe’s form began to deteriorate, Keane stepped up to the plate. He finished the season with 16 goals and reestablished himself as the first choice striker again, and leaped backed into the hearts of Spurs fans everywhere.

Legend

The following two seasons established Keane as an out-and-out goalscorer, pinching goals from nothing and impressing many pundits with his high workrate, and his partnership with Berbatov was seen as the best partnership of the league. With many of the big clubs focusing on one top scorer like Henry, Rooney and Lampard and later Adebayor and Ronaldo, Tottenham had the almost unique strike force of two equally prolific forwards. They scored a combined tally of 91 goals in their two seasons together, yet transfer rumors persisted of Berbatov’s imminent departure and it seems that the Keane/Berbatov partnership is all but over.

This does not affect the fact that Keane, and his goalscoring record, is key to the Tottenham success of the last few years and it is in no doubt that Robbie will be a great striker for many years to come, and it is only a matter of time until he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.