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Spurs Sign Versatile Bench Warmer

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The transfer window is a funny ol’ thing at the best of times, but the January version is stranger still. Personally I’d be happy to see it removed completely and either have no windows or just the summer one. Anyway, I digress. Yesterday we finally captured the signing of Steven Pienaar subject to a work permit on a 4 and a ½ year deal. The fee that will be paid to Everton is between £2.5 – 3m with the South African international earning a reported £70k a week.

Transfers always divide opinion. I expect there’s a few out there who thought Klinsmann was a bad signing in 1994 and there will be plenty who believed Helder Postiga was the missing link we’d been craving for so long. Steven Pienaar has divided opinions more than any transfer I can think of in recent years. I’m not sitting on the fence but I do have my feet firmly planted on both sides of it. Splinters are starting to appear but I can’t make a decision either way.

There’s no doubt the guy offers versatility and cover across our midfield better than anyone else we have in our squad. He can play on either flank which will provide excellent cover or competition to both Bale and more probably Lennon, and he can play centrally which could see the likes of Jenas pushed further down the pecking order. Whether he would get in front of a Palacios type player is another matter and judging by how badly we played at Everton without a holding midfielder I’d be worried if that was the plan. Then of course Huddlestone is only 6-8 weeks away from making a return too so would he get in front of Tommy?

So versatility is his main attribute to the team. Everton fans will tell you he’s been fantastic but that’s a little over the top. He had a good season last year but this time around he’s looked a shadow of himself and even when he was playing well he was rarely a headline grabbing, match winner. Maybe the uncertainty over his future has caused his dip in form and I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

£3m for a player, any player, in today’s climate isn’t a lot of cash. I’ve heard some people say that because of the windfall we’ve reportedly received from the sale of Darren Bent from Sunderland to Villa, it’s like getting Pienaar for free. That doesn’t really make much sense to me because it’s still spending money but as I said, £3m isn’t a lot of money when you consider his international team mate Bongani Khumalo cost £1.5m and he has no experience of the premier league.

The £70k per week is a concern for me though. I understand it’s how things work these days when you sign a player for a small transfer fee because they don’t have long left before they can go on a Bosman, but I don’t like it. If the reports are true it will mean Pienaar is or will be close to our highest earner. This for a player I can only see on the bench.

What if, like Niko, he needs regular games to play well? If that’s the case and he doesn’t make the first 11 week in, week out, he’ll become a lead weight around our neck much like Robbie Keane. In 3 years time, Pienaar could’ve played 60 games for Spurs, most of them from the bench or in the Carling Cup but still be earning £70k per week. If true, and I’m only going with what’s been reported then that’s complete madness in my eyes.

So, a super sub he’ll be. Or will he? There are two options for him to play regular football and I’m not sure I like either of them. Let me know if you think he can play somewhere else though, or if you think either of the following are good options.

Left Midfield

Harry Redknapp has made many comments that Gareth Bale’s future position is at left back and while I’m not against that for the future, he and the team aren’t ready for it just yet. We’d need to be a lot better at covering defensive positions than we currently are if we were to allow Bale to become a marauding left back. Palacios, Sandro (at the moment) or Huddlestone wouldn’t allow that to be a possibility. Just look at the two games this season when Redknapp’s tried it, West Brom and West Ham. So if the plan is for Pienaar to play on the left of midfield and push Bale back I’d be concerned and we would need a very good holding midfielder to be signed in this window too.

Right Midfield

Aaron Lennon’s been in and out of form since he recovered from his injury last season so maybe he’s been bought in as genuine competition for Azza. After all we don’t have any natural competition in that position now Bentley is out on loan and Redknapp isn’t going to give Townsend a chance. Players like Modric and vdV can play out there if needed but we miss the Croatian centrally when he does and Rafa isn’t disciplined enough. So maybe it’s Lennon who will have to up his game and when you look at how he’s performed the few occasions when Bentley looked to push him that could benefit us hugely, if not benefit Pienaar personally.

As I’ve already mentioned he can play centrally but I don’t see that being a long term option or a viable one really, given how attacking the rest of our midfield is.

This is nothing against Pienaar himself. He seems like a guy who wants to play football and gives his all in every game which is great. The competition he’ll provide can only be a good thing at the club and the £3m hasn’t exactly hurt us, but will that £70k per week (£3.6m per year) get him a starting place and if not, that seems like a lot to spend on a substitute.

For what it’s worth I wish him good luck and I obviously hope he does well, but if I were him I’d use some of the signing on fee to purchase a nice pair of gloves, warm tracksuit and a heated seat for the bench.


PS, any chance of that star striker I keep reading so much about? You know the one we’ve been missing all season, the one that could cement our place in the champions league positions and allow us to push on to the next level? I’m not trying to tell Mr Redknapp how to do his job but isn’t our midfield regarded as our strongest area already? 12 days to go to make or break our season.

Submitted by THFC1882



  1. Blue Peter

    January 20, 2011 at 9:32 am

    If you consider the deal good business then you have to factor in the fact that David Moyes brought him from the German league (He was out of favour big time) for £2.5m played him for over 150 games at his peak age 26-29 and sold him to Tottenham for more money.

    I’m glad Everton didn’t give him parity with our top earner (Arteta £75’000pw) As he hadn’t proved worth it, his reported offer of £60’000 a week on a four year deal is enough for any player surely?

    The sad aspect is that he was really unloved at his previous club where he spent a couple of years warming the bench and deputising for senior and better players. More of the same then eh Steven?

    The best news for us is we have young home grown talent to fill his place and we stuck by our manager who didn’t think he was worth the contract he wanted.

  2. James

    January 20, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Pienaar’s greatest strength at Everton was his link-up play with Baines, individually they were good but together they were fantastic. Sum of the whole greater than the parts and all that. In Bale, Spurs have a Baines-and-then-some, but this means that we’ll only see the best out of Pienaar if Bale plays left-back every week, with Pienaar in front of him every week as well, in order to establish the flowing relationship he had with Baines.

    I can’t really see Pienaar playing anywhere else; it’s the position in which he thrived for Everton, and clearly his most comfortable one (the World Cup was meant to be a chance to escape Everton, but he was mediocre throughout). As you’ve already stated, this would require another player to fill the gap left in midfield, which Everton have always done by sticking another centre-back in the middle (sometimes Neville, usually Heitinga or even Jagielka). This would mean Spurs potentially reverting to a more defensive style of play, which clearly isn’t suited to players like Bale or VDV.

    I may be reading a little too much into it, but I just don’t see how Pienaar will fit. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Spurs’ midfield is a long way from broke right now.

  3. ped

    January 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

    dunno about the MF not needing fixing right now, as inconsistant performances from lennon & palacious this season has seen us fail to hold top four status.
    pienaar might just give someone the kick up the backside they need, plus the fact i reckon he’ll link well with bale as he has done with baines.

  4. Jamie

    January 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Another bench warmer I agree. I really like Lennon as a player and I hope the signing of Pienaar helps Lennon up his game again. I see this signing as swapping Pienaar for Niko(i dont rate him at all. Too slow) What we need is a striker who can lead the line on his own. Bigger then Defoe, smaller then Crouch, stronger then both and that can finish better then both. Never been a real fan of Defoe and think we are a good striker away from making the top 4 every season. Our midfeield is complete once tommy is back. The missing key is that man that can play in front of VDV. once achieved, i think we are unstoppable!

  5. ellen

    January 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

    70k a week for 4.5 years.
    2.5-3 million + signing on fee.

    This comes to a rounded off £20 million for the services of one half decent player.

    When did football become this mental?

  6. machinegun

    January 20, 2011 at 11:02 am

    perhaps Harry is thinking that he won’t be able to hang on to bale forever so he thought he’d get a replacement now on the cheap. not that it’s really that cheap for someone with 6 months left, and 70k a week will cause a lot of unrest amongst first team regulars earning less- the excuse that he came so cheap resulting in a higher salary will be quickly forgotten. far better to just pay a joining fee of say 1m and then a much more controlled salary of 40-50k which will be enduring.

  7. pablo

    January 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Bale is a cracking player, but when played at left-back, he’s not a patch on Baines. I can’t see the Bale/Pienaar partnership being as good as Baines/Pienaar one.

  8. Pingback: Steven Pienaar / Tottenham signing Pienaar unimpressed meeting Chelsea boss Ancelotti | Sporty Twits

  9. Cooper

    January 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I think it was good purchase for several reasons:
    1) struggling Chelsea won’t improve as they have missed out on him,
    2) Spurs, now a team that competes in a very touch, challanging PL, needs good reserve players, to avoid situation Chelsea has had earlier this season when few key players went injured (The likelihood of injury seems to be higher for clubs who compete in PL, FA Cup and Champions League- Man Utd in the last season played with midfielders in defence, as 11 defenders went injured,
    3) Next to PL, there are also Champions League, FA cup this season. It is of strategical importance, to be able to rest players like Modric… What if another long term injury occurs in Midfield, like it happened to Huddleston?

    I think he could play well in central midfield with Modric, or instead of Lennon, when he doesn’t play well or is tired… Also,it’s good to have player able to replace Bale, if and when needed, as Kranjcar seems to be on his way out of the club…

    Wage sounds a bit high, but considering low fee, I guess it’s about alright… I only hope he will contribute to the club, and it should be the case

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