Spurs Sign Versatile Bench Warmer
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.
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.
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