The story that generated the most headlines outside of the Kaka to Manchester City, was the saga of Robbie Keane’s departure from Liverpool back to Tottenham. Keane made his “dream move” to Liverpool this past summer when the club splashed out an initial £19m to buy his services from Tottenham Hotspur. After failing to win a regular starting place under Rafa Benitez, Keane has signed a four-year contract at Spurs with the fee starting at £12m and rising with add-ons. Keane managed to score just five goals in 19 appearances for Liverpool. The transfer would appear to be a good move for Tottenham, as another recent returnee, striker Jermain Defoe, will be out of action until April because of a foot injury he picked up in training.
The club also did some work to address the areas I felt need strengthening — defence and central midfield. They acquired some help at the back in yet another former player, Pascal Chimbonda, who left Sunderland and apparently took a pay cut to return to Spurs. The central midfielder they purchased, Wilson Palacios, is another creative type and I’m still not sure if he’s what they need. Palacios is a nice player, very creative but I’m not convinced he’ll add the graft they need in central midfield.
Spurs also picked up Carlo Cudicini to give manager Harry Redknapp another experienced choice for tge goalkeeper position. Chelsea allowed him to move on a free transfer, and thanked the Italian “for his years of service and wish him well”. The 35-year-old was Chelsea’s second-longest serving player behind John Terry, having joined the club from ASD Castel di Sangro Calcio in 1999 when the London side were still coached by fellow Italian Gianluca Vialli. Cudicini was Chelsea’s 2002 Player of the Year and was first choice for several years prior to Petr Cech’s arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2004.
Tottenham are still near the foot of the Premier League in 14th place, but are just one point clear of the bottom three with 14 Premier League fixtures remaining. They are still involved in UEFA Cup play (with a Round of 32 tie against Shakhtar Donetsk slated for Feb 19th and 26th) and have a Carling Cup final date against Manchester United at Wembley on March 1st. The returning Keane will not be eligible for that match because he is cup-tied.
Tottenham’s spending spree helped push Premier League clubs total outlay to a record £178m in this January transfer window, compared with £146m in 2008, £63m in 2007 and only £35m when the system was introduced in 2003. Credit crunch? What credit crunch? 🙂
Coming in a close second in generating the most stories was the prolonged transfer of Andrey Arshavin from Zenit St. Petersburg to Arsenal. The on-again, off-again move was finally completed 24 hours after the actual closing of the transfer window. The move to Arsenal is important for several reasons. First, they are in the midst of a battle for a top-four spot and a berth into the Champions League. Secondly, the club has been lacking some creativity in the midfield and Arshavin has shown himself to be a world-class player through his displays in the UEFA Cup and at Euro 2008. Lastly, the reported £16 or 17m fee dispels the myth that Arsene Wenger is unwilling to spend money in the transfer market. He has long maintained that he would only spend big money on an actual star-caliber player. The 27-year-old playmaker has claimed the vacant No 23 shirt.