Tottenham Hotspur, third in the Premier League, only two points off Manchester United, over half way through the season?
Tottenham Hotspur, third in the Premier League, only two points off Manchester United, over half way through the season? If someone were to say this to you at the same stage two years ago you never would have believed them. So where has this sudden rejuvenated Tottenham side come from? Is it the almost midas touch that Rafael Van Der Vaart possesses, the blistering pace that Gareth Bale is blessed with or the cat-like reactions of veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel? It could be the whole squad themselves who finally seem to be working in unison with each other after several years of discord. But maybe, just maybe it could all be down to one man, Mr Harry Redknapp.
The 64 year old East Londoner seems to perform miracles at every club he manages, that’s not say however that getting Spurs to third place in the Premier League is a miracle, they’ve always had the quality to do it, but so far Harry Redknapp is the only manager to implement this. When Redknapp first took charge at Tottenham over three years ago they were bottom of the league having only taken two points from their first eight league matches. Come the end of the season Harry had led Spurs to eighth in the Premier League and to the final of the Carling Cup.
But how does Harry do it? He always seem to have a knack of getting the most out of players, Gareth Bale is a prime example, a player who before Harry Redknapp took charge at the club had never been in a winning Tottenham starting line up in the Premier League. Fast forward three years and under the guidance of Harry Redknapp Gareth Bale is now considered to be one of the best wingers in the world, which has been recognised of late as Bale was the only player within the English Premier League to be included in ‘Uefa.com users’ team of the year’. However would Gareth Bale have achieved these accolades if it wasn’t for Harry Redknapp, after all it was Redknapp who transformed Bale into an attacking winger rather than a full back where he played under Juande Ramos.
Harry is also one of these rare managers now who has an eye for a bargain and doesn’t need to spend millions of pounds on a single player, that’s not say however that he doesn’t spend any money at all but he will invest in a number of players in one season, rather than spending over the odds on a single player, hence where his nickname ‘wheeler Dealer’ comes from. Perhaps one of Redknapp’s greatest singings as Tottenham manager has been the capture of Dutchman Rafael Van Der Vaart from Real Madrid. The playmaker signed for Spurs in the 2010-11 season for £8 million, which isn’t much when you consider what he has given Spurs. A man who can thread a pass through the eye of a needle and who can strike a ball so sweetly he makes it look effortless. He also seems to be one step ahead of everyone else on the playing field and many top class defenders find it difficult to defend against him.
Harry has also pulled off some crucial signings this season, in particular the services of Scott Parker and Brad Friedel, two players who have been pivotal to Tottenham’s recent premier league success. Whether its Parker’s excellent reading of the game or Friedel’s years of experience and almost inhuman reactions, both have been superb signings for Spurs and with Friedel signing on a free transfer and Parker signing for a fee believed to be around £5.5 million, they could also be seen as ‘bargain buys’ and thus proving that Harry Redknapp’s wheeler dealer nickname is still going strong.
Whether Tottenham will remain as high in the Premier League or even challenge for the title this season still remains to be seen. But with Harry Redknapp strongly linked to the England job when Fabio Capello steps down after Euro 2012, the future of Spurs and whether they can still withstand a strong title challenge may be in doubt. Harry Redknapp has built a Spurs team over time that can now not only match the top teams in the Premier League but can actually better them. The important thing that Redknapp has been allowed is time and if Tottenham are to lose Harry they must make sure their replacement is also given a sufficient amount of time to build a team who can eventually be the best in England.